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You Are Here: Home » Poetry and Literature » The young woman that went astray (Part 1)

By Ardain Isma

CSMS Magazine Staff Writer

She has been walking all morning down this rocky trail, and she doesn’t seem tired. If she is, no signs of her tiredness could be detected, especially when the rising sun casts its yellow glow on her lively face. She is walking in gigantic steps, passing several villages, crossing dozens of brooks and ravines and climbing scores of low hills and two steep mountains.  Still, she appears resolute like a modern-day heroine totally committed to a self-appointed mission. Even her backpack filled with “who knows what?” does not seem to have the tiniest effect on what seems to be a tired-proofed individual, who will not stop until final destination is reached.

Despite the towering mountains that loom in the distance—bluish or purplish depending on the intensity of the rising sunray—not a tinge of lassitude, prostration or debility is shown on her reddish-brown face. People going on the opposite direction can only get a repressed smile or a subtle grin when they wave at her. She is not looking back. She is pushing forward. She wears a polo shirt and a pair of blue jeans, which accentuate her bulging buttocks. And at every step she makes in the silently tropical morning, her white tennis shoes crack over the grayish pebbles.  A mixture of morning dew and sweat soaks her golden, straight hair. Trails of sweats stream down her cheeks, despite the fact she wears a sweatband.

Her name is Celine Barlatier, a girl from uptown Saint Louis who has just returned home after spending five years in Scotland, living in a dormitory along with peers from across the globe. Celine is now 25. Tall and slender, she has wide, amaranthine eyes with long darkish lashes which help enhance her coquettishness. When she slows her march, she strolls in feline gestures; but at the first sign of an encounter, her eyes widen with a feverish intensity reminiscent to that of a frontline warrior on a make-or-break, final battle.

She has a reddish-brown cinnamon complexion, an almost perfectly oval face elevated by her pointy nose of which at first glance one would notice an unforeseen wittedness. Her mouth puckers when she speaks with meticulous utterances.  But the wrinkles on her lips quickly fade when she throws a timid smile. She does not look or sound flamboyant, although she is well aware of her sex-appealing posture, which she clumsily tries to conceal, cloak or disguise with her obviously kittenish and prudish fashions. She is the Creole chabine that every bachelor would crave. But in the shadow of her voluptuousness and the quest for the infinite prince charmant lie an everlasting love for her motherland of Haiti.

Celine studied anthropology at the University of Glasgow, Scotland; in there, along the narrow streets of the eastern suburbs of Glasgow, she had her first taste of what life truly is—a complex endeavor, far different from the cocoonish environment she was accustomed to back in Saint Louis. Her studies of humans and their culture—gross social injustices, class antagonisms, raw exploitations etc…—quickened her thirst  to learn as fast as he could about the history of her devastated land of Haiti. Hungry for social justice, she went on an intellectual pilgrimage, wolfing down every book that would enlighten her awareness about the sharp differences between the haves and the have-nots of Haiti. She read Jacques Roumain’s Masters of the Dew, Jacques Stephen Alexis’ Compère Général Soleil, Marie Vieux-Chauvet’s Dance on the Volcano and many other prominent novels that describe, using gut wrenching characters, the heartbreaking landscape of the Haitian reality.

Upon returning home, her first task was to know about a young servant named Louisinette, who used to bathe her in the morning, prepare her breakfast, spoon-feed her, wash her dirty clothes, stroke her hair when she was in a bad mood, rub her neck, massage her legs and back and pummel her buttocks before bedtime—even though she was six years older than Louisinette. When Celine went away to school, Louisinette was raped and conceived an unwanted child. She was only 16. As it is the custom, the girl was sent home to her peasant parents, who lived in the hollow of Font Philippe, deep behind the steepest mountains around the Saint Louis rural sections.

Louisinette was a slim girl with a coffee-colored complexion and strange, feline eyes like that of a panther. She was not pretty, and she walked with unconcerned gestures, but she was downright pure (a virgin) and definitely healthy with a peculiar clairvoyance, an intuitive sensitiveness accentuated by her sharp, survival skills. She was at once childish and mature, quick to conceal her infinite sadness, even in the midst of the most repressive moments of her existential realities. Like most girls of her age and of her deplorable circumstances, she was the soft target for sexual predators. Little did she know that someone had his eyes on her, until that terrible Saturday afternoon when she was cornered and raped by an assassin along the banks of Saint Louis River at the gray of dawn as she was returning home after spending hours down the riverbed, washing clothes for the Barlatiers.

She came home under an intense pain as blood was gushing out of what was just a few hours earlier a virtuous, pristine, stainless and an immaculately vaginal opening.  She managed to cloak her tragedy. For a while, she thought she was safe. Unbeknown to her was that the rapist, who invaded her privacy, also injected an unwanted child into her innocent body. She tried to hide it, and she really did, until she could no longer hide it.  (End of Part 1)

Note: Dr. Ardain Isma is essayist and novelist. He is the author of Alicia Maldonado: A Mother Lost. Go the Poetry and Literature section to read some his works. This story is part of creative writing. CSMS Magazine welcomes creative writers.

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