Anyone who’s been on this blog for the last few months knows her by her kick-arse ninja opinions on everything apples to zucchini.
So with no further ado…
I give you, Valda DeDieu.
EPISODES: LOVE KNOWS NO BOUNDARIES
Chapter I: Hidden Dimensions: The Journey Inside…Tony
Every woman has a secret life, the one she shares with no one else. It exists and grows alongside us, and that aspect that we show to the world– the one that does the necessary things, goes to work, feeds the baby at four in the morning, submits to lovemaking which may not be as fulfilling as we dare to dream. The face we show to the world is the one which makes all the compromises, the one which listens to what other people say, even when it is not good for us, the one that conforms, and bends and yields. That is the face that submits to pettiness, and plays the game. It is not the one we want, it is the one that we’re told enables us to survive.
Like a biological symbiosis, it is not clear which depends on which. Is it the rich, vital Life inside which permits us to make compromises, and gives us strength to face what can be intolerable, or is it the Face outside which keeps the Inner safe?
The Face (outside life) we do not live for ourselves. We say we are, but that’s not true. It’s what we do so that we are acceptable to those we love, and those who profess to love us. It is that Face that permits us to stay up late among a circle of friends — sharing a few laughs and stiff drinks. Inside, though, the secret, inner Life is recording. And sometimes it’s contemptuous, but never condemning. It consoles us long after those people get up, leave our house, and are gone. It, or She, confirms our observations and conclusions. She concurs with the truth within. We listen, we know. But the Face outside will prevail; because we want to do what will make us acceptable to those whom we feel accountable to. Sometimes the Face and the Life are at war with each other. We feel it at moments of our deepest despair, when we cry out for help and the silence around us is empty. If our pain is especially deep; or we’ve been too abused, the silence seems mocking. While we’re still healthy, that Life within comes through. Ironically, it often helps us continue with what must be stopped.
The Life inside is a Consciousness which is an amalgamation of who we believe ourselves to be from the moment we begin to conceive a sense of self. How early that begins is not known. It is comprised of our dearest memories and discoveries, epiphanies and joys. The Consciousness holds our most secret desires and hopes. Above all, it holds the blueprint of what we understand love to be.
Sometimes if weâ€™re fortunate, we meet that special man who can unlock the door to that aspect of ourselves and give us a certain freedom, and allow us to indulge in its richness. It is not the man who has that power, but rather our regard for him due to certain qualities that he may possess and our recognition of those qualities — that in him causes us to acknowledge his power and hand him the key. This is not the Cinderella complex; rather it is an acknowledgment that we all carry certain truths within us. One of those truths is that with men, some part of us may know those who can harm us, and we’re never ourselves until we meet the one person who, because his stake in our well-being is as important to him as his own life –we know cannot.
For me, there was no one man and it is doubtful that there could ever be…I was one woman with myriad and complex secrets — and needs I did not dare tell anyone about. Fulfilling them was not a task to which I could appoint, or entrust, anyone. Especially as some of them I was just beginning to know myself…
Although I didnâ€™t truly enjoy the act of sexual intercourse until well into my thirties, the romance, anticipation, conquest and sensual aspects became it for me. Three-dimensional poetry…skin against skin, didnâ€™t matter what color, whispered devotions like fervent prayers, the rasp of a manâ€™s beard against my cheek, his reverent aspect when quaffing his thirst with my lotus flower juices that was almost like praying…the dance…these were what I fantasized about and brought to life, almost like magic, with each successive lover. I needed them far more than they knew. They were all applicants to ecstasy. I was the Secret Garden– and my assent was the key…
With Tony, time hung suspended like a pearl, resting on the big bosoms of some bountiful Universe…and giving me the magic that I had left behind in my childhood, abandoned so long ago…
My very first kiss was at Fond Canie* (Cane Valley) — this enchanted place where my Grandparents lived. With very little effort, I imagined fairies and pixies dancing there, in the Glen. My Grandparents house stood above a valley, crisscrossed by a mountain stream where they grew root vegetables – starchy dasheen, plants with the large elephant-ear leaves- and spicy watercress . Behind that house was the constant roar of the river, which changed features every year. There were breadfruit, mango, cocoa and guava trees in that valley. It was also there that I received my first kiss, from a boy whom I thought for the longest time the handsomest in the world. He is now a doctor. I was seven, he was ten. We were standing behind an old house across the street from my Grandmotherâ€™s. It had been a game of hide and seek…he caught me behind the house, and pinned me against the siding as he said â€œOpen your mouthâ€. It was yucky. I was only seven. But it was a kiss.
Tony was also to say this to me, twenty years later…with very different resultsâ€¦
Fond Canie was where it began; Fond Canie was where it all ended. That mysterious
place forever in my thoughts, in my memories…frozen in time, somewhere (locked in a
dimension that could not reach), I skated across the lake of its secrets and the deep
darkness that entombed me when I dived in was my living nightmare, tucked away inside me, forever a part of my id…yet it was also part dream — and it was as if Tony had piggybacked out of those dreams into my awakening…
Fond Canie always had stillness, with a steady, rhythmic, audible but subconscious pulse to it, like a motherâ€™s heartbeat to a child ensconced in the womb. Time stood still when it rained, and I would lose myself in the fantastic world of Enid Blytonâ€™s books. To this day, I love the rain. Funny that a lover would bring those feelings back to me. Afterwards, on very wet days I would think of Tony and I would be transported back to Fond Canie…this was the special gift he brought to me, accessed first by his lovemaking, a part of me that I would not have known had we not been lovers.
Tony stood on my threshold, and with him, time stood still –waiting for me.
In my mind I always knew him, he had been there with me — a shadow of someone I was going to know, who was going to bring to me the real present of all that I had been, and was fortunate to have had in my life…beauty, spirituality, a feeling of closeness to God…and a rich, dense thread of creativity that wove through me, ever present in who I am and what I did — my loving, my writing…
like the vibrations of a heavy drumbeat
long faded into silence
This warm, wet, damp fissure of a day
like a mother’s womb
are the quiet roar of the river
swollen, pouring molten over its edges
the low whistle of the wind
the soft, deep splash of raindrops
over grass, and rocks
over stone and memories and feelings
hugged into one’s self
along with all permutations
sunken deep as a valley,
a long endless sigh
Never really spent
just coalescing into
All my life, from childhood, Iâ€™ve always stood outside of my interactions with people and taken notes — and so it was that it seemed my life was all about mirror images — foreshadowing of events, places, loves, hates, lies, roads, even people to come, and on the heels of all my expectations, my sorrow, my angst, my need and my yearning — my materialization of who I wanted and what I wanted him to make me feel, came Tony…
For me…falling in love meant a sudden , abrupt cessation of pain that is like free-falling; diving off a cliff…floating past my life into nothingness…
Tony was built like a linebacker, hard, fleshy, broad-shouldered body, with legs like tree trunks. He had jet black hair, the most delightful aquiline nose and a mouth that would devour me whole. Everywhere. The first time I saw him, or should I say the first time I saw him see me — I was a tiny bit repulsed. He had fine brown eyes, but the way he was staring — he seemed so greedy…
…Then I thought that a man of such obvious large appetites would carry that into bed and I was intrigued and a little bit excited…And so the moth flew closer and closer to the flame; time passedâ€”but who was moth and who was flame?
The first night Tony and I shared together, he was hard from the moment he walked in my door. Conversation? Forget about it! He picked me up in his arms and within minutes, we were upside down on my sofa , (picture that in your mind), I was stripped of my clothing, and, for the first time in my life, I saw a penis that actually throbbed. He consumed me with his passion. He kissed, sucked, licked and ate every part of my body. I was breathless and not a little bit overwhelmed. The night seemed endless. That initial intensity was to hallmark our entire relationship.
The day after when he called me, at some time during the conversation (we always had long conversations) said: â€œDo you know what it’s like to make love to a beautiful woman?” I said “No, I do not.” Iâ€™m not gay, and after all, how could I know what itâ€™s like to make love to me? He responded, “It’s like paradise.” I was paradise for Tony. He would bring in the sun when he came. We talked a lot, or rather, he talked and, I listened. He was fascinating and brilliant. For a Dade County Transit Bus Driver, he was articulate, well read, with a mischievous sense of humor, (I thought). Tony was a George Clooney lookalike, a Cuban immigrant who, even with an Italian father, with his beefy, slab-like musculature really looked to me like he had Russian ancestry. He remembered being in the Freedom Tower in Miami when he was four years old. He had been educated in the U.S., and had an affair with his school-teacher at thirteen, which I thought privately was unconscionable behavior on her part. But he was proud of it.
For sheer exuberance during sex — there was just no one like Tony. In that aspect, he was like a little boy being allowed a slightly forbidden treat. Yet he was all man. From the graze of his beard which he would gleefully rub against my skin, to the way he would reach above and lick the soles of my feet while inside me, to the goosebumps, flaring across his muscular biceps, large forearms and chest, tightening his nipples into nubs– that would prick and feather his skin when he climaxed…
He listened to me, and respected me. We would talk for hours about everythingâ€”and nothing at all. He seemed daring and slightly raffish…with a tattoo of thorns on his left bicep. He adored my clothes and it took very little to turn him on. My red panties for instance, or my little green mini-skirt. And he could be so demonstrative at times in public, to the point of recklessness.
We had a connection that baffled and spooked me. I would just think of him — and he would call. I would dream of him when asleep, the phone would — â€œbrring!â€ and it would be Tony. An intensely imaginative person, there were times at work when I would feel transported to another dimension, an almost dreamlike state when I could actually feel him inside me, my panties wet, intimate parts burning with the heat of his possession… the receptionist would interrupt to tell me I had a call –and Tony would be on the line.
At work the radio was you could always hear the radio. Around me other lives were playing out dramas — some of which I was intertwined in — as you will read. But at that moment, that was Tonyâ€™s and I, what was meaningful to me was Martin Page sang â€œHouse of Stone and Light, â€œ Amy Grant sang â€œHouse of Loveâ€ and Faith Hill was singing â€œThis Kiss.â€
Later on something happened and we were not the same. To this day, I donâ€™t know if we both subconsciously willed it to happen. We could not continue like this. We were becoming closer, and closer — our souls entangled even in our dreams. Socially, our lives were not compatible. Yet I was too much to be simply tucked away. We were on a collision course to the reality around us. I knew it — when it happened, and what caused it…and it is quite painful to recount …
I knew decision time was around the corner–he wanted us to move in together or something. And I quailed. I would feel sick at the thought of it. Cubans are notorious for racism against black people. Iâ€™ve had Cuban friends who told me frankly so, and everything I have observed in Miami supports their assertion. And the streak of arrogance in me would not yield or bend for anyoneâ€™s family to â€œapproveâ€ of me, regardless of how much I loved them. Why couldnâ€™t we stayâ€”just like this? Why did we have to move up a level? I wasnâ€™t ready. Probably I never would. I had done the marriage thing; I was no longer a statistic, i.e., the black woman who had never married. My daughter had been born in wedlock. My son had been born when I was seventeen â€“the timing, not my son, was a mistake, which I had not repeated. I didnâ€™t need anyone to â€œlendâ€ me legitimacy.
I sensed that he was feeling trepidation over how much we felt for each other. He was on the verge of making a commitment that would turn his life upside down. So he backed off, taking some time to think– I did not hear from him for several days. I was not one to crowd anyone who needed space, especially Tony, whom, if I read him right, had all the reasons in the world to think carefully before making a commitment. And I too, felt worse, but couldnâ€™t hurt him by telling him so. I was sick with anxiety . For a million reasons unspoken. We talked — briefly, then I did not hear from him again for three weeks — and at first, it did not matter. Yet those strong dreams about him continued, and one day, fed up with waiting for him to call, hurt beyond measure and imposing a discipline upon myself so as not to jump each time the phone rang, I turned off the ringers on every phone and went to bed.
The very next morning very early, he called — it was about three in the morning — and he had just left the bus terminal, had something important on his mind, and wanted to talk.
But I did not get the call. He stopped by at my apartment building at three-thirty a.m. and rang for me to let him in. Of course, I did not get the call. He said later that he had stayed there for an hour — waiting.
Before I left for work, later that morning, I checked my phones and saw from the Caller ID that he had called several times — and had left messages. I dialed into my answering service and sure enough, his voice was there for maybe a total of five times, growing increasingly more impatient — and with Tony, that meant a softer tone with an underlying menace that could excite, infuriate and tickle some deep humor inside me, all at the same time — with five more hang-ups. The final message told a story. He had said, â€œWhatever youâ€™re doing, I hope you enjoy it.â€ And he refused to take my calls.
That he found it so easy to believe that I was unfaithful was very painful, but illuminating. The pain was real — but so were the questions I was asking myself. Again that part of me taking notes. Amid the tumult I felt I found myself thinking — â€œis he applying his standards of behavior to me — or is he looking for a convenient reason to walk away?â€
He did call me a week and a half later, but it was evident that, as far as he was concerned, the moment of crisis, that one crazy time of decision when he was going to make a commitment was past. Strangely though, it was okay with me. A lot of the weird has passed through my life, and it was always to save me from something worse. I was not ready for the scrutiny our relationship would endure if it became â€œofficial.â€ In some ways, Miami has a deep social line of demarcation, like nowhere else. In the Caribbean, we would be two Caribbean people. He, Cuban, me British West Indian. Here we were Cuban and Black. I mourned our relationship as it had been, but I did not look back. Fond Canie was still with me.
I wonder what would he have told me that morning, our bodies flush with passion, entangled in the sheets, with that special sense of intimacy that held us both spellbound when we were together, woven around us? Tony brought me deeper into my being, he had a special way of awakening a secret part of me that had been initiated by Fond Canie, when I was a teenager on the cusp of womanhood, and in his way was a key to my past, a lock on my subconscious — and I was the same to him. When we looked at each other, it was like looking into a Universe that only two of us knew. Together unlocked something inside us. Yet I knew– I knew, social realities constrained us, and I do not accept restraints…imagine that.
We continued seeing each other, both certain that it was no longer going to continue to be exclusive, an unspoken understanding. My head was hidden in the sand along with my heart, and I anxiously tallied the day that was approaching — looking for some behavior (just like he had done with me) something overt, like the scent of another woman, that my principles would not allow me to ignore, that would make a convenient excuse …
We both felt guilty, for different reasons.
After that, once I fully realized from certain indications that he was sharing that same intensity, (because with Tony it could not be anything other) that weâ€™d had, with someone else, I shut it — my passion for him — down. I was too vulnerable. I refused to see him. Tony would always remember me. Amy Grant was singing â€œHouse of Love.â€ But it took a long while for me to forget…
EXCERPT FROM EXPISODES by Valda DeDieu
Novels by Valda DeDieu:
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Bundle: A FINE THING MURDER & TELL ME HOW YOU FEEL TODAY
Pense Ergo Sum…