It was the spring of 1984. I was 34 yearly old, miserably sad and barely enduring the long days and sleepless nights of my life. Separated from my wife for two years, time had done little to heal the agonizing pain of the love that still burned in my chest for her.
I was in the small but comfortably plush New Kingston apartment of Teresa. I had met her a few months before in an uptown bar. That had been a lazy Sunday afternoon and she had invited me and my brother and a friend back to her apartment where her helper prepared steak, pork chops and rice and peas. And poured us more liquor.
And, for the records, Teresa who used to be a beauty in her teen years, had not weathered well. Then in her late 40’s, all parts of her body, north and south, had fused into a muddled mass gathered around her midsection. She smoked heavily and parts of her face had gravity fallen in an indelible scowl.
So there I was standing with Calvin in her apartment. Calvin was then in the business of supplying uptown apartments with fresh farm produce. He had been my friend since the 1970’s.
Teresa was drunk but she was skilled in the art of operating inside of her stupor. She had gone to the bedroom for the money for her purchase. “How she tek so long?” complained Calvin.
“I’ll go get her,” I said to him.
I strode through the sliding door to her bedroom. I glanced around. Through her open bathroom door I saw her inside, the top of her body heaving and she audibly sobbing. I walked inside, held her by the shoulders and said, “What is happening? You are not OK, what is it?”
Big mistake on my part. She suddenly spun around, pushing away my hands. Her hands were in a vice-like grip on the back of my neck. Then her lips came down hard on mine, searching, her tongue in my mouth probing. It felt like sand paper. I awkwardly pulled away, quickly headed out the bathroom door and then back in the living room close to where Calvin was standing.
“Anywhere yu si mi go, come wid mi,” I said to him. I explained matters briefly and he almost died with laughter.
Fodder for the pain
Teresa may not have understood what I wanted from her. She was simply something that was part of the fodder I needed to fill my time while my heart bled for the return of my wife and children. If she had other ideas they were strictly hers. I wanted no sex from her mostly because her face and body reminded me of the other side of midnight.
She had a boyfriend, Jess who was a big shot at one of the biggest distribution and manufacturing companies in Jamaica. Jess paid all of her bills and her rent. It seemed that he was the father of the one daughter that Teresa had.
Jess was no pretense alcoholic. He was married, lived with his family in uptown heaven but each evening he stopped by Teresa, got raging drunk, engaged in a cussing match and sometimes fisticuffs with an angrily sober Teresa, fell for her ploy, gave her money then left.
As soon as he left she would laugh raucously and say to me, “We have money now! Come wi go a road.” After that we would hit about two or three uptown spots then go back to her apartment. The normal sleeping arrangement when I overnighted was me on a couch in her studio living room while she and her teen daughter slept in the bedroom.
One Saturday night we returned from one of our usual jaunts. Most of what I enjoyed when we went out was the hope that I would meet good company that could engage me in even the briefest of sensible conversations even though it wouldn’t be too soon that Teresa would cut in with, “Is what type a rubbish onnu talking!” She was stunningly the incurious type.
My troubles were about to begin. Her daughter had a school friend staying over and normally they would all sleep on the wide berth that the two joined-up queen-sized beds made.
Teresa had a cigarette hanging from one side of her mouth. So far she hadn’t lapsed into another of those emotional tantrums which she used to trap me into getting physically close to her.
I had been simply a good, caring human being concerned about the demons always rising up to haunt her. Sex was out of the question and if my dick ever made the mistake of standing up for her, I would have no problem in disowning it.
Unlike many of my friends, sex for me was never mechanical. Something else had to be there giving it support. Beginning with even barely liking the person. Then getting inside of her head.
Teresa butted the cigarette then grabbed up a comforter and ordered her daughter and her friend out of the bedroom. ‘Onnu sleep in the living room!” she ordered them.
Shit, I thought. What the hell does she have on her mind. I was shirtless as I would be normally in her apartment just as long as no one was visiting. I sat on the edge of the bed watching the TV. Teresa rudely turned it off.
A minute later I was lying on the bed seriously considering whether I should leave before matters took a wrong turn. It was close to two in the morning and I had about two dollars in my pocket, not enough for taxi fare to Havendale.
Teresa entered her bathroom and closed the door. I didn’t hear the shower. In about five minutes she came out and stood by the bed in only bra and panties. It was worse than ‘the other side of midnight.’
Her pendulous breasts hanging in her huge bra were resting on two ample curls of flesh around her belly. The huge drawers she had on began somewhere under her armpits and ended in ugly, blue-veined lumps of flesh on parts of her upper legs. Her breasts and the rolls making up her belly, it seemed, were one and the same. It was an awful sight to behold. I tried real hard not to look in her direction.
Suddenly she lunged and landed flat on top of me. Then again it was her leathery tongue working away in my mouth and me trying hard not to open my mouth, not to bite off the fucking tongue and spit it out.
I wiggled away and sat up on the edge of the bed. “Honestly,” I said. “I just want to sleep!Not interested in that right now.”
She started at me strangely and in a gruff voice said ,“What happen! Something wrong wid yu!
“Nothing is wrong with me.” I said while trying to keep my voice down. Even the thought of her daughter and friend believing that Teresa and me could be fucking was enough to make me sick. Plus when it came to sex, the only person on my mind every minute of every day was my wife.
As I began to speak she opened an extended arm and said, “I will give you taxi fare to go home!”
I stood up and grabbed for my shirt. “It’s OK,” she said, having a change of heart as she told me how sorry she was.
A few minutes later I was lying on about six inches on one edge of the bed. She was about a foot away but slowly creeping up. Then her hands were on my crotch, unzipping me.
This time I pulled away and said,” It’s OK. I don’t want your rass taxi fare. I will walk go home!” The bluff worked. I had no plans to leave. She walked around to the far side of the bed and slipped under the comforter. The AC was on.
Again I occupied only the last few inches of the opposite end. Just in case she rolled over again and started feeling me up and assailing me with her leather tongue. In a few moments I could hear the regularity of the snores.
The next morning I was feted at breakfast with freshly squeezed orange juice, ham, eggs, baked potatoes, fried plantains and brewed Blue Mountain coffee. And a 10 am whisky.
Teresa never tried it with me again, even that day when she got blinding drunk and said to me, “If a ever suspect that yu have yu eyes on mi daughter a run a rass knife right through yu.”
I forced a laugh and realised that I didn’t belong there.