Cheri, your letter struck a chord in my veins last night. It has awakened and enlightened a feeling of nostalgia that I thought I had long overcome. I was wrong. Deep in my sub-consciousness, something unimaginative but dazzling, pure, nostalgic, graceful, splendid, breathtaking and magnificent dwelled on for years. For awhile, I thought my feeling would have been shunned, ignored or brushed aside if I were to tell my story to friends and strangers alike—a lopsided love story rusted in lost time. So, I suffered in silence.
But our conspicuous correspondence has rekindled the scowl, the frown, the glare and the ultimate bright light I clumsily searched for a long time. Yes, our childhood memories are golden—a heavenly prize to cherish until the end of time, and beyond. They make us love-bound, but also slave-bound—slaves of our own inherit love story crafted in a holy innocence and in a lustrous but profound conviction. I sat in my bedroom, at the edge of the foot of the bed to be precise, pondering what to do.
I could picture both of us in Saint Louis Du Nord, this picturesque town of northern Haiti, where lovers make love in broad daylight, unnerved, undeterred by their peculiar surroundings, where rivers flow upstream, where werewolves sweep the country roads at the height of the crepuscule, ushering an intense fear into the hearts of hardheaded children who dare to venture out at sunset.
I could still feel your giant hand, quirky but pliable and extremely tender, stroking my breasts, my neck while your tongue licking my cheeks behind the mango groves in the evening twilight. I could still feel my heart racing inside my chest as you unlocked my legs and I opened up to you. I could still see myself breathing in the smell of your sweat. I would hold you and squeeze you in a desperate attempt to intertwine my body with yours. Tender-struck, I never wanted to let go.
There, behind that giant mangfransik mango swamped by its gray fungi and its ripe mangoes and their fragrant scent that filled the air, we wanted to remain interlaced until dawn. But when the full moon pushed its way from behind the mountains to cast its florescent glow on the valley floor and our shadows served as our sole companion in a universe of silence, we knew then it was time to leave. In the evening darkness, it was deathly quiet. The only noise to be heard was that of the occasional sounds of roosters crowing in the distance and that of the rushing current streaming down the shallow ravine, just few feet away from us. The sky became starry, freckled with shooting stars that sent streaks of light across the sky, sending chill to our hearts in a serene atmosphere where we became dazed lovers, star-gazers and instant witnesses of nature in action in the tropical night.
Later, when it was truly time to branch out to our separate direction, we said goodbye more than a hundred times but still remained paralyzed under the weight of the intensity of our love. Locked in your arms, I couldn’t ask for more. Paradise was reduced to the dimension of our state of beings. This could go on forever. Only the faint cry of my mother echoing along the foothill in a distance, searching for me, succeeded in forcing us to do what we would otherwise prefer never to have done: kissing goodbye. So we strolled back toward the house resigned to an already factored-in sadness until we reached the edge of the hibiscus and the Saint Louis colorful crotons. There, I knew it would have to come to an end, for I could see the dim glow of the gas lamp beaming in the backyard, I could hear the murmur of my little brothers playing on the terrace, and I could hear the squeaking sounds of the Tap-Taps blaring from the dusty highway.
The idea of leaving then started creeping up to my mind, body and soul without making a flutter until it completely swooped down on me. In the end, I reluctantly let go, but not before you held me tight against your chest in an effort to subdue my tearless chagrin. All of a sudden, in a blur, you released me tendrement to my worried mother and disappeared behind the palisades. I stood there for few more seconds contemplating your silhouette fading in the darkness before I finally walked down the path leading to the back gate of my house.
It was the good old time, le bon vieux temps, as they say back home. I have to admit that I’m falling again. We have too much in common for me not to take a closer look at what you’re now offering: a pure and simple honesty. But you asked me a favor in your last letter that I will never be able to grant. You asked me to teach you how to live without you. I can’t, for I myself do not know how to ever sustain a normal life without you. I think I’m almost ready to make the final leap from purgatory to paradise with you. If you could be just a little bit patient.
Also see The roses of last spring (Part 3)