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Monday, September 25, 2023

Sweet subterfuge!

dat3aBy Ardain Isma

He’s tall, sharp and seems to tower over all his friends. He strolls in a slenderizing poster that, at first glance, would capture the magnetic love of all Creole belles crossing his path—Chabines or Marabous. He’s well-articulated and speaks with meticulous utterances. He’s Ronel nicknamed Grand Diseur, precisely for his eloquent ways at swaying his foes. Despite his Romanesque bearing and the crimson splendor that coifs his demeanor, one thing appears to have escaped his puckish wit: managing his relationship with his fiancée.

He’s madly in love with her—a Creole marabou molded in the hue of a milky coffee. But her feelings vis-à-vis this fine young man do not seem to be strong enough to reciprocate. Yet, they’ve already set the stage for their upcoming wedding of which they hope to grandiosely celebrate in just a few months. He wants to make their weeding the perfect one for the record book.

She’s Elizabeth, a girl from uptown Miami who finds her life entangled with a romancero for whom she feels almost nothing but a shallow sentiment, a skin-deep love affair. She is well aware of his purest of love offering. She knows he’s committed to tying the knot and to holding it until death and beyond, but no trench has been built in her heart for him. Consequently, she suffers in silence.

Her love has been trapped, mired in a screwed relationship of 3 years ago. A player named Bertin stole her heart but promised nothing in return. Eccentric in his actions, Elizabeth was forced to go underground, but the relationship survived now flourishing again, for whenever she’s folded into the arms of Ronel, it is Bertin she can only see, stroking his magic hands over the nape of her neck.

Convinced this secret love affair can’t be sustained much longer, she decides to break free—in a picayune fashion. It’s Friday night, and inside the YWCA on the north-edge of Miami, the party is set to drag on until sunrise. One by one, the ladies make their way inside. Some of them have been ushered by their cavaliers, slow dragging on the dance floor.

It is now eleven o’clock, Ronel and Elizabeth are nowhere to be found, but Ronel’s best friend Dinco is here, biting his nails compulsively. Dinco befriends both Ronel and Bertin, who is already inside, ordering a piña colada at the bar. Dinco, who knows this ugly story, senses trouble may be afoot. Eyeing on the main street, Dinco rushes toward the parking lot to meet Elizabeth who has just walked out of her car, sauntering toward the main door. She is advancing with grace, kittenish and feline. High heeled, her low neckline suits well to expose the regal motion of her ample bosom.

Suddenly, a pretty girl named Carline, who sits on a stool right outside the main door, calls to Dinco. He turns around and Carline grins, begging for a dance. Dinco quickly loses track of his self-appointing mission and caves in to Carline as they stroll tendrement (romantically) toward the dance floor.

The Master DJ rolls in the biggest zouk hit of the hour: Priscillia’s le ciel de mes rêves, il était mon ange (He was mon angel, paradise of my dream). Dinco glances across the room, and there they are, locked into each other’s arms. Bouche-en-bouche, tête-à-tête, Elizabeth and Bertin seem to have lost track of time. Carline’s draws drop. “Whatever happened to the wedding?” She mumbles.

At that moment, Ronel walks in. He is trying to take a good grasp at his surroundings. He’s looking for Liz. That’s how he calls his fiancée. In a quick reflect, Liz sees him coming. She immediately frees herself from Bertin’s embrace while Dinco and Carline move in to block Bertin from view, effectively creating a wall between Bertin and Elizabeth who, slick as a water moccasin, slowly strolls toward Ronel, faking it. Her hair pulled back in a bun, she raises her both arms in the air to shelter Ronel who’s reciprocating in kind and who thinks without a shred of a doubt this profound expression of lust and love was truly directed at him. Will this wedding take place?

Note: Water moccasin is a venomous snake commonly found in the Florida Everglades and around swamps and lakes between North Florida and Southeast Georgia.

Ardain Ismais a novelist and Chief-Editor of CSMS Magazine. His latest book Midnight at Noon can be found on Amazon and at other book retailers. Ardain Isma may be reached at publisher@csmsmagazine.org  

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