First things first. Clarification. I was asked if my last blog was directly referring to a certain person. No. As I would have said some time before, whatever I write is my internal dialogue; reflections and projections that we are processing; that we being us – me, myself, and I. It is never directed at you (singular or plural), though I may make reference to a mutually known situation. It is just me trying to be honest in how I relate to myself and I. Myself and I have a good thing going, but me personally is still kind of introverted and pretty defensive. That’s just me. However, this does not augur well with myself and I, so we are always trashing things out in order to come to an agreement. You see, I have encountered a number of obstacles on my way here, many of which I had to deal with by myself…that’s how myself and I came to have a good relationship. So you can understand why I like to talk to myself. We share a bond. Thanks to this bond, I learnt many lessons and was able to make a few strides along life’s path. This would have never been the case if it was left to me. Myself and I are often skeptical about talking to me as things might be taken the wrong way given the touchy attitude. I could take things the wrong way too, but I don’t want to be like that. So the extensive conversations are attempts to get me to see the bigger picture, that way we can all make significant contributions to my life…all three of us. So when you read the exchange among us I would ask you please don’t be like me. Don’t take it personal.
While the relationship with me is still a bit sketchy, that is not stopping progress. I continue to do things with myself. On Friday I picked myself up and went to Tobago. A past student invited me to share in some of the activities of her life and discuss future plans, which was good, because I had no plan going into the session. I arrived with a jolt when the plane landed and thought it was a good thing that there wasn’t a second party in my womb as it would have been surely traumatized. By 7:30am I was being escorted around the car park near the Scarborough Market as I had to be introduced to Tom, Dick, and Harry, then to go through a registration process the for my participation in a walk up and down the Esplanade (?) in aid of prevention of Abuse to the Aged. I told her I did not cater for that. She said I tend to attract elderly things so she thought I would like to participate. So there I was in my wrap with an oversized purple t-shirt compliments of Ministry of the Social Development and a cap that was too small for my head of hair, in the support of World Awareness for Abuse to the Aged.
By 9:15am I was done walking and shooting pictures of the participants doing aerobics to zesty music and had settled down to breakfast which was a bowl of fruits as the bake and salt-fish was not my cup of tea. I sat there watching the Ministers of this and that casually dressed and exercising much patience with some of the patrons who seemed to just want to flaunt the fact that they have access to Ministers. Then it was time to leave (the area) as the Therapist had to go get her car checked. On her way to the city she had stopped for an engine wash. As she observed the job being done, she said she felt that the guy was a bit off-keel as he was enthusiastically hosing the engine without covering anything. After she left she had difficulty climbing hills and the car vibrated excessively. So, we went to see the guy. He was all smiles when he heard her complaint. The car was taken for a ‘blow out’ afterwhich he drove out of the compound leaving her to wonder where he was going. Well, he had said to me that he was going to test the car, but I was not the owner of it. She called out to the owner of the establishment and indicated that she had personal things in the car and if it was that he had intended to test it off the grounds, she should have been inside too. He returned, all smiles, and handed over the car. The drive was definitely better after that. It was only about 10:15am and I already felt that I had a full day of interactions. I wanted my bed.
We then visited the business places of a few friends. Two homes were also visited, but the persons were out and about so we headed for the Bank as she had a deposit to make (which explained her anxiety with the guy running off with the car as money was in it). On the way to the Bank contact was made by phone with one of the not-home friends and it was agreed that we would beeline back at the earliest opportunity as he was now home. I told her to leave me in the car while she did her business. So, I opened the doors, reclined the seat, took the purple jersey off and placed it over my eyes, and in the hot sun I slept in the car park. When she returned from the bank the jersey was removed from my eyes and my cones and rods were forced to deal with the unpleasant brightness of the noon day. Well, it was not noon yet. This was the longest day ever. Oh, back in the other car park while introductions were being made there was an elderly gentleman who was glad to make my acquaintance and he stood there talking to me while I felt badly about wanting the conversation to end abruptly. Drops, not sprinkles, of spittle kept hitting me each time he opened his mouth. It was one of those ‘rain down on me’ moments that had nothing to do with H2O2 and I couldn’t even discretely wipe it away without drawing attention to what I was doing. So, it dried on me.
We were back on the road talking about Massage. She is of the opinion that she was guided to do the course so that we could play a long-term role in each other’s lives which is not limited to massage. For that matter, she said it is only when she is in dire need of money that she suddenly has an influx of clients. Other than that, massage hangs in the balance while she conducts her other business. We arrived at her friend’s place, again, and this time his vehicle was parked in the yard. He was cooking and the scent of curry greeted us. She called out to him and he came to meet us. He looked me up and down and asked her if she brought a woman for him. Then I had to endure a test where, if his dog did not attack me, it meant I had a good spirit. I was not attacked and he told her that I was a good woman. Really? I was then hugged so tightly, breathing was limited. We were escorted to the kitchen where we made ourselves comfortable. The talk suddenly went to Black and Indian women in the most lewd way. She indicated that I should not bother with him as it was his way of testing to see if I could deal with the brash side of him before settling down to being a man with a heart. I could not be bothered, I laughed myself out of my chair and made some effort to keep myself off the floor.
He came over to check my arm and I learnt that from a certain position he could tell the size of a woman’s vulva. Really?! Mortifying! He said I shouldn’t get him wrong, he is not sexually interesting in me, he has a woman. An Indian woman whom he cusses more often than praises. I asked why not a Black woman. No! They on shit. Full of tricks. They only want money, and they like to pretend that they don’t want sex. So I giving out my money and you can’t free-up the body? Nah. Free-up the body and you’ll find I’m the most generous man. And watch, I go whole night. Whoooole night. Well I am so glad that you’re not into Black women. You only saying that. It’s what I do and how I do it. Black women can’t handle pressure. They push you away. That Indian, she would cry, but she not closing she foot. That is what I like about them. Sweet Jesus. He went to check on his curry and dished out some for my friend. I declined the offer. I told him I don’t eat meat. He came and stood in front of me in an imposing way. You don’t eat meat? No. Then you can’t be my woman. I love to eat meat, and any woman I have gotta love to eat meat too or I gon go on bad. Bad, ah tell yuh. All this time he was sipping rum with kola tonic. Then he talked about his woman again and how she is stupid and how he does not like a stupid woman. I told him we become like those to whom we connect ourselves, so if I were him I would look in the mirror. He said the kind of stupidity she has would never rub off on him. Good for you. That woman like a blight, he remarked. He identified several plants in the yard from which she picked fruit and it either died or dwindled. He said he is watching at these signs, but he is not leaving her, he is hoping that some stupid man comes and takes her and feels that he is ‘horning’ him not know that he is relieving him. Where do people learn to reason like this? On our way out he went to his woman and inquired about lunch for her in the most loving way, you won’t believe he was just saying the things he said about her. Well, that did not last long as I heard her cussing him and he started cussing back then stormed out of the house.
When we drove away from there it was not a moment too soon. I understand the guy, but I needed my ears and my head cleared from his incessant obscene language. We decided on a visit to the beach. Then decided to go see my friend’s father first. He was in his garden and she told him that she brought a woman for him and he blushed. I was invited inside and used the opportunity to change in t-shirt and capri pants. There was no changing after that so I ended up at Piarco in just that, my house clothes. Anyway, Dad eventually came and sat in the gallery and invited me to partake from a bucket of mangoes. He did not cook so there was no food to eat. Fine. I ate until I nearly went into seizure then packed the rest (a bag full) to bring home. Mangoes from Tobago when there is so much on the ground in Trinidad is ridiculous, but I did it. As I ate I threw the skin and seeds in the yard (as was advised) and the fowls and dog ate them. Then I asked Dad about his toenails. They were painted red with nail polish. He said his granddaughter did that. Grand children are allowed privileges that children will never have. After our goodbyes, we headed for the beach. We could not decide which beach, so the driving continued. We stopped at another friend. He was like the curry-cooker. He wanted me to touch him. Okay. So I as spoke I touched his head, and his chest, and his legs, and hands, based on what we were discussing at the moment. He wanted to know when I was going back and I said later in the evening. He wanted me to spend some time with him. I told him that I learnt that spending time is wasting time, so I would rather invest my time. I asked what he would like me to invest my time in. He just wanted me around. No. That’s time wasting. I told him to advise my friend whenever he thinks of an appropriate investment for my time and I will visit again.
And once again, we were headed to the beach. But not yet. We stopped by the roadside to get watermelon and the drive continued. By the time the watermelon was finished we were on a road that looked like one I had seen before, at the end of which the glass-top boats are boarded, but this was not that place. I was told the name, but I just as quickly forgot. I got out and went to the shoreline where I waited for the water to come in and washed my hands. It did not touch my feet. That was it. She thought I was crazy, going to the beach and not bathing. She un-dressed, and re-dressed, and went into the water. I strolled around and ate more mangoes, and eventually found a spot to do some Tai Chi. When she was satisfied with her bath she came over to me and we spoke about what Tai Chi is, and as my Teacher would have said to me, I said to her, I don’t know. However, it facilitates our development on different levels and I went on to explain the five principles of metal, wood, water, fire and earth, which I suggested that she can also pay attention to as she danced (which she loves) or do aerobics. We stood there for a while, in the sun, talking about the principles. It was one of those moments where there was an awareness of some significance to the exchange and no one wanted to move though the conditions are (seemingly) not best suited for lengthy discussion. It was about 3:30pm by the time we were ready to leave and I reiterated that this was the longest day I have had in my life. I was full of love and experiences and I was thankful. It was time to take me to the airport. Or so I thought.
She pulled over on a corner and told me enquire from the vendor how much for a coconut. I did. Then we got out of the car and both had large coconuts with thick jelly. Preferred. I needed someone to roll me as I was filled to the brim. While standing there talking, a family came to get some coconuts too. Their little daughter someone decided that I should be her prop. So while her parents negotiated the purchase, she was bracing on my leg like I was her owner. Then she hugged my leg. So I had to wait out whatever this interaction was before we could leave. Right. Airport now. But not yet. A beeline was made to the dive shop where Nathaniel used to work. The owner was delighted to see me. Another bear-hug. We spoke of everything except Nathaniel. Then, it was all about Nathaniel. I listened to the two of them. They both admitted that it was the first time they were having extensive conversation about him as it was not easy to explain how it is that he had impacted their lives. I asked if I could use the computer and brought up the blog that I wrote about Nathaniel. The guy sat reading and my friend bent over the desk to see. She had no intention of reading the whole article. Years after, the two of them were still reading, chucking, and agreeing that this was Nathaniel. They were the slowest readers I ever met in adult form – though I understood it was like reflective reading to them. I could hear him asking her if he could scroll down now, and for all the scrolling they were not getting to the end. Then it was over and the talk went to the funeral. I understood that many showed up to pay their respects and every other person wanted to say something. Indeed, we are in death as we are in life. Even her son, who is a very quiet person, insisted that something be said on behalf of the dive shop as Nathaniel was his mentor. Nathaniel was a Marine and this young man plans to join the Coast Guard. Talk about influence. Airport now. We got into the car. Oops. No car key. She had forgotten the key on the desk in the office and the guy had just closed the shop and was driving out. She had to run and get the security guard to stop him as his windows were up. Never a dull moment. He reversed and the key was had.
The rain was falling as I walked across the tarmac to the plane. I am sure I have seen passengers with airline-branded umbrellas walking to their plane before. Back home, not in the movies. That was as a child going to see my father off on one of his many trips. Maybe umbrellas are necessary for us since precipitation is the rule of the day. Anyway, I boarded and found myself near a woman who was in Tobago on company business with a few other persons. Apparently she was senior to them and to me, so she occupied the floor space with her bags and I practically had to keep my feet to myself. It was only after the stewardess advised that I put my bag on the floor that she made some effort to accommodate me. I generally do not like air travel, but I allowed myself to enjoy the view and remembered to keep my abdomen contracted which reduces the impact of those sudden drops. When I got into Piarco I put on my phone and got a message from a friend. I returned the call and he volunteered to come pick me up. I declined the offer as there were taxis and I would have gotten out of their in no time. He insisted. Very well. It was my day to be driven around. I waited. I imagined I would have half-way home when he showed up. It was raining heavily by then. This was just a drop to the bus route. If he was taking me home it would have been worth the wait. But, patience. We passed the time with conversation as he felt I had no umbrella and parked up waiting for the rain to ease. When it did, I got out, opened my umbrella, thanked him for the ride, and got onto a maxi. Bath, dinner, and bed were all I could deal with. And now, I am awake. The alert kind of awake. I need to be. I have class today.