THE PERFECT PLAN@Nasbly Kalinina


It was the beginning of the year when, by chance, I heard that Brad would be transferred to York. Apparently he was doing very well with his training and the company had offered him a job there.

I met Brad last summer when I came back from holiday. I had spent two weeks travelling around and I had over-used my credit card and needed to work especially hard to pay it off. To my surprise there wasn’t any overtime available because the company was saving money for ‘future investment’. I was upset and I asked my boss for help. She was very kind and supportive and she managed to find a way to give me some extra hours without going against the company’s rules. As promised she came to me two weeks later and offered me a position in another department. It was just three hours during the evenings, but I needed to accept.

It was there that we met for the first time. People had been telling me how handsome he was and, since he would be my boss, once a week, I never meant to like him so much, but I would see him and my heart would beat faster than on any other occasion. I felt in love with him, without expecting or even wanting to. After a few weeks I kept praying to see him more and make him like me.

When I heard that he would be going to York I hesitated, but only for an instant. But loving him more than I have ever loved anyone before I could not resist the temptation and decided I would follow his steps wherever they led. I knew I had to go to Yorkshire but I needed to do so without calling people’s attention to it.

At that time I was preparing myself to do the IELTS test, which is the one required to get into British universities when English is not your first language. Everything would depend on this for me to be able to start working on what I called “the perfect plan”. I would apply to the university in York and tell everybody that I was moving because of my English, that I wanted to improve it and there were too many Spanish speakers in Oxford, which made it more difficult. It was true so it was something that I could keep saying without worrying about making a mistake with my story.

I succeeded in the test and from then on my mind was focused on “the perfect plan”. In the meantime I got angry with him because he refused to go to a special dinner I had prepared for him. Well, in truth it was not exactly for him as he was not my boyfriend, but when Amelia’s birthday came around I decided it was the perfect opportunity to ‘kill two birds with the one stone’ so to speak. I would make a dinner in Amelia’s honour and at the same time I would show Brad how good I was at cooking.

Unfortunately, two days before the dinner, he declined my invitation with the excuse that he was doing something important that he couldn’t avoid. My heart was broken and to make matters worse, my dancing partner, Roland, said he couldn’t come either, which was awful.

Roland asked me if I could do the dinner the day before instead, to allow everyone to come. It was a great idea and I was so excited. I went home and started cooking for hours; everybody would be coming but, to my surprise, Brad was not. He told me that this time he had tickets for a game in London and so he wouldn’t be able to come. I cried for hours and cursed him to hell because of it, I was feeling so awful. Nevertheless the show had to go on and I decided I would give the best of myself to make the rest of my guests feel comfortable and have a great time.

After this Brad and I did not speak to each other again until I gave him a letter. It was my idea to make him understand why I was so sad and angry so I opened my heart to him in the following way:

 

“Dear Mr Quinn

Because you are very close to our mutual friend Brad I would appreciate your opinion on some things that concern me a lot.

I met ‘our friend’ last summer when I came back from my holiday and since then I have had strong feelings for him. In the beginning he was just a handsome man to look at but later on I saw in him a sweet person who was working very hard to keep his job. It was the first time that I felt myself understood by an English person. At the time that I was so afraid of my English, he was afraid of doing a bad job and I started to look at him as never before.

The Christmas party came and I decided to dress up nicely to make him notice me, but he did not. In fact, he was rude to me and made me cry, for the first time. Thank God my best friend was with me that night and I was strong enough not to show my hurt. I was dancing and receiving many compliments about how I looked but none of them were from him (the man I was dreaming of). Can you believe it?

When my best friend left to go back to her own country I decided that I had to have English friends. I started to go out with some people that later would become my dearest friends in England (Roland, Rover and Amelia). I really love them all, they have been so nice to me and I will never forget them. The only problem is that they are Brad’s friends as well.

However, I have found out that the sweet and hard-working man that I have been crazy about loves prostitutes, one-night stands and is not into serious relationships.

In a way I thought he was my friend, but he was not. He always turned down my invitations, for no reason, he never accepted them and I feel stupid as I believed in him.

A few weeks ago, I invited him to a special dinner at my house, a formal occasion to celebrate Amelia’s birthday. It was really special to me and I invited him two weeks beforehand so that he could not have any excuse not to come, but he did, again! This broke my heart into a million pieces because I was so hoping he would be among my guests but he just said no. He did not come. After this I decided he could go to hell.

He has never stopped to think how horrible he has been to me, how awful he has made me feel, how sad I have been since that moment.

He is a bighead; a handsome, spoil brat who believes that every woman should be at his feet… like me, but enough of this because I am leaving and I do not care anymore.

I just wanted to share my feelings with my dearest boss because in our job you are the man who I have always dreamed of. “My rich and handsome man.” You are indeed a hard worker and intelligent, the opposite of that stupid womaniser who you turn into when you step foot out of the job. You become someone who does not think about making a family because in your mind there is just one word: women.

However, be sure that no matter how much love a woman feels for a man she cannot let herself be part of his dirty life (one-night stands).

I do not know if one day my dreams will come true and the man of my life will appear and help me make a beautiful family and those sorts of things. I have opened my eyes and now I know I have to move on, though before that, I just want to tell you that I am forgiving you, Brad Quinn, you can come back from hell, there is no reason to keep you there. I cannot make you love me.

Distance will be the best medicine and I will leave as soon as I can.

God bless you,

Elizabeth.”

 

After giving him the letter I was absent for two days. When I came back I received a call from the manager of human resources, she sounded very serious and the reason was so unexpected. Brad had shown her the letter that I had given him and they were accusing me of sexual harassment.

I could not believe it! He had shown someone else the letter in which I had opened my heart up to him. They were forcing me to apologise for saying these things to the man I loved and were accusing me of sexual harassment. It was too much! The man whom I loved with all my heart had sold my soul and my feelings and if I did not apologise to him then they would take me to court. It was the most horrible thing that has ever happened to me. I was so unhappy and angry and I did not know if I still loved him or if I hated him.

I wanted to speak to him, I wanted to know, but of course he refused to talk to me, which made me feel even worse. I was extremely depressed and for the first time since I had arrived in England I decided to go home and hug my mum, so I did.

I found a room in Leeds; the cities were close enough to move between and my housemate looked very friendly. Unfortunately she became verbally aggressive and difficult to live with.

The situation was making me feel dreadful, I got ill with the stress and it was a nightmare with the crazy woman that I was living with. I did the only thing that I could think of and I called a girl who was half-Latin American and half-English. Because of this she understood both cultures a lot better than me and it was not until that moment when I spoke to her that I could finally understand Brad’s reaction.

She explained to me that the word ‘prostitute’ is a very strong one, it is an offensive word in England and that it is not used like it is for the Spanish speaker who uses it instead of other ruder and common words. The other issue about the dirty life or one-night stands is that nowadays it is very normal among young people.

“Brad is a very shy man who, in a situation like that, would not know what to say,” she emphasized and, knowing him, I agreed. She was right but it was too late.

I felt completely alone but I decided to stay in Leeds rather than move to York. I could not cope with the idea of living under the shadow of my perfect plan so I applied to another university and moved away from the crazy lady.

Now I am living on my own without any hope of seeing my prince again. He is not a womaniser but at the time that I wrote that stupid letter I was so angry and jealous because he had just kissed another woman in front of me. He is a very good man, and if I have to blame anything I would blame the differences between our cultures and my lack of experience with boys that, in this case, cost me the one whom I loved the most. I have to live with that memory all my life because when I finish my course, my diploma will always remind me of the reason why I ended up in Yorkshire.

 Leeds, 2005

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