Was on my way out… Called my usual taxi driver and he answered saying he was in the hospital due to a lung infection. Curious. This is a guy who is proud of his e-cigars. Did he get the infection from one, or did he get the infection from whatever he was weaning himself of when he decided to go the e-cigar way? Well, the show has to go on. I made other arrangements. The newly appointed driver arrived and said to me through the window: I’m four minutes early. I was paying him to be punctual, not early. I only hoped that he did not expect more. On our journey he spoke of too many things. There are silent drivers, and music-playing drivers. This one was in a different bracket.
Said he never took up the smoking habit, as macho as it looked. Why? Smoking come like kissing a man, he said. This thing of passing a cigarette around and several men’s lips gracing it is as good as a man kissing his darling man-friend/spouse. Too many women out here, no need to kiss a man. Understood. Having driven through St. Augustine on his way to the highway, and mention being made of the adult entertainment place, sex toys entered the conversation. He wanted to know my opinion. I said the first thing that came to mind was participating in a HIV/AIDS discussion when someone remarked about the importance of sanitizing toys, especially those loaned/borrowed. I thought having toys was a closeted thing, I had no idea it was so out there to the point where I could ask my neighbor to borrow her dildo, then sanitize and return it after use.
He is aware of loan activities and has himself been a salesman of such items. He strongly feels that gadgets can enhance the spousal bond, but had trouble marketing this idea locally back in the days when he was virile enough to be a willing participant if a demonstration was needed. He’s also tried his hand at what is called ‘escort service’ in these parts. But that too was before society was comfortable with the concept. And he only hooked up folks he knew, charging both parties $120 each. The argument was that he could be relied on to put a good man with a good woman, so good they were that long-term relationships were spawned. Making the combined $240 a meager sum for the years of benefits had.
Another story he told was about living in New Jersey. There he got a ‘friend’ who lived on the same block. Her apartment was always a mess, roaches running on the dining table in broad daylight. So she visited him. Clean place. They play cards and chatted. One day he suggested strip-rummy. She was gamed. This he wanted, but did not expect her eagerness. And there begun a rather hectic sexual relationship. Over time he met her man. It could not be avoided. She did not disclose the nature of their relations, but felt it was neighbourly to introduce the two men. Besides, sex aside, he was indeed her good friend. So introducing him as such was okay. He and the man became cool, chilling out together ever so often. He actually liked the guy more than her. Not in a sexual way; his principles and ideas, etc. He contemplated ending the sexual connection with her. Told her of it. She threatened him. She told him if he stopped she will tell her man he was having sex with her for nothing. That apparently was worse than knowing they slept together at all. So he had to go into hiding. Leaving very early and ducking in very late because the man had a licensed firearm.
Arrived at the airport. He was getting my suitcase out the car when my phone rang. I beckoned for him to continue what he was doing while I stepped on the curb to answer. A woman. Demanding voice. Asking who am I. Hmmm. It felt like someone with their palms on my chest pushing me backwards and asking: Who’re you, eh, who’re you? I asked who wanted to know. She said she found my number on her husband’s phone and a text message asking about massage. She wanted to know if I did massages. Oh dear. These domestic issues. I told her my name and confirmed that I do massage, but said I couldn’t confirm massaging her husband. She paused. Then wanted to know what kind of massage I did. I explained. She paused again. She told me her husband’s name to jolt my memory and asked if I ever massaged him. I told her the name was unfamiliar, and that she should try to understand a few things. One, if he was just enquiring and did not book an appointment I would not have taken his name. Two, men are in the habit of not giving their correct name when they go for massages. So it could be that I did massage him, but don’t know it was him because the name was different. She paused again. Then told me thanks for my time and the call ended. My connection with the driver also ended. He was back in his car waving to me as someone else wanted the parking space.
When I got to my destination I stayed at a hotel with some friends. Having had a long day on one of the days I retired to bed early. Somewhere in my sleep I heard a loud horn. Seemed like the driver kept pressing the horn just to wake me up. I opened my eyes. It was dark. I got up and went to the balcony. No car, no driver. The sound was coming from the corridor. I was still in a daze trying to understand what I was hearing. I opened the door and looked outside. Bright white lights were flashing along the corridor and the annoying sound was louder than ever. It instilled anxiety. Someone in the room across from me opened their door and looked out. I stepped into the corridor to ask if they knew what the alarm was about. Blam! My door closed behind me. My goodness! Now I couldn’t go back because the key was locked in. I looked down the corridor and saw an old man ambling towards the elevator. I hurriedly followed him. He turned towards the stairway and I ensured I was right on his heels. No one wants to die alone. Right?
It was a bit of a walk down to the lobby. When we got there people were coming from different directions. We went outside where even more persons were standing and sitting around. I saw two of my friends and went across to them. It was after 11pm. One was in slippers and a winter coat, the other in slacks and sweater. How did they have the presence of mind to dress warm? I was wearing a pink stocking on my head, a very thin grey jersey that barely covered my butt, and a pair of white socks on my feet; totally inappropriate for appearing in public as well as for the temperature outside. They smiled at me. I asked if it is was a fire drill, and why management would decide on a fire drill at that time of night. Soon enough I heard the fire engine. After it entered the compound guests were invited to get new keys at the front desk and return to their rooms with the understanding that the firemen will visit. I joined the line, got my key, and was happy to disappear into the ambiance of my room. I was still too unsettled to sleep, but returned to bed with a keen ear for when the firemen knocked. They never did. Next morning I learnt that some youths were smoking or something, and set off the alarm. Thank God for young people. They know how to keep our adrenaline flowing.
During my site-seeing adventures one night I walked briskly about a mile along a popular business area. I could feel my neck and armpits sweating under my clothes, but I had to keep my hands in gloves and pull the shawl up over my nose. Many of the businesses were closed, but remarkably enough, all the massage places were opened. The glass doors of the shops displayed price lists that included $20 for 20 minutes of massage. As I passed someone on the inside would beckon me in making that ‘come’ signal with their hands. And to think I am chided for doing outcalls at night in well-lit renown places. I wondered what bracket they fell into give that there are regulations for the practice of Massage Therapy there. I thought of how we fuss to acquire certificates and membership with some of these same 1st world countries who are having their own contentions internally. We are made to operate in accordance with certain ethics. But it’s clear that business is business, and ethics is ethics. Pick one and practice accordingly. People will do what they want to do. If these regulatory institutions aren’t equipped to dispatch inspectors on cold dark nights to do spot checks maybe they should disband themselves because then is when a lot of the action happens. Maybe we need to stop measuring ourselves by the standards of other. But then that will mess with commerce. Measuring tapes have to be made and sold.
I returned safely. When the plane touched down there was loud clapping. It was a smooth ride and the passengers were grateful. The lady near me said she is fearful of takeoff, landing, and everything in-between, but this was definitely a pleasant experience. The line we joined to clear Immigration was a tightly wound snake. I looked ahead and saw a guy who had been talking loudly. He was wearing a greenish-gray suit that was blackish, or a black suit that was turning greenish gray. There was a white artificial rose sprouting from the top pocket and a slanted dark blue bow-tie at his neck. His haircut looked like an upside down bowl. It could have been a wig. He is 84 years old from Union Village, Marabella. He has worked for 40 years in the hotel industry the USA (specially assigned to Presidential Suites) and has shaken the hands of all the Presidents from Reagan right down. He knows everything about everything and anyone who is anyone will remain quiet and listen while he speaks. He spent a good ten minutes with the Immigration Officer who he argued vehemently with. Naturally, given the disparity in their ages, the young man knew nothing so he had to spend the time telling him how to do his job. His wife, who loyally stood by his side, ventured a comment once. He turned from the Officer to address her directly. I felt small. I can’t imagine counting decades of anniversaries with that guy. She needs a medal from all the Presidents from Reagan down. This is the kind of wife our husbands probably aspired for when they bumped into us. Oops! Our sons know better…
There was one lady who stood out in the crowd. She wore what seemed like green glitter dust pasted on her eyelids, filling the space between brows and lashes. I wondered at the heaviness of it and if it bruised her skin when she blinked. But she seemed fine. I guess there is an obligation to look one’s best if you’re returning home after any length of stay outside Trinidad. You have to show that things are better, that you are better, than when you left. The next day I went to Port of Spain, and on my return the maxi stopped in San Juan to pick up passengers. Through the window I could see one of the three ladies waiting to enter had one green glitters covering her entire eyelids like the lady at the airport. When she entered I saw it was her. Her face powder now looked like a glittery goldish-brown in the sun. It was no longer smooth. Hot sun and sweat can do that. I wondered if she washed her face at all.
There was a familiar face behind me in that snake line. I saw him first. When he realized who I was, he turned his head the other way and kept talking to his daughter. This is the client I mentioned some years ago who wanted me to masturbate him while his wife was downstairs with their little baby and my website was up on her laptop screen. Well, the baby is about 4 years old and was having his bout of ADD, rightly so given the length of the line. The two children before him tried to engage him. The big daughter, almost as tall as her Dad, got to hold his attention. Four children. And his wife. She looked like a regal jockey in her slim jeans and knee-high boots. The line kept moving and we ended up near each other, facing each other. His conversation with his daughter required that he turn his back to me. Hmmm. The next time we came around he seemed more at ease. I had no intention of greeting him. Soon enough he realized that I am a professional with no desire to make our association public, or remind him of moments that he wished to forget. And so it was, after about three face to face encounters of no eye-contact or speech, he was fine. He was able to cut the conversation and stand straight. Good for him. I don’t expect to be called to massage him again. He won’t want to explain ignoring me due to the presence of his family. Not that I would ask. Having directly interacted with his wife on two occasions I’m sure she would have remembered me if a conversation had started. So his anxiety, if that is what it was, was justified. Anyway, though we are nationals from different places on the globe, we’ve been allowed to enter, and I’m sure we’re both happy to be spending Christmas with our families here in Trinidad.