I returned home to my parents for the Easter holidays to help
my dad because my mother was in Canada. My mother had fallen sick and my family decided she needed a break, so they sent her
on a year's vacation to Toronto where my oldest sister, brother-in-law, and their newborn son lived. I again enjoyed the few
short months alone with my dad, in the country. However, the baggage of the problematic relationship I managed to have got
myself into remained with me.
My mother returned home from Canada and told how my
sister wanted her to stay on and baby-sit my nephew but my mother wanted to come back home. She asked me if I was interested
in going and I jumped at the chance. I felt it was just the break I needed to get over this relationship. I figured it would
be the perfect opportunity to meet someone else. So I was back at my second brother's house to finish the last few months
of school and then that July 5th, 1981, I came to Toronto.
Several days before I left for Toronto, I bumped into Saul's mother
in the market and I told her I was going to Canada. I told her "Don't worry I'll come back for your son." I don't know what
prompted me to say that. I think I felt sorry for her because she looked so sad.
Canada to me was new and there
was a lot of adjusting to do. However, it was different from the experience I had when I went to live with my brother to go
to high school. The experience I had at my brother's was traumatic. At my sister's it was not because she talked to me. Still,
I could not trust her enough to communicate my heart to her although I told her I had a boyfriend in Guyana. I couldn't tell
her about the problems I had with him or that I had been intimate with him. How I wished I had someone with whom I could share
After a few months living with my sister my brother-in-law started to make small talk, I had nothing better
to do than to listen. He talked about everything, life in Canada, life in Guyana, life in general. I listened with interest
and asked a lot of questions. He also taught me the first three chords I learned to strum on the guitar. When I started strumming
better than he could (he knew how to pick), he stopped teaching me. He said, half to himself, "I don't believe it. I showed
her how to play and now she's getting better than me. I'm not going to show you anymore."
If my brother was restrictive,
these guys were more so. Here I was, in a new country, thinking I could meet new people. I had no opportunity to go
out and socialize and meet people. Once they had a house party and there was a kid my age. I attempted to get his attention
in a most inappropriate way and got into hot water with my sister and brother-in-law. That was the extent of my dating! :o)
But my brother-in-law had other ideas, unknown to me. He gradually started to bring out the porno magazines, movies, etc.
I was curious. I had never seen stuff like that, so I watched. Some time later he brought out his hashish and of course I
was curious and he was only happy to share. Where was my sister when all this was happening - at work. My brother-in-law
worked the evening shift, so he was at home in the mornings and early afternoons.
By now, Saul had written to me in
Guyana, and my loving brother, Richard (not his real name) had opened the letter and read it. I had left Guyana without
a word to Saul. Now Richard wrote my sister and told her how I had a boyfriend and I had them all fooled into thinking
I was an angel. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! This is the brother who for years cheated on his own wife and
played the saint in front of her and us. Someone should have told him that maybe it runs in the blood. My poor sister said
nothing to me (I had already told her about Saul), but she left the letter lying in the bathroom and I found it outside of
the envelope, not knowing what it was until I unfolded it and I read it.
I wrote to Saul and told him about my brother's
letter and what my brother said about him, that "judging by his hand writing and ideas, he is not her equal." Saul didn't
like that, he replied saying my brother was a comic to say he wasn't my equal.
Meanwhile my brother-in-law turned
up the heat. He openly made it known to me that he was interested in me in a sexual way. I did nothing to encourage him but
I did nothing to discourage him either. He had gained my trust and I didn't want to offend him and get sent back home to Guyana,
so I tried to sit it out. The devil would not leave well enough alone. It was Old Years night, and my sister had just taken
my nephew to bed and Mr. Brother-in-law started to cajole me saying I bet you haven't kissed more than one or two guys. They
are not experienced, they don't know how to kiss, etc. etc. I became irritated, I walked over to him and French kissed him.
I straightened up and started to walk away. He grabbed my hand and placed it on his chest, his heart was racing. I took my
hand away and walked away to bed.
Well, I regret to say that my brother-in-law tried to get me to have sex with him.
He tried everything but I wouldn't budge. He even said he would leave my sister for me. I didn't want that at all. I
didn't want him. One morning I was in their bed, my sister had left for work and my brother-in-law was outside in the living
room. My reason for being in their bed is simply because my bed was a pull out and if you've ever slept on a pull out you
know there is a bump in the middle of the bed where the folding bar is located and you'd wake up sore the next morning.
came into the room and threw himself on top of me. He cajoled me into giving him a hand job, the first and last time,
ever. I was disgusted by the whole experience, and I lost all respect for that man that day. I also felt badly for my sister.
She did not deserve this, she did not deserve him. I could not go to her with it either. It would have hurt her and I felt
she would have blamed me. In fact when my brother-in-law later told her everything, I ended up looking like the piranha.
I returned to Guyana after one year in Canada, with the
promise from my sister that they would sponsor my parents and those of us less than twenty-one years of age and
unmarried would also get to come.
The very first morning after I arrived at my second brother's house in Guyana, one
of the neighbours' daughter came over to buy a chicken. She took one look at me and started telling me about Saul and another
girl. I listened to her story in perfect silence.
About a week and a half later I met one of Saul's brothers, at
a rum shop. I had never spoken to him before but I bought him a beer and went over to say hi. He immediately started to tell
me about his own brother, and yet another woman with whom Saul had ran off.
The pain inside was intense. Whatever hope I had in my heart
died. I pretended as though what he said meant nothing to me. I bummed a cigarette, coolly lit it and started smoking. Saul's
brother looked at me in amazement and said that if his brother could see me now he wouldn't believe it. I couldn't have cared
less what Saul Rodriguez thought of me at that moment after all he was no better than I was!
I paid the Rodriguez family
(not their real name) a visit a few days later. I met Saul's mother, Myra. She told me Saul was in the interior, Mazaruni
River, mining for gold. I think she asked me if I wanted her to send a message for him to come out and I said no. I decided
to get even. Mistake numero tres. I met a blond haired, blue eyed, Portuguese/English guy named William. William and
I had nothing in common, except the desire to get laid, so we did.
That October 1982, Saul came out of the interior,
where he was mining for gold. He came with a friend to the store where I worked, and met me there. I left at lunch time and
he and his friend took me out for a bite then he took me to a motel and we had sex. That's all it was. I didn't ask him about
the women he had been with.
One night while he was visiting me at my brother's house, (I
had finally been able to bring him home to meet my brother), he asked me how many other men I had been with and I lifted one
finger and said one. After that I met other men but had casual sex with a couple. They were isolated incidents. I was with
each one of them only once and never went out with them again.
No matter what I did I could not get Saul Rodriguez
out of my system. He was in my blood. Even if I was with another man, he, Saul was the one on my heart. The gaping hole in
my heart couldn't be filled. For several months I didn't see Saul or hear from him. William's brother who worked at the store
with me, said to me one day that his brother wanted to get back together with me, and that he would like a photograph of me. I
refused to give him. I was through with William.
I kept on working at Guyana Stores Ltd. in the Tots to Teens section.
I was swiftly transferred to Ladies Wear and then to the Cosmetic Counter. I figured they had me work at the Cosmetic Counter
because they wanted a pretty face to promote their products, for I knew absolutely nothing about cosmetics. My make-up consisted
of lipstick and blush. Someone suggested I enter the Miss Guyana Pageant but I shrugged it off.
For one thing I wasn't
tall enough (I'm barely 5ft. tall), and those who were supposed to be my nurturers would have laughed me to scorn. I have
a cousin who had entered the Miss Guyana Pageant and my family badmouthed her efforts. I once tried my hand at modeling at
school and my brother, Richard, badmouthed my effort. He said I modeled, "like a piece of shit." If he was not so self-centered
he would have realized that the fact that he was up there on the stage looking at me was uncomfortable to say the least.
work one day I went to visit Saul at home. I walked out of the living room on to the verandah and stood there looking out
at the street in front of the house. After a while I turned to go back inside and my eyes locked with another pair of eyes
staring at me from the verandah of the house next door. I looked at her and she held her gaze - the look was almost defiant
- as though I had something that belonged to her. I walked back into the living room and asked Saul, "Why is that girl looking
at me like that?" He said, "I don't know." She is the one who would later become his second wife, when he divorced me to marry
her. She told him that she had been in love with him since she was ten or eleven.
One night Saul came over to visit
me. I had finally told my parents about him and he had come home to meet my brother as well. The initial meeting was more
like an interview. My brother asked Saul the questions and he answered, very politely, too politely. It was an act, neither
one cared for the other. Saul told me about a vision that he had while he was mining gold in the Mazaruni River. He said he
was in his hammock and he had this man appear to him and told him that he was his "Father Almighty". The man showed Saul all
the wrong things he had done, and then proceeded to take him up to heaven in his chariot and concluded by telling him
he was dead. Saul's first thought was about an outboard engine that he had to sell. He told the man about it and that he was
not ready to die. Then he awoke from the vision. I didn't know what to say, so I said nothing.
I thought there was
no God and even if there was one, He was unknowable. I was an atheist and agnostic. Now with this information, I didn't know
what to make of it. I believed Saul and I didn't think he would lie about something this important and this serious. He was
very serious when he told me and I did notice a change in him. I believed something must have happened. How much of it was
true and how much of it was marijuana-induced hallucination I couldn't tell. I decided to believe him until I had evidence
otherwise. After all, in the legal system a person was innocent until proven guilty. So this atheist/agnostic decided to give
him the benefit of the doubt.
Finally, our medical papers arrived from the Canadian Embassy in Trinidad. We had to
have our medical examinations and send them in and then wait for our visas. Once the papers came through, money for the four
tickets had to be raised. Where my oldest brother and parents got the money from I don't know. No one told me and I couldn't
ask because I didn't have open communication with my siblings. I had learned a long time ago to shut up, put up and keep my
ears to the ground. I quit my job at Guyana Stores Ltd., when our papers arrived. However, we had to wait a bit to raise the
finance to buy the tickets. I went to tell Saul, and as usual he wasn't at home. I met his mother and she asked me if we were
still seeing each other or if something had happened. I told her I hadn't seen him in months but we hadn't had a fight or
anything. I asked her why, she said she was, "Just wondering".
Later I found out from the culprit himself that he
had been openly seeing Mona, the woman my neighbour told me about the very first day after I arrived in Guyana. His mother
didn't approve for a few reasons. The girl was several years older than Saul was, plus Myra figured that with me, Saul had
the opportunity to come to Canada later on. Saul told me that whenever Mona came by to see him, his mother would tell him,
"Your grandmother came to see you".
A few days before we left for Canada, Saul came by to visit. That evening before
leaving he took out a diamond engagement ring and handed it to me with these words, "You owe it to my mother that you're getting
this." I cringed inside. I took the ring and tried it on, it was too big for my ring finger but I kept it anyway.
the time the day came for us to leave Guyana, I was a nervous wreck. I had no appetite and I became nauseous. My sister-in-law
and brother thought I was pregnant but I knew I wasn't. The morning we were leaving for the airport, we stopped in to see
a doctor who gave me something to help the vomiting. We arrived at Pearson International Airport that night in October, 1984,
and were ushered through by some somber looking immigration officials. They were polite, but not happy to see yet another
bunch of Pakies coming into their beloved country.