And so it’s time to move on. A couple of weeks ago, I walked into the youth counseling office and found Jeovany talking with Damian. I noticed that Jeovany was sporting a new, carefully trimmed goatee and commented on it. “Well, I got to change things up, you know?” he said. “Get a new look, start dressing again. I started working out. She’s moving on, I have to get myself together and move on, too.”
On Wednesday, Jeovany came to my office and we talked for about half an hour. He looks better than he has since the break up, but he’s making me worry a little.
“I’m talking to a girl right now,” he says. “Two girls, actually.”
“I’m not trying to get hung up on anyone. I’m not looking to get into a relationship.”
“So you’re going to be a player?”
He laughs. “I know it sounds like that.”
“I bet it would sound like that to the two girls, too.”
I certainly don’t begrudge him his efforts to get past his hurt over the loss of Valerie. Of course not. But it troubles me to see that his antidote for the pain he was feeling is to fall back into the Jeovany’s-got-a-harem behavior of his not-so-distant past.
And he knows this is a backward step. We’ve talked quite a lot about how different the last couple of years of his life have been compared to who he was between the ages of 14 and 20. I would hate to see him become that guy again.
“Don’t worry, Stacie. I’m not going back there. Not all the way back,” he says.
“I hope that’s true.”
“No, I mean it. I did all that before. Did all of it — I smoked, I drank, gangs, fights, I got stabbed, I stabbed, I got shot, I shot … and with the ladies … you don’t want to know.”
“No, I really don’t,” I say. “But you put all of that behind you before you came here, before you met Valerie. I just don’t want to see you pushed back there.”
“Don’t worry. I’m done with all that. I’m working out — to stay in shape but also to keep my mind busy, you know? I got work to do here, work to do at home, got to keep my job so I can get a better job. I’m not going backward.” He laughs. “I’m just talking to these girls.”
So maybe I don’t need to worry? Maybe.
He’s also talking to Valerie. She has resurfaced, has started calling him, checking in with him (checking up on him?), and he’s been playing games around that: seeing her number and not answering, hearing her message and waiting a day to call back. He acknowledges what he’s doing but says it’s the right thing to do. She’s not talking about getting back together, so he’s not talking about getting back together, and isn’t going to jump at the first chance to talk with her. [sigh]
As we hugged our goodbye, one of the two girls he’s been talking to came up and he introduced us. Will you be as surprised as I was to see just how much she resembled Valerie?