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African Caribbean Author Carriacou, Grenada


Kali: An Unfulfilled Life

Virginia Morris

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2017 © 2016 Virginia Morris. Smash words edition. All rights reserved.

Published by Virginia Morris.

Cover Design: Virginia Morris

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In nervous excitement, Mademoiselle Flare experienced a rush of adrenaline which dried her mouth instantly. Her nostrils flared for air, and her heartbeat was like a fast-dripping tap, hardly leaving space between beats, she walks faster. Pulsating sound in her ear, sometimes present only at nights, as her head rests on the pillow, was there and out of control. The frantic speed continued until her feet began to sink slightly, in the soft warm sands on L'Esterre glistening, white crab covered beach. Within split-seconds of careless mind-disconnection, Mademoiselle Flare was mesmerized for a moment of eternity, by an awesome un-forgettable outer body experience.


Chapter 1
An Enjoyable Period

The windows in Mademoiselle Flare’s bedroom were closed just around midnight by Leonora the young maid, when the weather changed to rain that lasted for all of half an hour. On one of the hottest morning on the island of Carriacou, Mademoiselle Flare awoke to extreme and frightening humidity that made her struggle to breathe. Nevertheless, she insisted that her morning ritual must carry on.

During the early days of her sheltered but normal world, tragedy struck out of the blue, and devastated her life in three stages over a period of two years. Thus, revealing a stark realisation of situations which can occur in life. She knew that terrible circumstances were not singled out to certain people as chastisement, but testing grounds for character-building and staying power. Life’s natural challenges would tests Mademoiselle Flare repeatedly in different circumstances throughout her time on earth. However, the third of the three tests brought great personal distress and fear into her young and fragile life.

At the tender age of sixteen, Mademoiselle Flare was suddenly abandoned, by two house-keepers in her care. Both women knew her in childhood, and were specially employed at the house to assist her parents in caring for the young child they had adopted. Yet, the two formed an alliance with the village folks to ostracise and isolate the young girl on the hill in Morne Jaloux. In later years, she discovered new past times and a network of interesting people.

Awakened suddenly from slumber by the heat and noisy parakeets, she remained in the same position, waiting to hear the cock crow. Then not daring to move for the noise she would create. The quietness in the bedroom were in preparation for her newly acquired clandestine enjoyment. Wishing also, that the outside was as quiet as inside. Not that she felt aggrieved by the song birds stirring her into a new day. Mademoiselle Flare wanted the quietness in the bedroom for another reason. She had become accustomed to the mornings’ opening act.

To ensure absolute comfort, she altered her position two or three times during the aria. Although classical music was a new concept for her, listening to the picks and flow of the crescendo, was like watching an experienced surfer ride the waves on smooth waters. When volcanic undercurrent suddenly changes the tide, forcing the surfer to battle with the crest.

At the onset of the aria, Mademoiselle Flare mused on quiet moments in her life, and three different kinds of heart-warming emotional sensations emerged to equal the enjoyment of the song. Firstly, having the most satisfying pleasure just standing under a warm shower in peaceful solitude. Having the clear warm liquid cascade down, put her in mind of the Victoria waterfall in Grenada, she heard about. Standing under her own waterfall, showered from head to toe. Standing still, or just hugging her shoulders from time to time.

Another engulfment of emotion to equate the mood of the aria were simply relaxing indoors, listening to heavy rain-fall on galvanised roofing. She remembered that falling rain played different tunes on contact with the metal-sheets. It was soothing to listen to and also, a natural sleep inducer. Each tune depended on the weather and weight of the falling rain. Thirdly, and undoubtedly on even parallel, was the hypnotic natural process of the noisy brook, in its continuous replenishing of the pool at the back of the house.

Mademoiselle Flare did not understand the nature of musical eloquence and the possibility in which the petite physical makeup of Leonora, could reach, master and command such power in her voice. Still, she enjoyed the voice more as the tone changed to angelic. A few minutes spent listening quietly to the amazing voice of the young girl, was truly soothing.

In impressible, mellifluous concert persona, Leonora sang an aria of “Puccini’s, O Patria Mia”, as she began to organise her day.

Mademoiselle remained puzzled to why Leonora, a highly trained and gifted singer, had walked away from such a promising career to work for her. When the singing stopped it was replaced by the young girl’s restrained tapping on the bedroom door. Without delay, the elderly woman invited her in. Leonora turned the door knob gingerly as if for the first time, then pushed the door wide open to a ray of sunlight that brought the new day. She retrieved the green half-filled bucket of hot water from the table outside the bedroom and carried it in.

Tatan, one of the other workers, had spoken to her on numerous occasions about the loud noise in the early hours, disturbing the peace and awaking Mademoiselle Flare. Leonora had never heard Mademoiselle Flare complain. In fact, she felt quite the opposite. Saddened as always that perhaps she had disturbed Mademoiselle Flare from sleep. Knowing full well, that the voice within could not be contained.

“Come in Leonora,” responded her jovial ageing employer.

“Good morning Mademoiselle Flare! Have you had a good night sleep?” Standing in the half open doorway Leonora continued her conversation.

“Are you decent Mademoiselle, or should I wait”?

“Hello Leonora, good morning to you. Yes, I had a very good night sleep, thank you for asking. You’re up bright and early as usual, come in, come in child.”

“Did you sleep ok? You’re in fine voice again,” enquired Mademoiselle Flare.

Leonora made a feeble attempt to apologise. “I’m sorry if I woke you from sleep. My voice seems to travel further than I want it to these days. Yes Mademoiselle, I slept very well. Should I make a start?”

“Yes, come in, come, come,” replied Mademoiselle Flare, still under the net. Both speaking fluently in two languages, changing from French to English. Afterwards, Leonora filled a tall narrow neck pitcher with hot water, lifted it away from the basin to a placed behind the screen on a triangular table in the corner. She then carried the heavy half-full basin with cold water, placed it on the lower shelf, along with two bath towels and a face flannel.

Mademoiselle Flare then emerged from under the cocoon-like mosquito net around the bed. She separated the opening wide enough to thank the girl. They discussed the breakfast menu. Afterwards, Leonora excused herself with the night’s content of body waste to dispose of in the Latrine some distance away from the house. Alone once more, Mademoiselle rests in the bedroom of her youth enjoying her calm and peaceful home where not even the footsteps of the maids could be heard.

On the stroke of six o’clock, the church bell rang for the early morning service. It signalled the time to get out of bed. She tossed the light covers to one side and nonchalantly swept her legs out of bed onto the cold wooden floor. Blindly searched for her slippers with her feet. When found, slipped into the warm cosy mules. Two or three hours earlier, she had a desperate urge to get out of bed to use the chamber pot. It was then that the multi-coloured homemade rug in front of the bed was annoyingly shoved out of the way, having been too hot under foot.

Some would say she was a creature of habit that worked in stages. Performing a series of rigorous stretches each morning to loosen her joints, however, a minute or two into her exercises she decided to air the room. In short shuffling movements, she hurried along the bedroom floor to open the windows to the fresh morning air. For a moment, she paused proudly to admire and examine the white laced crochet curtains in the window. The design was elaborately decorated in rose buds, apple blossom and small figures. With such intricate details, felt compelled to stop and admire the delicate workmanship of her handicraft most morning. She straightened and separated the curtains evenly before opening the windows.

Gusts of fresh air brought a mixture of rich and wonderful perfumed scented flowers and pungent herbal aromas. Most of the aromas had been evaporated by the early morning dew. Time had arrived for rituals which should not be rushed, in which she pleasingly praise and glorify her God.

In pious concentration, the old lady stepped squarely in-front of her morning’s ritual table on which she had a special prepared concoction. Distinctive topical herbs for body preparation were used in the wash, then delicately discarded. The receptacle cleaned, dried and refilled for a ceremonial second wash and douche. To cure ailments or protect from illnesses as a ritualistic act of gratitude. She named each parts of the body and functions in an act of hope and healing. Whatever was done in the process was self-healing. To massage, palpate and simply touch was part of the ritual lessons taught to her in childhood. The same lessons had been taught to Kali, was expressions of gratitude. To familiarise oneself with each limb. Gently touching each part of the body with utmost respect and pride in appreciation of the gift of the physical body. Even appreciating the slight imperfection to her upper lip, where two front teeth which were permanently exposed. Thus leaving no room for self-loathing.

There were two blessings Mademoiselle Flare remained forever thankful for. First and foremost, having lived a life of near perfect health. Having never suffered from the everyday common cold even as a child, and finally, still having a full mouth of perfect teeth on the way to a centenary, was a blessing worth celebrating on Morne Jaloux hill top.

With the morning’s ritual completed, she reached in the drawer of her dressing table for the mantilla. A black triangular head-piece, folded neatly from the time before, tucked in the top drawer. Covered her head, then lowered to the kneeling position on a pillow beside the large four-poster bed, hands clasped and elbows resting on the bed, commenced her morning prayer. Her prayers of adoration and appreciation of life, said in absolute silence with eyes closed, for half an hour. There were inner blessings and renewed confidence because she felt her prayers had already been answered. But time was of the essence in getting ready for work.

Although the lady was not vain, yet, she was passionate about her appearance, pampered for regular market day. Garments, jewellery and headwear had been laid out ready the evening before, by Leonora. As the hours rapidly slipped by, she hurried to put on her market attire and nervously unzipped the brown cloak bag on the bed, she removed her lily-white linen underwear and a pair of silk stockings. The six-panelled bedroom screen on wheels, one panel had a full-length mirror, wheeled and placed in front of the open window to hang each item of clothing removed from the cloak bag. Meticulous in every way, especially the look she set out to achieve. Starting with specially imported silk stockings, which were delicately worn with the use of gloves to put them on, pulled up to just below the knees and supported by garters.

Mademoiselle Flare wore a green ankle-length georgette skirt and white silk chemise with her signature embroidery work of two kidney shaped collars and embroidery to the cuffs. Full attention were given to her jewellery and hair, a progressive look, yet, unassuming. Brown Italian leather shoes polished and buffed, laced threaded and tied in a bow.

“Mademoiselle Flare, the breakfast table is laid” said Louise.

Laughing, she continued, “Tartan’s eager to start”.

“Thank you, the aroma smells appetising. I’m on my way,” reassured Mademoiselle.

Louise presented a colourful spread for breakfast, including fried fish. Fresh fish had been caught early that morning, Tatan bought, descaled and seasoned ready for Louise to add her expertise to the pot, at the crack of dawn. Mademoiselle’s diet may vary at times, but fresh oysters were always part of her menu. Monsieur Vacan, one of the workmen with a delicate stomach, ate corned fish for breakfast every morning of the year, which he preferred to season himself. Side dishes with sliced breadfruit, sliced avocado, tomatoes and hot buttered roast bakes, the table pleased everyone. Mademoiselle said a short prayer, while they waited in silence, some with cutlery in hand.

After breakfast, Tatan and Monsieur Vacan took two large heavy canvas cases with readymade merchandises down to the car, when Luz the young taxi driver sounded his arrival. Luz then made his way up to the house to escort Mademoiselle Flare down the hill to the waiting car. Although, occasionally in the dry season, Luz would drive the car half-way up the hill to pick her up or drop her off. During the rainy season, the parked vehicle left on the main road. Hettie the small terrier knew the times and days Luz visited the house, waits patiently by the ladder style garden gate to greet him. Luz stooped and played with her briefly but concentrates on the task ahead. Mademoiselle Flare put on the final item, a pair of white crochet gloves, which she held as a good luck charm, waiting eagerly in the yard beside the Veranda steps.

“Bonjour Mademoiselle Flare”, he greeted her with kisses to both cheeks.

“Bonjour Luz, how are you. It’s always nice to see you”? She replied.

He responded, “It’s good to see you too. How was your weekend Mademoiselle”?

They set out along the narrow tract, then down some steps made in the hard rock all the way until they reach the main road, both speaking in French. Mademoiselle Flare did not have to think about the right terms to use.

Luz opened the passenger door and waited until she was sitting comfortably before closing the door. Mademoiselle Flare inquired from him about his week, and as usual, he gave a full rundown on the latest gossip in the village. Latest news on the island, people returning from abroad, or those still on holiday. Conversation continued until they reached the open market in Hillsborough town, where Luz parked the car on a small gravelled area close to the market entrance. Collected keys to the booth from the general post office across the way. At eight thirty, the temperature had already risen to 24 degrees Centigrade. Luz returned shortly after collecting the keys and removed the two large canvas cases with a struggle, carried and placed them on the floor in her booth.

There was one other booth in the market place, which belonged to Mademoiselle Flare also. Other vendors had different arrangements, some had table top sales with assorted merchandises on show. Others displayed sale items on mats on the ground. Her potters managed the pottery business which ran efficiently. Her high- quality designer wares were on display in the booth, and close enough on market day to discuss problems and oversee sales. The pottery shop located in Maconet worked efficiently with a kiln on site. Mademoiselle Flare employed two dedicated and gifted potters to work at the shop, both unrelated, but mute from birth. Working into the night because of what they enjoyed. Sometime forgetting to stop and have a meal, especially when engrossed on a new selection of their creation. Her monthly visits to the shop was a formality, but input on quantity of clay and styles of wares was sometimes necessary.

Having secured the merchandise in the booth, Luz returned promptly to escort her in, Dorcas the young sales assistant from the pottery shop accompanied him. The moment Mademoiselle Flare stepped out of the vehicle, Dorcas greeted her with a kiss, then hurried back to her booth. Luz stayed long enough to assist with emptying the suitcases and setting out her stalls. Her delicate items on sale were fine lacemaking and embroidery work. An accumulation of bedspreads, collars, cuffs, curtains, doilies, gloves, handkerchiefs, mantillas, napkins, pillowcases, shawls, tablecloths and wedding veils. When all was accomplished to her satisfaction, she paid him the taxi fare with a bit extra as usual. He kissed her on both cheeks, bade her goodbye and called out, “Goodbye Mademoiselle Flare, see you later”.

“Have a good day”

“Thank you, have a good day yourself”, she replied

Luz used the taxi fare each market day to purchase fresh fish, which he gave to her on the return journey. She accepted the gifts because she liked Luz and considered him a prudent young man. Mademoiselle Flare was unaware that she was the only person Luz accommodated with a taxi service. He worked for the only bank on the island not far from the market, hidden away in an office.

After rearranging the new range of sale items on the table, no time was wasted waiting for customers. Mademoiselle Flare reached for the bag with ongoing works from the space between the booth and the chair, untied the flap to a richly adorned half-finished bedspread, which she proceeded to work on. Hopefully by the next market day, that too, should be on show. As the crowds approached the market hall, she stood in readiness to add her line of merchandise to their shopping basket.

Hillsborough town was notably busy with shoppers and sightseers, the colourful market had a fair share of the crowds and large groups of tourists were among them. Most of the tourists were sightseers from the cruise ship anchored in the deep on the far side of Sandy Island. Mademoiselle Flare enjoyed working the market, although demanding. Thinking about the hustle and bustle at the market always set her heart racing in preparation of the day.

Chapter 2
Peace Disturbed

The old woman was gifted with a sixth sense, and would always be prepared for any emotional upheaval that would arise as the day unfolded. Somehow, for once, she had been caught off guard. A drastic change came with Tamboa, a woman from one of the vegetable stalls, came over as usual to look at all the new items. Tamboa took a short break from her stall, because her niece was in town and offered to watch her stall. After looking over the designs, Tamboa complemented Mademoiselle Flare on the work involved in the pieces, requested a bed-spread and table-cloth put aside, which she would pay for at the end of trade.

Before leaving the booth, Tamboa said, “Mademoiselle Flare, you’ve set your stall the same way for the past, let me see, thirty years”.

“It’s been this way since you lost your daughter to that dreadful disease.

What was it again?

What was your daughter called?

What did your girl die from again?

Never mind”.

“Anyhow, your collection would look more attractive in a glass casing. I went to Martinique and the Northwards two weeks ago and noticed market vendors are using glass cabinets to show delicate items like yours. I think all your fine lace making, embroidery and tatting are worth displaying in glass cabinets, it should make the stock look more attractive”.

Mademoiselle Flare thanked her for the compliment and the advice, but thought also, that Tamboa’s attitude to her was unusually disrespectful.

The moment Tamboa disappeared out of sight, Mademoiselle Flare thought about her passing comment, in an instant, thirty years of activity flashed before her eyes. She watched her life unfold in seconds and talked to herself.

‘My, oh my, thirty years here at the market passed just like it was yesterday. Never mind, I’ve enjoyed every minute in the town.

This place helped me to continue living with a sadness that was way too big to cope with. I have not given grief time to fester my soul.

Kali, the child I gave birth to, was chosen for me as a gift. A gift that was only on loan. That is the most difficult paradox in life. Just like everything in life, nothing is permanent. So, instead of saying, why Kali, why me? I accept my lot.

I’ve experienced happiness.

But what is true happiness?

Happiness for me is contentment, whatever I am left with, after he takes everything away. I still won’t say, ‘Why me’.

Contentment in my opinion is temporary, different from the next person’s acceptance of the word.

I could describe happiness as self-fulfilling. To be absolutely filled with tingling joy, where the heart feels satisfied and can take no more.

Yet, if I spoke honestly, although I’ve experienced happiness, there was still a part of my heart, where joy could not reach’.

Tamboa’s remark forced her to revisit a place in her subconscious, where a certain period in her life was stored. It was a sad time, and she was ashamed for one simple reason. She had no problem helping others back to health, but was unable to help her own daughter.

Mademoiselle Flare did not dare look back, for fear of being lost in the abyss of life’s mystery. However, it was comforting to remember good times in Kali’s life, which felt more felicitous.

In her teenage years, laughing and having fun, emulating the fashions and styles of her youth. Since the doors to that period had been tampered with, she was fearful. Afraid for her own sanity, afraid also that she could no longer put those feelings of loss back in the same place.

Nevertheless, it was only twelve months earlier that Mademoiselle Flare was asked by Mademoiselle Belomise, a woman of her own age whom she had known almost all her life.

“Why had she never showed anger about Kali’s terrible illness and early death, even-though she lived a good life, doing what was right and proper”?

Mademoiselle Flare’s reply to her was simple.

She responded, “Belomise, the comforting fact is, there has never been a need for anger about my loss. No, never. I feel I have been blessed and ever-so thankful to have had the opportunity in life that I had.

The good Lord saw I was alone, and brought love and happiness into my empty world for a time. I am more than grateful for that wonderful blessing. That is why I celebrate Kali’s life everyday not her death”.

She continued, “Mademoiselle Belomise, I remembered the day you went to see Sae Jellot. You were only sixteen years old, only a girl. I remember the day as clear as yesterday. Since that day you have not smiled. In my mind, I feel somehow, you lost your way in being part of the land of the living. You have not forgiven yourself, but God has not held it against you. He loves you. You are a strong woman, hold on to your strength”.

“What you did was out of desperation and fear, God has never held it against you.

Open up your heart and experience the boundless love that is yours right now. Open your heart and feel Belomise!

Through all life’s chaos, there is love all around, freely given to all from ‘The creator”.

Mademoiselle Belomise replied finally, “Mademoiselle Flare, while you were still speaking, something happened. I felt a complete spiritual shift from my body. The guilt I carried with me since that day, and the difficulty I put myself under, suddenly disappeared. I believe what you said Mademoiselle Flare. As a Catholic, the fear factor had always been punishment. But I know now, that God knew how my heart felt. He did not cause me to suffer. I punished myself by believing he hated me”

Mademoiselle Flare concluded the conversation, said, “Belomise, go and enjoy life, be good to yourself and your fellowmen. The world out there is yours, take it, enjoy waking up, smile and laugh with others and yourself. There are no rule in pampering yourself, eat good food, eat the best, don’t skimp on anything. You deserve this time, do not think about death or dying because life is for living”

Even Mademoiselle Belomise’s question did not take her to where Tamboa’s remark did.

There was no other choice, but to finally and mentally put Kali to rest, and conquered fears she denied herself permission to deal with for many years. Yet, it was difficult getting to grips with the fact that her faith was weak, when it came to dealing with Kali’s end.

Trading continued as usual, and raw emotions had surfaced. Mademoiselle Flare waited eagerly for Luz’s return. Other venders packed away unsold merchandises and left the market in small numbers. Hardly any shoppers left in the place, and no customers at her stall, her unsold goods were neatly folded in the two cases.

The day’s taking seemed larger than usual, she proceeded with the tally. During that process, the heat and light of the sun disappeared like a lunar eclipse, and replaced by a tall shadow, which covered her. Mademoiselle Flare froze on the spot, when an ice-cold change, brought shivery goose-pimples to her skin. Her air reserve felt depleted, which caused her to gasp like a drowning man. Mademoiselle Flare’s tongue was involuntarily stuck to the roof of her mouth as her lungs felt deflated by the shadowed frame-work of the evil feign.

Boisterous self-confidence returned, she looked up from tallying into the eyes of the figure of the monstrous shadow and gulped. The lady was physically shaken by the sight of the human being. She did not see the gentleman arrive, only surprised and puzzled at the person on the other side of the counter, which was more an enigma than a reality.

A smartly dressed older gentleman, probably a tourist in his mid-fifties, stood looking down at her. Metaphorically speaking! Heat from his eyes burned through to her very sinew. Mademoiselle Flare stared into his red eyes, and saw nothing. Lifelessness in the eyes of the gentleman was haunting. One that she had never witnessed before and hoped, never to again.

Although the gentleman visited the booth earlier as she recalled, his purchase was considerable. A second visit was not accidental she deduced during the conversation which followed. Information about her work was his drive. He wanted to know who created the patterns, and who designed the finished work.

Mademoiselle Flare said, “The work belongs to me, they are all mine”

He looked a little puzzled, and asks. “Do you copy your patterns from books”?

“No, the works are all mine. I make the patterns up in my head and see the finished work as a picture, I sketch the mental images on special paper, then number and date each one”.

He spoke to her about different countries where he lived in the past, and ones he visited. Then said, “I have never seen such diverse styles and interesting scenes of artwork created by only one person. You have amazing artistic skills, which is worth showing to the wider world. This work needs to be enjoyed by more people. Some pieces can even be displayed in museums. What a fantastic catalogue of materials you have here, let me show them to the world. I have business connections, which you would probably find unbelievable.” He introduced himself, as Clinton Massey, a Canadian. She looked across the street and saw Luz approaching, relaxed her shoulders and composed herself. Although the conversation with the customer continued. Luz arrived and greeted her, he looked at the gentleman but only nodded, collected the keys, packed the cases in the car and waited. When Mademoiselle Flare and the gentleman stepped out of the booth, Luz locked up and return the keys to the post office. The moment they finished speaking, each went their separate way.

That night Mademoiselle Flare slept without stirring. The next day as usual began at five thirty to start her mornings’ ritual. After pampering herself, she decided to have breakfast on the portico. The morning was a calm one with intermittent gusts of wind, just enough to even the temperature. Life on the hill in Morne Jaloux was a gracious and wonderful freedom. Her own little piece of paradise in the position where the house was built. An absolute determination in her mind to enjoy all the wonders around the place, and watch the birds in the branches of trees, and butterflies on colourful flowers. Even Hettie seem to want to savour the ambience and its alluring fragrance.

A short stroll back to the house after breakfast, and into her workroom to complete yet another astonishing piece of artwork, as only she knew how. Working through until dinner time. Although the conversation with Tamboa did not lingered on her thoughts, yet, she was troubled by the gentleman’s presence at the market.

Unexpectedly however, Louise disturbed her trail of thoughts because she wanted to set the table for lunch. Mademoiselle Flare changed location at the drop of a hat, and kept the workers guessing which area around the house to have the table laid for meals. Often-time, the suspense would turn into a guessing game with Monsieur Vacan usually spot on.

Views from the hill is boundless, especially from the position on the Veranda. Its’ picturesque beauty could be enjoyed from any door or window at the front of the house. White sandy beaches on the seashore and the vast ocean, helped the mind travel many miles in pleasant dreams. Or just watching the activities on the sea, and small fishing boats around the rock formations in the middle of the sea. The largest rock Mabouyas’ hilly projection. Not far from Mabouya, are the steep Sister Rocks, though not large enough to be inhabited. Picturesque Sandy Island, a small mound of sand, lined with coconut trees only a few miles from Carriacou. The beauty is exceptional as the eyes travel beyond and out onto the very edge of wonder.

Taking up position on the Veranda could be the ideal convalescent hideaway for recovery after an illness. There were much to see and yet more. Watching the coming and going of vessels around Hillsborough harbour, and feeling at one with nature is an enthralling experience. All the sights helped to relish the breeze, as it cooled the heat of the midday sun, adding rapture to the spirit.

Having thoroughly immersed in the sights around the hill, spectacular views of rich green lushness surrounding the island and vast ocean as thoughts over-spill with ideas. With immense satisfaction, both to the stomach and mind, they returned to duty. Mademoiselle Flare left undisturbed in the house to have her usual forty winks on the daybed in the corner. Such peaceful escapes were important to cope with evening work at the camp. She goes to sleep quickly in the quiet, peaceful house, where not even Leonora’s voice could be heard.

Shortly after falling into deep sleep, Mademoiselle Flare had a disturbing dream which startled her. A nightmarish dream, of being chased by chickens in the confines of the coop. The chickens were also having their midday rest and the disturbance made them frantic. Birds flew around the coop with bulging eyes of terror, trying to claw their way out. Mademoiselle Flare still not fully awake, cowered in fear. Opening her eyes from deep sleep, found herself curled in the foetal position with her hands protecting her head, Leonora’s voice soon brought her to actuality.

She said, “Mademoiselle I heard you stir, may I come in?

A visitor arrived unexpectedly”

“Who is it Leonora. I am not expecting anyone” She inquired about the visitor.

“It’s a gentleman, he’s waiting on the portico” replied Leonora.

“He said his name is Mister Massey”

The mention of the name Massey, made Mademoiselle sit bolt upright on the daybed and visibly shaken, but instantly she relayed a message to him, stating, she would see him in an hour. He was kept waiting for just under an hour.

Mademoiselle walked out onto the Veranda and saw Clinton Massey looking at his watch anxiously, as he paced around on the portico and patted Hettie. The little dog instantly hurried to her owner.

The lady took extra time to dress. Hair which looked and felt like the white cotton on her estate, restyled in two cornrows. Each long plait transferred to the opposite side, to form a complete circle, secured by hair slides. She asked Leonora to escort the gentleman to the Veranda.

The invasion left her feeling anxious and worried for reasons why the stranger would visit such a remote part of the island. Being the visionary that she was, pre-empted the visit during the conversation at the market.

Halfway across the courtyard Mr Massey said, “Bonjour Mademoiselle Flare, how are you? As you can see, I arrived uninvited because you gave me no choice but to follow up on our conversation”

He continued making his way onto the veranda, she, on the high veranda, assessing his profile and noted the obvious. Although aware of his height at the first meeting, looking at him in the clear light of day, he appeared slightly taller. She guessed, six feet-four and probably around seventy years old. His long hair looked a little uneven around the shoulders, and thinning at the top. His skin was almost bronze, perhaps from being out door in the hot sun for long periods, either work or leisure. Her eyes lingered on more personal details, assurance that her estimations on his age were off track, and difficult to guess. His broad smile gave away a little, nervous smile revealed a full mouth of pearly white teeth and some dentistry work. She counted four platinum gold caps.

With commanding arrogance, his eyes held her gaze in a one-sided conversation, she paid attention to the language of the silence between them. However, terror engulfed her for fleeting moments. Somehow, just as quickly she composed herself and spoke. She greeted him, “Hello Mister”, then motioned with her hand, offered him a seat on the chair opposite to hers.

Still wearing a demonic smile disguised by flattery, he started to speak, but she was hardly able to concentrate. Her eyes fixed on his mouth, looking at his teeth, lips moving, opening and closing, platinum teeth clattering each time his jaws moved.

Mademoiselle Flare seemed bewitched by the strange aura in which she was engulfed. Psychologically gripped by fear for the second time in a matter of hours.

Then, he uttered the words, “I must have,” Quickly jerking herself into focus, he stopped for a moment, probably to rephrase his words. Surprising how quickly she guessed his intention. With shrewdness, he tried to reaffirm his purpose and language of decision, he started again, but Mademoiselle was composed. By using powers of silence and stillness, she regained power in her home, and greeted him properly.

“Bonjour Monsieur, let me see” she said.

Clinton answered. “It’s Clinton Massey, Madame.”

“What a surprised visit Mr Clinton, how did you find me”? She asked.

“It was very easy, you are well known in these parts Mademoiselle Flare,”

She called Louise, and asked to bring refreshments for her guest.

In uneasy silence, Mr Massey accepted a chilled glass of soursop drink, then a glass of sweet lemon juice. Followed by glasses of cold water which he poured himself from the carafe on the table. She thought he probably missed lunch in his eagerness to visit. He helped himself with sherry flavoured cherry cake, baked and cooled an hour earlier by Louise in the clay oven in the yard.

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