I was very young when I separated from my (now) ex-husband in 1996. I was only 22 years old. That summer, I lived in Florida, and I finally started dating, after being married for 5 years. I went out with my girl friends to the salsa clubs to dance, drink, and enjoy my youth. Many days, however, I felt worn, as I worked full-time (and then some) and I was raising my three girls on my own. My escape from the weariness of life was my ability to get out, dance, meet new friends.
That summer, in 1996, I met some wonderful people. I danced with beautiful young men, sharing drink, laughter, and conversation. I was carefree, but I was also lonely. I was searching. Searching for someone to validate my existence as a young, vibrant woman – not just as an employee or a mother.
And that is when I met David.
In all my years, I have never met someone who struck me as sincerely kind and sweet, yet rakish. David was only 20 years old when we met at a salsa club. He was Puerto Rican, but he spoke in that Spanish-accented New England accent that, to this day, I find so attractive and endearing.
We started “talking” – that ambiguous term used when a couple is testing the waters to see what type of relationship will develop between them. But, other than many nights of long conversation, we went no further than friends. See, David had a long time girlfriend and he was planning on joining the Army Reserves.
Today, I pulled out my old journals and searched for what I wrote about him.
August 5, 1998 entry excerpt:
“…He was so sweet and innocent and cute. So young. So beautiful.”
August 12, 1998 entry excerpt:
“…What a f***ing coincidence. Thinking of David last week and the following day I come into work and what do I need to do? Create a user account for none other than L. Armando Monroig…David’s brother! I freaked out!….See, David made me feel pretty and feminine….”
August 24, 1998 entry excerpt:
“David called me today! I couldn’t believe it! We even went to lunch at Amigo’s….we talked the entire time. I hope he never suffers any hardships. He seems more mature and very sincere, sweet, considerate…(written in journal to David) Think of me fondly! Please, care for me somewhere in your heart. I’ll let you know…one day…how much you affected me……”
September 20, 1998 entry excerpt:
” Someone called me tonight: David! We talked for four hours and it was just like old times. I don’t think he wanted to hang up. We talked about everything and anything. He’s still funny and cute and a little asshole. I’ve always like him…and it was so nice to talk to him again. The way we used to: flirtatious and silly. There are few people who I hold dear…but he’s one of them.”
I never saw or heard from David again. We went our separate ways, even though I would occasionally ask his brother after him. Then, I moved back to Michigan and, other than learning that he had joined the local Naples police force, I knew nothing about him, his family, his life.
Until the morning of July 9, 2014. The morning David died.
This post is my goodbye. Sometimes, there are people that cross your path, that enter life just for a fleeting moment. To open your eyes to something about yourself, or something about this world and this life. Sometimes to build you up, other times to break you down. They come in like a whisper on a breeze, or like lightening during a storm, and just as quickly as they came, they are gone. But, they leave their mark on your life forever, just by virtue of who they are.
I wish I could have said these things to you before you left us. Rest in peace, L. David Monroig.
(from Naples Daily News)