In the early years of living in Trinidad, I found it curious that within moments of speaking to a man he would offer an invitation for us to go for a drive. Did I say I liked being chauffeured? Can’t remember. I do love the passenger seat (behind the driver) as I’m not a fan of seatbelts. From there I could enjoy any landscape and make eye contact in the rear view mirror while having lovely conversation. Whenever I mentioned that, the man would ask if I took him for a chauffeur. No! which is why I’m not clear on the offer. Can’t we sit face to face and talk rather than side by side in a car while he is half-absorbed with the road?
So one day I took up an offer. Had a young gentleman who came for a massage. Think I wrote about him before…. Anyway, our conversation needed more time than the massage afforded. That feeling was mutual. He suggested we go for a drive and continue talking. Hmmmm. It was after 8pm and I wanted to sleep. I declined. But when he suggested we go get something to eat, that feeling was also mutual, and I readied myself and promptly sat in his car. Front seat. Conversation continued. Health, personal development, social status…that kinda stuff. His treat landed me outside Standard in St. James to get a roti and curry. Medium size Hawaiian pizza from Mario’s is what dinner looked like for me in those days. But, one must be thankful.
The conversation began to struggle. A few variables in the equation had changed, if only by intention. But, what the heck… We got what we went out for, stood and ate it, and I was returned safely to my gate. I had lived alone at that time, so having been in my home (the massages used to be done in my living room) and having gleaned a few things from our conversation, he suggested we return inside. Living alone and being lonely are not synonymous. Please try to understand that. I had to pull on my reserve politeness to sit there in his car and reason my way out of not discovering that he might be bipolar. In my mind I knew this was coming, but coming doesn’t always result in arrival. Understanding prevailed…that I appreciated the exchange of energy, but was in dire need of rest. If my bed was in a glass box, I could agree to him watching me sleep, but since that was not the case, his sense of touch might try to outdo his sense sight.
Lucky. That’s how someone with whom I was sharing the story described me. He had one for me. Being susceptible to stars and salt water (oh gosh! me too!), he has had himself a few nights of lying on the sand by the seaside. One night a car pulled unto the sand. It was late and dark. The car began rocking. He presumed…you know. Moments later the door opened and a lady tumbled out. The driver’s door opened and a man ran around the car to the woman and began hitting her. She tried to get up, she stumbled. She ran, he grabbed her and continued hitting. When she was able to run again, it was into the waves that she went. The driver returned to his car and sped off. Woman still in the water. It was around 11pm. She came back to shore crying. She walked out to the road, her plight obvious. My dear friend sat up. She was startled. Naturally. Then she found some braveness and approached him. He could see her face took quite a beating.
Her story was that this man she knew…not in that way…invited her for a drive. They were cool so she agreed. Yes, it was a night drive she agreed too. Listen, I love driving through the fog in Santa Cruz, Maracas, Talparo, etc. at night, and I figure other women share my appreciation. Anyway, when they got to the beach he imposed himself on her and began kissing her. Well, they weren’t cool like that, so she objected. He expressed his intention to have sex and it was hell to the no for her. Man became bipolar. He began hitting her. So there was a little wrestling match in the car until she pulled up the safety and tumbled out. And outside was where he had better range of motion to execute his moves. Now with her ride gone and bruised blood under her skin, she doubt it could get worse, and proceeded to ask this stranger if knew how she could get a taxi out of the village. Nah. Countryside kinda different. People in with their families.
The lady had five wet $100 bills. Did he know where she could get a room for the night? Well, that can be organized. He was the caretaker of a beach house and he told her it would cost $200 for the night. She paid and got herself a room with clean linen and towels and hot tea. He went to his room and locked his door. She had trouble written all over her and he did not want to be accused of anything. Well, next morning when one of his friends passed through, and the woman emerged from her room, his jaw dropped. But is why you lash de woman boy? See, same thing he didn’t want. He had to explain that he did not know the woman and was just helping her out. Alright, alright. A womanizer he might be, but not a woman beater. The friend went to get female help. A lady, who was not appraised of the situation before hand, showed up. Oh God! Is why you lash de woman so? Here we go again…
Okay, let’s jump to the end. The abused woman spent three days at the beach house. It took all of that time for her face to return to something her mother could recognized when she did get the call to come collect her daughter. The lady who nursed her was the ‘Mother’ at the local Church. The young lady moments of realization during those three days and she later returned to visit the Church a few times. Eh-eh! She became a member. Got baptized. In retrospect it was kind of a harsh vision quest, or push into the embrace of the Divine Mother…Mary/Yemaya/Ganga…beach-side transformation. The unimaginable happened, negatively and positively. Lucky he said I was, huh? Now that I think about it…maybe.