Running on Empty

vw bug

Long ago, when Rudy and I first started our courtship, I did all the driving. For no other reason than Rudy did not have a car and I did. And honestly, I really didn’t mind. For me, any chance I could get to drive my very first bought it myself car, a yellow VW Bug, I took the opportunity to make use of the term Pedal-to-the-Metal.

In the midst of driving and dating, Rudy had asked me if I had twenty bucks he could borrow, which was one of the hardest things for him to request. He claimed he needed it to cover a few days before he was handed his weekly paycheck. And then he’d pay me back. I’m not sure he realized it, probably not, but my feelings for him deepened in that moment. I felt trusted. Someone he could rely on. So I simply smiled, hugged him, dug into my wallet, and pulled out a folded twenty dollar bill. Rudy quietly responded with something about how hard it was to even ask me, that he really appreciated my help, and all other manners of speech relating to him, a guy, asking me, a girl, his date, for money, something he never thought he’d ever need to do, and on and on. In the end, he said his thanks, and, well, he was humbled by my kindness. Then he hugged me.

Ironically, less than a week after Rudy had timidly asked me if he could borrow money, I timidly pretended that my Bug was capable of running on gas fumes.

You see, I was driving south on the 57 Freeway, in Orange County, CA, when I noticed that the Volkswagen’s gas gauge was lower than low. We were heading towards Rudy’s place, for a nightcap, you might say, when I nonchalantly mentioned I needed gas, or some such comment. “You want to stop, put gas in the car?” Rudy questioned. Well, now, even though I knew I should have right then and there, filled that tank up, I simply, quietly said, “No, it’s alright. I have enough to get me back home.” He questioned if I was sure. I said yes. And that was it. No more discussion.

Later, after I left, to return home, at about one ‘o clock in the morning, I was traveling north on the 57 when the VW gave out on me. That cute little car just could not move without fuel. I let the car cruise until it came to a complete stop, its nose barely reaching an off-ramp entrance. Cell phones were only used by the wealthy back then, and that wasn’t me, so I was stuck in the darkness of the evening. By myself. Until another car pulled up, a guy got out, and offered help, speaking into my barely cracked-open window. I politely said no thanks, and he left. Which left me to fend for myself. Which meant I had no other option – AAA wasn’t on my radar during those days – except to walk to the nearest gas station, and borrow a filled gas can. I then had to walk back the half mile to the Bug, dump the fuel in, then drive the fumed-up car back to the not very helpful attendant at the service station, where I preceded to fill the Volkswagen full. An hour or so later, I returned to the freeway, driving myself home.

Why I didn’t take Rudy’s suggestion that we get gas for the VW earlier in the evening? I don’t know. All I can say is that I felt just like he did when asking me for money. Timid. Awkward. Yet, unlike him, I couldn’t rise to the occasion and accept his help.


He drew her to him.
She hesitated for only a second.
Then followed his lead, pressing herself enticingly against him.

She raised her eyes, looked at him.
He gazed back at her.
As his fingers gently combed her hair.

Her eyes closed.
Felt his hand lift her chin, bringing her glossed lips up, touching his.
Warm breath drawing them closer.

She felt his tongue.
As it skillfully lured its way into her mouth.
Gliding over her silky smooth teeth.

She responded.

He pressed against her.
His excitement rising, intensely.
She followed his rhythm with equal passion..

He grasped the sides of her face.
Fingers entwined in her wavy locks.

They kissed.
Like there was no tomorrow.


They wanted to savor the moment.
Savor each other.


They began to slow down.
Touching lip to lip.

As they fell in love once again.
With another kiss.

Another passionate kiss.

To last a lifetime.

x is for xenophile

I am, and have been for as long as I can remember, a xenophile.




Mr. Honduras.

A foreigner.

Who was foreign to me.
When we locked eyes.

Long ago.

But not anymore.


With his chocolate skin.
Makes me swoon.
His don’t mess with me dark features.
That can just as easily turn into a happy, feel-good expression.
And the silken accent that flows off his tongue.
Oh, how it weakens my knees!

I am a xenophile.

Enamored with Rudy.


 denise:bugMy first car was a bright yellow Volkswagen Bug. During that time, my young 11 year old niece, Denise, hung out with me, a lot. I give her the credit for us spending time together because she was the one who would call me.

“Hi, Aunt Daphne. Is is okay if I come over to hang out?”

Well, of course it was! She was always a joy to have around. As time went by, as Denise grew older and her life had become busier and busier, I saw her less and less. But, one time, quite a few years ago, she stopped by to visit, just to say “Hey,”and to share a dream she had had, reminding her of the past.

“I had a dream. I dreamt that I bought you a yellow bug, just like the one you used to have. I dropped it off in front of your place and drove away in another car, excited for you to find it.” She went on to explain that there is an actual car for sale that resembles my VW, near her home. Denise wished she could buy me the car.

In my mind, I was thinking Oh, yea, how fun would that be! Out loud, though, I said “I’ll take it,” so casually you’d think I wasn’t serious.

rudy:deniseI was driving my yellow bug when I met Rudy for the first time, and it was the car I drove when Denise, sitting in the passenger seat, met her future uncle. The three of us took a ride to a nearby park, to feed the ducks in an over-sized pond. We sat together near the water’s edge, just talking and laughing. Little did she know that she played a very important role within my and Rudy’s relationship. Not only did I get to observe him interacting with a soon-to-be preteen – a most important observation, for sure, but Denise was also my No way!-No how!-Not now!-I’m not doing IT! way to maintain abstinence.

On our very first date, I drove Rudy and I, plus Denise, my nephew and two more kids to Magic Mountain in the Bug. What a day! Rudy and I locked lips more times than I can remember and my niece would disrupt the moment by “ooooooooo”-ing or screaming “Gross!” She’d laugh afterwards because I’m pretty sure she really did like Rudy. Liked having him around that day.

 As my relationship with Rudy solidified so, too, did Denise’s feelings for him. She has always thought of him as an extremely awesome person. She even sought him out on her wedding day, saved a dance for him, and proudly introduced him as Uncle Rudy. The fact that a dream flowed through her was a reminder of times past. A fun time in a bright yellow Volkswagen Bug, and being introduced to someone having a positive impact on her life.

That yellow bug was part of my early history, when I hung out with Denise, and my developing relationship with Rudy. So should Denise’s dream ever come true, I’d say, “Drop that memory off in front of my place, anytime!”

Shades of Grey

Living together has its downs. It’s easy to neglect the one you love. To live, day-in, day-out, with the assumption that forever is forever.

I remember a moment in time when Rudy and I were first living together, before we were married. After a day at the beach, I spent the evening lying on the couch, lightly wrapped in only a bed sheet. I had burnt my skin so bad that it hurt to put any type of clothing on. I was in pain and very uncomfortable. After spending a few hours readjusting myself into a never going to find it position, Rudy announced he was going to a friend’s place to watch a game on TV. Seriously, I wondered. Seriously, he said, as a matter-of-fact. My anger took over, immediately, taking my focus off the sunburn, as I marched into the bedroom, dressed, and left our apartment, thinking how I would never leave him when he obviously needed my help. I was mad because he neglected to think of me.



Living separately has its ups. Sometimes, when striving for simple happiness, living separately can be rewarding.

I remember the two weeks before Rudy and I were going to be married. We had decided that I would return to my parents home, and live there for those weeks leading up to our nuptials. We also decided not to see each other during those separated days. We were to have no interaction together, aside from phone calls. There would be no hand holding, no kisses, and especially, no pillow talk. Just the daily Hello, How are you?, Have a good day!, and I love you. Our reunion was fun. Worth the separation. And it cemented the fact about how much we wanted to be together. No matter what our living situation was.

Living together.

Living separately.

Either way, make life worth the effort; especially, for each other.

he said, she said



Rudy said I kissed him on the lips. I say it was his cheek. His left cheek, to be exact.

Everything before that moment Rudy and I seem to agree on.

We seem to have the same memory of when we noticed each other for the first time, and the slow dance later in the evening.

Yet, all these years later we still dispute what happened when the song was over, and the bright lights turned on inside the nightclub.

Rudy claims I smooched his lips. Sealed them with a knowing gesture. You know, like let’s take this to another level. And, OK, sure, another level of intimacy sounded pretty good to me; yet, I did not kiss his lips. Not at that moment.

But, I did press into him, slightly, to give his cheek a peck. A simple gesture meaning thank you for this dance. That’s it. No more.

I’m right, and he knows it.

an unexpected date

IMG_4835Well now, so it seems, I have a date this evening, with Rudy. We’re not dressing up, nor do we have reservations anywhere fancy-shmancy. Nope, just us, me and him. Here. At home. Watching a movie. Eating pizza.

Here’s the thing.

Rudy and I don’t date. Not really. We both get caught up in everyday life and tend to take our relationship for granted. The fact that we are here. In this house. Together. Every day. All the time. And presumably always will be. Has become second nature that sometimes we forget the importance of relating as a couple because we are so accustomed to simply living as two people sharing a life and a home together. As roommates might.

So, when Rudy sauntered into the room and asked me if I’d like to spend the evening with him I couldn’t resist the feeling of traveling back in time, when we were young and held the world in our hands. Without constraints or obstacles. During a time when a date was the most important thing we could do. To draw us closer. To bound us as one. So that we could fall in love. And feel happy.

call me


Back in the day.

Long ago.

Five days after Rudy and I met.

He called me.

Called me at home.

Where I was living with my parents.

I’m almost certain we met on a Saturday night.

At a Tupperware™ party.

Of all places.

We talked.

We laughed.

I gave him my phone number.


The next week.

When I said hello.

Talking into the house phone.

He murmured into my ear.

Do you remember me?

Of course I remember you, I said quietly.

We talked.

We laughed.

And agreed to chat again.

On the following Thursday.

Always on a Thursday.

On and on it went.

For several weeks.


One night.

We had an unexpected encounter.

We sat together.

We talked.

A lot.

About life.

As simple as that.

When he called.


After another week’s passing.

I agreed to an official date.



My instincts told me to.

Told me.

That Rudy was my future.