Hey, Connector readers! Here’s a new nonfiction piece by fourth-year fashion major Kamila Morell. Enjoy!
“Kamila, Nelson is here,” my mom called as she peered out our kitchen window. She observed the skinny, punk-haired boy as he climbed out of that familiar red minivan we saw so much around school — the same minivan that made me anxious each time it appeared. I will always remember that warm December afternoon, when a soft breeze enveloped the house while the sky turned an inviting shade of pink, as it often does in Puerto Rico. No sign of a polar vortex here; nothing cold and white except my pearl-studded dress straps.
Yet this familiar setting turned alien and disorienting once I heard my mom announce his arrival. He’s finally here, in my house, to visit me. Does my hair look ok? Luna, stop barking. Can someone please turn the air conditioner on? I’m blushing — my thoughts raced as I hurried downstairs to greet my boyfriend. We had been dating for about a month and that day was the first time he came to my house, for our Christmas Eve dinner. At thirteen, there better be a big excuse for your boyfriend to hang out at your place. Thank you, baby Jesus.
We held hands as I showed him around the house while making fast, nervous small talk. Attempts at sounding cool and composed were betrayed by the slight tremble in our voices, the way it does when starting a presentation. Still, I kept trying to commit everything to memory. Whatever happened later on, I would have a nice story to tell my grandchildren about the girl who fell in love at the age of five and finally got her wish granted as a teenager.
We left my family in the living room and settled by the empty terrace, where he presented me with a small box. My first “Nelson present”! Another relationship milestone, check. Suddenly his gesture brought me back to last year’s Valentine’s Day, where this same, beautiful boy fearlessly gave one of my friends a bouquet of pink flowers and a teddy bear in front of everyone in the classroom. He was the class’ popular kid, good at everything and with everyone. I was the quiet, artsy girl who drew all the time. But for right now, at least it was my turn.
Inside the box lay an ornate gold necklace with turquoise gemstones, my favorite color. Pretty gift, but maybe his mom helped pick it out. We still had much to learn about each other. I thanked him with a long hug, and kept saying how much I loved it, but what I really meant was how much I loved him. Although this was his first visit, at that moment we both knew it wouldn’t be his last.
It’s been almost ten years but I’ve never actually worn that necklace. Many years later it’s still sitting noticeably on my room’s vanity. It serves its purpose better there, visibly, than around my neck. This small piece of him still anchoring my childhood fantasy to reality. I’ll keep it safe for just a little while longer, until our wedding day when it will be swaying against my heart. The necklace once represented our “something new”, the gift of finding each other, but on that special day it will become the perfect “something old” and “something blue” of our life together.