What is your earliest memories?:
Coming down to spend afternoon tea with mother, step-father and my older half-sister, eating sandwiches on a big round dark brown table, with a clean white cloth on it, with high back chairs to match, when I was just over four years old. And having my older half-sister glare daggers at me from across the table with every bite I took, and me grinning through it all, before going back to my father’s household, yes I was raised by my (white) father from birth to five years old; until I started primary school and then lived with mother, (and its also after five years old when my GP’s health record began: previously to this no baby data is mentioned).

Also, continously told that I was ‘ugly’ from an early age, of around six as just coming into my seventh year; by my mother mainly as she started saying it. My mother said to me, apparently that I was an ugly baby. And basically confirmed what she thought of me not only from her words but her actions as well all those years ago; as all the baby pictures that were taken, and that my mother ever owned and proudly showed to visitors, were all of my older-half-sister only, for she made sure that there was none taken of me to show anyone. After a while, this comment of mother’s was picked up upon by my older half-sister, and step-father’s brothers whom also started to call me ‘ugly’ when visiting (one would even physically punch me hard like man to man in a boxing ring on the arm; for no reason everytime I walked into the room and went near him to say hello, in full view of everyone, he got no rebuke – ever. I did ask him once why he did so, and not to my older-half-sister nor any half-cousins, all he did was grin and then threw another hard punch, I didn’t ask again. After having endured so many punches without crying, thus gaining his respect, he showed me how to hold my fist properly when in a bare-knuckle fight, and my step-Uncle could do this because he was an ex-professional boxer and as well as a saxophone player for true. For teaching me how to bare-fist fight step-Uncle said to me that “one day it will come in handy”, and that was his exact words, and years later as a young girl, learning from step-Uncle this bare fisted fighting technique was put into action, that is with one of his brothers, my step-father no less. The confrontation had been a long time coming, marked on a balcony landing from when I was six years old, and had been on the cards since then, that one day we would fight. And the fight started and was all about that of ‘feminine pride and the sanctity of womanhood’ therein required an honourable fight that needed to be settled once and for all. And it did.

[Aside comment: Devy Babe, I told, so can you get off my tail now, your making me tail-point crooked and it’ll take some fixing already…]

It took place at our residual flat at Clapham North, SW9, in the main bedroom I’d shared with my older-half-sister. The knuckle fisted fight occurred between my step-father and me, as we went head-to-head in terms as to where we landed the body blows, that is we wore no head helmets for protection. And I finally won his respect at sixteen years old as a girl, by not crying not even one tear, nor scared of seeing my own blood from my face that came with the blows or how my face would look afterwards, nor dropping to the floor; I stood my ground without losing my footing thoroughout our bare-fisted boxing exchange. During the day, summer in the afternoon, both my step-father and I were plain sober from the lack of any alcohol consumption, nor illegal or legal drug substances taken to boost adrenaline, for neither of us required Dutch-courage. Thoroughout the boxing bout there was not the sizing up of each either before the next punch came and went, and I let him even have the honour of the first blow and then I followed with mine.  In this I gave as good as I got.

What put a stop to it you may ask, was that step-father and I were both worn out by how many punches we had thrown at each other!! There was nothing more that needed to be said by actions. End of. He, step-father lowered his fist first, thereby conceding the bout to me, his step-daughter, without malice nor a grudge borne by him afterwards between each other, nor did we discuss the whys and therefores afterwards neither, this wasn’t therapy.  And I was sent to clean off my bloodied face — first — by him. And afterwards did I big-up myself to him or others. No. Did I brag about it to others. No. For the reason I mentioned it here, was because I learnt a valuable lesson from having fighting combat experience unintentionally gained; when you know what you’re capable of or not, then that’s when its time to stop, and you make sure that you’re the only one, that puts a brake on yourself, this is what gains that respect, and not leave it to others to step into it, because that’s most probably when it goes and has gone too far; from what you were trying to accomplish in making ‘a point on conduct’ as a last resort, and then becomes a ‘dishonourable brawl’ being the type that most people sometime or other experience if they don’t know the difference, for it ain’t the same thing, as a ‘fight of honour’ which does express itself in the value of courage and merited actions.

And thoroughout the bare-fisted boxing fight with my step-father, in the room, my older half-sister stood by near the door and watched without interfering because I told her not to, no matter what, that this was something between me and step-father. However to back-track alittle, before the actual bare-knuckle boxing fight began between step-father and me, I had told my older half-sister just to hold my eye-glasses for me like a good girl, she had no idea what was to come.) <sigh> everybody it seemed wanted to provoke some failing in me, and some still do. Although, when looking in the mirror as a teen, I never saw myself as ‘ugly’ but rather plain, as plain as can be (with or without eye glasses).  My father however, happened to call me: “my little beauty”, so I suppose that’s why mother and the rest behaved that way over the years of me growing up. Was there any good points in knowing my step-father you ask? Yes, three things. Step-father taught me how to hand-sew by darning a sock, and how to change a wall plug with the correct wiring pattern and replace the fuse within it, and cook baked-bean (or mixed with scrambled eggs) on toast, as he said you could live on this meal for sometime, as step-father said they were handy things to know when living on one’s own, and that was taught well before I actually left home, however, he never taught his own daughter, my older-half-sister these basic things, only me.

Second, was having an image of a green-faced witch, with a hook nose and red mouth appear during my sleep over the course of three/four nights, as if someone was trying to envoke fear in me, which didn’t happen, made of strong stuff me, even when six years old, didn’t wet me-self, because I’ve never associated a good or bad correlation to the image before me and never did nor do, I just take note of the features and expressions, so trying to instill fear through life and images has been a complete waste of their time.

And the only re-occuring theme from childhood memory (no one hears you scream there so pointless to even try, although I know you’re going to, I call it the wide-awake-coma) is falling down into a barren wishing well that was endless, and currently it has been, when I sleep is falling into the great open abyss – nice – no landing, I just keep going down and further down without stopping every time I close my eyes, all I feel is my own raw intense emotions from my mind, nothing else, as I’m not attached to anything or anyone (only currently embodied). This was also about the conquering of fear, that is the shadows of  ‘inward darkness’ that occured in ones own mind.

Thus I’ve just learnt to accept this as part of my life as its meant to be and that it always will be; because the falling dreams always marked and mark a transitional phase in my life, when things are about to change, some people fear this and are insecure about it, but I’ve never been.  And I’ll stick my neck out here, and say, the more creative the person generally, the more likely they’re to have this kind of falling dream happen to them.

Weblink Article: Dream Yourself Happy

As when I fall in a dream I know that I’ve out-grown my current situation and its time to move on in my activities, so that I’m more prepared than I would’ve been without this warning sign, that a transition will be enforced whether I like it or not — we won’t mention here the Prince of Darkness’ most ungainly fall (ahem) when it happened to him in his dream — Grace was in his wet dream as a teen — cross purposes — needless to say he only managed to do it the once (ahem) which goes on record in the Bible as Satan’s “fall from Grace” (ahem, yeah sure, the loss of his virginity as foretold they meant).

But I entered into these things that naturally occur most gracefully in my fall, time and again, being a female and all, that is, the free-falling style; I’m in control of my positions during the changing process, experience counts for some thing [aside comment: “meanwhile he, in full holy title ‘the Prince of Darkness’, has still alot to learn mind you…”] [aside comment 2: “did I say anything?!”]

And thirdly, at five being dumped by my mother (she didn’t say a word or what it was about, nor good-bye that day) in the classroom all on my own; with not even a teacher or another child(ren) present, on that first day of primary school for literally hours, and the only comfort that was made by an older dark chocolate girl coming briefly to say it would be alright, she was very nice to me; giving me a book to read (I did close reading; nose on page, and it was discovered then that my eyesight was poor, little did I know I was being observed), but I still didn’t speak at all, just sat there reading quitely, didn’t move from the chair to look around or anything, until someone came and got me to return home: that someone being my ‘nanny White’ (who was Caucasian as well by the way) of working class roots and she was a large stout, blonde curly haired older woman in her fifties (who had two sons being big lads: no daughters), she also wore a small print red/pink floral patterned pinafore and smelled of cooking, never baking, nor a sweetly scented perfume, however, she did introduce me to the cuisine of eating beef as part of a meal, it was my very first taste of meat. Nanny White was a no-nonsense woman, there was no messing with her whilst in her care I can tell yous, you had to mind your p’s and q’s in showing good overall manners. Although I will acknowledge being informed by my mother, that my first nanny from babyhood until four years old was an Indian (Caumonegoid) woman by the way, which although I can’t remember her clearly, I asked my mother about her many years later at aged round twelve, and she had said, that the only reason we’d been stopped being looked after by her, was because the Indian nanny was favouring me over my half-sister.

And this wasn’t the first time favouritism was to be an issue with mother, as she herself played one sibling off against the other, until finally it stopped at the age of me reaching ten, because out of the blue, mother had said she favoured me over my older half-sister, and I rightly told her off, which is something I didn’t think she expected, she thought I would lap it up and make something of it, but I frankly said she should treat us both with the same motherly feelings. And this repuke and re-telling didn’t go down well with either my mother nor my older half-sister. As naively and compassionately, I thought by telling my older half-sister what mother had said to me, that we might’ve become closer in a united front, but no, my older half-sister took to sibling warfare for the rest of her life, and mother chose to whom she’d give all of her affection to, my older half-sister, and for the rest of her life too. I had been outcast.

For this ‘malign favouritism’ exhibited by mother’s behaviour pattern, wasn’t what I was expecting as the years progressed. However, I also learnt over the years later on that there were different types of favouritism that wasn’t all bad, and that yes, socially from strangers or those that have a vested interest will perhaps say whether they like you or don’t, and that’s their prerogative, and anything that results from it has to be either dealt with or put aside with good grace. But what I didn’t expect at the time was that favouritism was to be an issue from one’s parents. Although I do acknowledge that favouritism would’ve always been there in some form or another naturally from my step-father to his bloodline only daughter (for my older-half-sister was allowed to get away with much more than I ever could eg. being heard swearing in the house, and taking his cigarettes to smoke in the outside toilets when at Secondary school aged twelve, stealing sweeties and chocolate from the corner shop for she told me thats what she had been doing, aged eleven, and never caught doing it, and my older-half-sister would hoard under the bed and in the wardrobe the confectionery she stole to eat secretly; I found the empty wrappers, as well as my older-half-sister operated the policy of ‘no-shares’ so no she never offered me any, all done out of greed, and my older-half-sister would steal money out of her father’s wallet, that her father knew about and never discouraged, not even with a beating, to name but a few things she was able to do freely.

And before its asked, having read the Bible John 8:7 of “who is without sin cast the first stone”, (another two examples: the architectural cast stone process, and the verse: “Where the rippling waters go, Cast a stone and truth you’ll know” taken from the Wicca Rede), meaning it should be left to the Goddess Hestia to sit in judgement upon the actions of wrong-doing. However, as the stone itself I will make it out in equal measure. Still wrong but there is an essential difference in the casting and the sin here to be said on this. Therefore, yes, I did my share of small tea-leafing when younger aged nine, but for entirely different and more virtuous reason; I stole one or two writing exercise books to practice learning English at home in writing stories. That it just goes to show how very desperate I was to learn that of the English language on my own doesn’t it, whilst at Primary school.

And our Form Teacher caught me and a couple of other girls taking one or two writing exercise writing books each, but we were never disciplined officially, although we got a right ticking off by her and made sure we weren’t trying to profit from our wrong-doing, which we girls assured her that it wasn’t the case, and it went no further, and the very reason for this was simply because our primary school Form Teacher knew with our backgrounds, that our parents would never have brought us any exercise books of their own accord for us girls to learn to practice writing well, as the parents considered it a waste of money. So our Form Teacher let us go, and none of us girls never did it again, but we asked the next time and we got them freely, my lesson learnt for the rest of my life, and I’ve never stolen anything else in my life. If I don’t have I go without. End of.) But what had sealed this ‘malign favouritism’ behaviour of my mother’s and my older half-sister, and the incident that had irked our mother greatly when she heard the re-telling of it, in whatever form it took on, via second-hand sources, had begun much earlier than when I was aged ten.

For at the age of six, out of the blue, my step-father informed us, that we had, both my older half-sister and I, had been officially and cordially invited by them (we weren’t informed then of the gender who was to entertain us) to spend Afternoon Tea with our next door neighbour, at Macaulay Square, SW4, our Clapham Common apartment (known as a ‘flat‘ to the English), to whom we’d never meet, let alone never saw. Therefore, I found this all terribly exciting, it was a mystery about to be revealed, and because above all I liked meeting people anew (still do). It was to take place the following week.

Anyway, the day came, it was a weekday, a Tuesday afternoon I think, but definitely during a school holiday, I can recall it being the April Easter break, and this was because it was my first time of having one from primary school and staying at my mother’s home, my Xmas time was spent elsewhere, so on this occasion I was left wondering what I was supposed to do for activities once we left Nanny White’s care. But on this particular day it was left to step-father to bring us around to this old Lady’s home, as I believed mother was at work, and step-father only worked part-time up until twelve-thirty during the day. We were sternly warned as two children to be on our best behaviour.

On the neighbour’s front doorstep my older half-sister, freaked out and refused to enter into the neighbour’s home, my step-father scolded at her hard with his eyes, his face set thunderous, this I gathered quickly from his stance on the matter, that this was a very important occasion to him, but my older half-sister wasn’t giving in at all, she scolded back at him just the same, that is, being her father made no difference to her decision, she took no comfort from the knowledge that her own blood-line father would be there for her in the room, and mine wasn’t, that is, I was to face this on my own, and just had blind trust in the situation, as I didn’t have any choice. For I had also realised very quickly that I wouldn’t have been carried into the flat, as thats what I had automatically assumed would occur, but rather than an action of being spoilt, I assumed it would happen that way because of being the younger and smaller one, and its what I had been used to up until then, but on this balcony landing I was about to be made to walk every step of the way into an unknown apartment, and that was my biggest panic at the time.  However, the issue was very much different at the time, with my seven year old, elder half-sister’s reluctance. We’d reached an impass, and no-one budged for a while from the balcony landing, and why was that?

For what my step-father had lacked, and had always lacked, was empathy. It was to me, even at that age, realising that it was, an understandable fear for any young child facing this circumstance to have an emotionally adverse sense of panic, for that reaction of my older half-sister’s would normally be expected. And this was because the hallway passage (see floorplan opposite) of the neighbour’s home was in pitch black darkness, I mean you couldn’t even see your hand before your face, no joke, it was that dark. It was like when you looked down into the hallway, that one was about to be locked into this flat with no escape, and anything might have happened in the dark!!! It would have been like being shut in a closet as part of movie studio set as in the genres of either a vampire/horror/thriller where the untoward occurs within the plot. And this was how the old Caucasian lady lived. I looked at my older-half-sister and said it’ll be okay and to follow behind me and to hold on tight to my cardigan; it was very much said by me, the younger one of us two girls, very much like to the way a Military General would say to his army troops: “Men. We’re going in.” very similiar in intonation as to order a command of calmness before a tricky war battle scenario was to begin, that was to gather courage, that is, as this was about conquering the fear of ‘outward darkness’ that was only apparent visually in the adult world, because very young children were usually sent to bed well before nightfall, so therein had no outward concept of what real darkness looked like, so this it was to be my older-half-sister’s and my initiation into that shadowy world the hard way, without any preparation, and as I thought, and so did my step-father, that my older half-sister was about to become hysterical.

However, my step-father over-ruled the positional arrangement I’d suggested of entering the apartment, that was, step-father decided that he’d go first with my older half-sister holding onto him in the middle, and this decision of his was made perhaps after he’d seen and gathered from her frightened reaction, that she was the weaker one, and wanted to disguise this fact by having my older half-sister out of us two children be seen first entering the room by the neighbour. Thus this was step-father’s way of trying to show and send a sign of his bloodline daughter’s outward bravery and his sense of pride in her. Whilst I was to follow up to the rear, the last in line, holding onto her instead, even though I was the smallest as well as the youngest of them both, and one would have thought more vulnerable in the circumstances in the passage hallway area of the flat being absolutely pitch black. And therefore, supposedly he wanted the impression given of me entering the room last after everyone else; where the tea would be served, that the neighbour was to assume that I was the most cowardly and timid one out of us children, and to disassociate me as part of his family unit. And was to be step-father’s stereo-typical plan, which was followed and carried out by us. As I looked my step-father in eyes. As a six year old my final words on the matter to my step-father was “one day we will fight” that was spoken on the balcony landing. I was making a statement. Step-father gave no reply but his eyes mocked which was to be his undoing. And I swallowed down hard the strong inherited trait in my sense of pride, for all that time inside the room at the Afternoon Tea party, and I’ll have you note by the way, that doing so wasn’t an easy feat for a six year old who would’ve naturally shown rebellion there and then!

That is, for rather than seeing that it would’ve been better to take a protective stance, as was my logical reasoning in my own mind, on his part of having me, the youngest, go into the room first after him, as to display that of a parental caring nature, and as in showing too, that of an older sibling’s duty to a younger one’s well-being in giving them that sense that there was nothing to fear and it was safe to go-head into the room first after step-father, as a better mark of my older half-sister’s false bravery. As my own reckoning was that step-father’s way was too ‘in your face’ as it conveyed the effrontary of a male first-born warrior and it was not the behaviour for a seven year old girl to pull of. Whilst my tactic in suggesting the order I did, would’ve still conveyed the same result of bravery but more apt for a first born female in a more subtler form, as a ‘gentle admission’ in civility which I thought any seven year old girl could manage, that is, as to have appeared older and wiser than their years, in mimicking their own mother of letting her young children enter a room first; as she would follow behind to keep an eye on them from in front of her. However, in the order of the way he had us two girls walk into the livingroom, it suggested I was the mother-figure in being the very last into the room!! Also the fact that regardless of the eccentricity of it being in pitch black darkness, it was still a ‘Young Ladies Afternoon Tea Party’, and that certainly didn’t require first born male bravery to be displayed in the form of an older-born female; what teaspoons and sugar cubes at dusk perhaps? In a way, he was challenging the old lady’s position. And for me, that was the very crux of the matter. I felt very indignant about step-father’s positional arrangement because to me, my rightful position was being usurped by my older half-sister. But step-father didn’t view it way.

I had tried to convince him that I really should have been in the middle but he wouldn’t have it, but I thought at the time it was because he didn’t like the fact that the solution presented for his predictament that he found himself in with his bloodline daughter was coming from a six year old, and resented the fact that I was challenging him on strategy rather than the general idea, and later on I thought it had been also the fact it was coming out of the mouth of one who wasn’t even his child but some other man’s that he was now burdened with looking after her welfare too.

For I had already started to guess upon a number of results from his decision, yes I did; as they were coming in fast into my mind, as these were my first virgin thoughts from the skill of ‘deductive reasoning’ that I had, so I was likely to remember them well, as we entered the hallway. Being firstly, that if my older half-sister decided to react in blind panic and bolted, she’d have to knocked me out of the way first, as I would’ve been blocking her path, and I would’ve been sent flying against an unseen wall; rendering me unconscious, thus suffering from a loss of memory as to why it happened, so that I’d be easily blamed for bad behaviour that he would have invented, and his bloodline daughter excused, because he’d tell it so, and being an adult he’d be believed. His second reckoning could’ve been that, if anything untoward happened of being snatched, I’d be the first to go, it would’ve been no loss to him, thus giving him time to save his bloodline daughter as acting as a protective shield to her, and not me, the youngest and smallest of them both. Or he was hoping I’d lose my grip mentally and physically whilst holding onto my older half-sister’s cardigan and run screaming from the flat, as to outwardly exhibit that same sense of fear that my older half-sister had done on the balcony landing. Or my step-father was hoping that as we walked down the passage hallway that I’d let go of my older half-sister’s cardigan and get completely and utterly disorientated, thus getting lost in the flat and start to cry, being as it was unfamiliar to me and in pitch black. And all these possible hypotheses entered my mind, which had been triggered by step-father’s refusal to take my suggestion of the positional arrangement on board, and its the reason that I didn’t do all of the things I think he was wishing for, and this was because I was too busy mentally at the time analysing all these possible scenarios, which might have occured as an outcome from his decision of making that amended positional strategy of alignment. For by the time I’d finished with my brief analysis down the hallway, as my mind was turning over quickly as an act for my self-preservation, and before I could follow this with the actions I could possibly take to avoid harm, I had to stop thinking as we’d reached our destination into the next door neighbour’s apartment of the Livingroom.

Furthermore what my older half-sister didn’t cotton onto as we walked forward into the hallway passage, as no doubt she was too wrapped up in her own fear, was that her father had no torch light in hand to guide him, and to which I found odd myself, neither did I discuss this curiosity with my older half-sister afterwards, she may not have trusted in him, but she was loyal to him, and I might’ve ended up with a beating, so I kept my mouth shut. But the fact had remained that my older half-sister’s bloodline father had no trouble whatsoever seeing in that very darken state of the next door neighbour’s apartment, as we all entered further down into the pitch black hallway. Whereupon every step he took was very assured and very exact, that is he didn’t miss a step in his gait. For as this unusual confidence had occurred, he lead us directly where we needed to be without fumbling around lost, all done without a nervous word of a curse being uttered, and neither did he find it within himself to offer, as a parent and step-parent, not one single comforting sentence to reassure us two children either, who were facing something completely out of the ordinary for an Afternoon Tea party.

Once in the Livingroom (Lounge), the door to which was already left wide open for us or anyone of her visitors to enter freely, it seemed to be as a permanent fixture. Did it brighten up to let daylight in? Hell no. It was also dark there too, all the windows were blackened out, it was so spooky, and save for a tall standing lamp, the shade being light green in colour with very small pink flowers on it, its design in-keeping with the Arts and Crafts Movement, on the right-hand side in the corner of the room, as soon as you entered the room, that was the only object to throw off very dim-lighting. As its also to where in this corner before it, the little old lady, slim and fragile looking in body shape, with her grey hair set in a high bun, sat in a Queen Anne chair, very regal-like, that is she appeared very composed, dressed in a beige twin-set sweater, with a pearl necklace and wearing a dark brown skirt, all very elegant attire, who had a delicate oval face that was pleasant in expression, her eyes an alert steel blue, and she was an English Rose beauty, that is a skin complexion of a porcelain transparent look to the face with a natural hint of blush to the cheeks, regardless of the skin colour undertones, that belied her actual age, you couldn’t tell, her wrinkled face still looked beautiful, overall she had a majestic aura about her that was captivating. As a six year old impressionable young girl, I was absolutely entralled by her, that I kept stealing looks in her direction, whilst trying very hard to be discreet but not succeeding very well; the art of discretion was to be practiced overtime I found.

And laid out on a small round table was the Afternoon Tea; lots of scone cakes, and sandwiches, I was already trying to decided what I’d have to eat from the tower platters, and with all the bone-china was placed where it was supposed to be on the table, it was superb. She asked in the Queen’s English, as a softly spoken lady, for one of us children to pour out the tea and to serve, and recommended the scones to eat. As we children had sat opposite across from the table I was to the right near the doorway entrance, and nearest to the old Lady, sat my older half-sister on the left, she however at this request to do the honours, just sat still and never made a move towards doing anything, the look on her face was the picture of total indifference. I thought it’d be more of my older half-sister’s duty to play host, being the older one, rather than mine, so I waited awhile, but my older half-sister just continued to sit there impassively. However it was left to me, the younger one, as not to come over all rude-like in this lady’s presence, it would’ve been a bad impression made for our family, even I knew that at six years old. And step-father stood behind us two children, he didn’t sit down, nor partook of any tea or cake nor eat a sandwich, neither did the old lady motion him to; he remained standing, not saying a word either for all that time that we were there, it was like he knew his place, that is, above all he showed this high-born Lady deference, which I’d never seen him do ever again, not even to his own wife and our mother, it was so out of his character.

Did my hands shake? You betcha, as I poured out the cups of tea, adding milk and sugar to taste, and this was real delicate bone-china we’re talking about here!! It was making those hand movements for such a simple task, that was the beginning of my nervous hand twitches for all of my life, and for which I would be teased about, they’d normally occur when facing what my body considered extreme conditions.  I was terrified of any spillage on the floral pattern table cloth too, as well as breaking anything, as I said I’ve always been clumsy and had to concentrate real hard as to keep my hands from showing too much nervousness; as the cups rattled loudly against the sauce plates in a dead silent room. My older half-sister had a sandwich that was a wise and safe choice, whilst I risked the scone: filled with strawberry jam and double cream, that could drop a dollop onto the carpet at any moment and endangered the Lady’s wrath if I happened so, it was a very chance-y choice on my part but I couldn’t resist such a temptation, it was pure child-like greed that overcame me; I was sooo weak-willed. And the scone was lovely by the by, my first to be of many over the proceeding years at other events that occured in my life. And thoroughout all this, the old lady observed me sharply with those steel blue eyes of hers but with an encouraging smile, as the distingished old lady gave instructions on how to pour out the tea, as I’d never done it before at that tender age of six, I was becoming a nervous wreak, but settled down once I’d finished the task and clocked eyes on that luxurious wallpaper; it had fascinated me, as most people in the interior of their homes had the colour of magnolia or some-such-like.

And at no time at all, during all this, as one might have automatically expected, did the main lounge room overhead ceiling light come into life. It remained pitch black. Moreover, once everyone had been served we sat in absolute silence, no small talk, as we’d already been taught don’t speak until you’re spoken to as children. So I just sat there admiring the wallpaper and how the shadows and lighting made the wallpaper look incandescent, and I voiced the thought in my mind that it was “lovely wallpaper”, I was to learn that it was an original William Morris wallpaper design years later; its background colour was black and the over print had small pink flowers, as you could just make it out against the lighting of the lamp that had lightup that part of the livingroom, as I was still getting used to wearing NHS eye-glasses on picking up small details. And besides this, you may ask what else was going on in my mind as the time passed by: an image of a dragon beast appeared, very hostile, and as a six year old, I was trying to get him to behave but he wouldn’t, huffing and puffing he was, as we’d already been told by step-father that we were supposed to be on our best behaviour, and I didn’t want to get into trouble, so in my mind I told the dragon to be still too and that I’d play with’d him later.

All of a sudden the old lady spoke again, and I nearly dropped my tea cup that I had filled up and was still managing to spill the contents into the saucer below, remember I was only six years old holding a very priceless piece of crockery already with unsteady hands, as I’d retrained myself as not to show my pinky finger out, as I got teased endlessly for doing so, thereat all this was abit precarious for me still. The old lady said “I like her” and pointed her small delicate finger towards me, in a gesture that denoted of being from the upper-class in society, as the remark was directed to step-father, who didn’t say anything like he knew he wasn’t supposed to, nor anyone else for that matter, the Lady was making a statement which didn’t require a reply, so we all continued to drink our tea quitely.

And when it was time to go, my older half-sister and I both said thank you politely to her and left, we were to make our own way out, me leading this time. And was it any easier to see still in this darkness? Nope, and this was because I’d no torch light to hand, there was a corner to navigate first and I’d no sense of direction, nor gathered any sense to the length of hallway being a young ‘un and all, before I turned my head to see the daylight coming in from the front doorway. But what I found odd was that the front door had been left open all that time, which I found surprising, that is, as anyone could’ve just walked in and out and we wouldn’t have known. I started to worry for the old lady’s safety all alone in that flat as a concern, and for about a few days afterwards it still played on my mind, this front door being left open like that. And it looked when you peered down the long hallway, like a subway tunnel underground, (see picture on the left) used as metaphor, it was definitely like “the light at the end of the tunnel” as often phrased as finding a solution after a predicament.

And one had to blink a couple of times to readjust to daylight once more when reaching outside. And the only comment my older half-sister said to her father, once again on the neighbour’s doorstep, vehemently and loudly was that she “was never. ever. stepping foot. inside that flat again!” She stressed on certain words, hence my putting full-stops there to convey this. My older-half sister was still very much freaked out, and started to cause another scene all of her own, once again on the balcony landing outside the old lady’s front doorway, this time I think it was to receive sympathy from my step-father but he said not one single word to her, not one. On this matter, I felt my older half-sister at the time was being very ill-mannered and very much being indiscreet, because my older half-sister must’ve realised that as the neighbour’s front door was still wide open, and so too no doubt the lady’s livingroom door inside the flat. Thus there was every likelihood and every probability, that the old lady heard every word of my older half-sister’s ungrateful comment, for the old lady had invited us two children into her home, no matter how eccentric the manner of which it took place, it was still a cordial display of civility. I kept quite on the balcony. I said not one word. I just stood there, I was very still. For I was far too stunned into embarrassment by my older half-sister’s very outlandish behaviour, that is, as she let reap her anger, there and then, and for an entirely different reason than the one she first displayed going into the flat, this time outside on the balcony landing there was no fear, but full fledged anger towards the little old lady; as my older half-sister gave it full vent in her words. However, this time there was no coming back from the behaviour my older half-sister now choose to exhibit, and as to what the little old lady thought of my older half-sister, even as a seven year old girl, who knows. However it was evident to all and sundry, that we were after all, back safely outside unhurt, intact, and unharmed physically in broad daylight. In doing what my older half-sister had done was a ‘reputational assassination’ against a little old lady, which had been un-called for, and I felt was unnecessary against her character and hospitality that she had shown to us two young girls.

And I was also upset because I would’ve liked to have re-visited the old lady, but knew inside myself that it was unlikely to have ever happen again. Therefore, I didn’t talk to my older half-sister for awhile, sulking not, I just felt disappointed and let down as a younger half-sibling because it was then that I realised how my older half-sister was spoilt, snobbish and pretentious as part of her character traits, so she was no-one that I could ever look up to never as familial from my mother’s side. And that was the only audience we had been given with this old lady, and I never meet her again, nor did she ever leave the house to make anything of the introduction, and no, I never got to know her name, that would remain a mystery to me, and as what her real significance was to my own life I’ll never know, as to this very day its a hidden testament.

I was to pay for this unexpected compliment for the rest of my life unbeknown to me, as to what step-father or my older half-sister had recounted to mother or anyone else, who knows?! As my mother never talked about it to me, except for me having to make her endless copious amounts of tea for many years thereafter; when I asked why, she said “you make the best cup of tea”, I didn’t know whether she was being sarcastic or not, but it sounded very much like it was but that all stopped when I left home.

And furthermore, my mother didn’t come to Afternoon Tea when I invited her, around the summer of 1992, when I’d settled into my new home. On the day in question that I had invited her over to my home for Afternoon Tea, as I was cleaning the upstairs livingroom window ledge for dust, I saw her, I watched in a mixture of amazement and hurt, for mother went straight passed my gate, and into my older half-sister’s home next door, nor did she visit me briefly when leaving my older half-sister’s home either.

Did that hurt me, yes, deeply. My mother had never stepped a foot in my new home, moreless the garden, at Myatts Field North Estate, ever, nor would I’ve wanted her now, not that she’d of cared anyway what I would be feeling. As mother would have made sure my older half-sister informed me later on that she’d been there in her home, that is, even if I didn’t happen to be at the window on that occasion. As mother was to revisit my older half-sister over many other occasions, by passing my household gate always, and rightly she should too; afterall she only acknowledged one daughter throughout her lifetime; my older half sister.

And it was this action of mother’s of intended insensitivity to cause hurt, that made the decision for me to finally cut off from them all, which was cemented after the last telephone conversation. For this incident wasn’t the first time mother would blank and/or snub me as a complete stranger in public or privately in front of everyone over the years, there were many a time, all etched in my memory and because they’re too raw emotionally to mention, I won’t.

Moreover, because of course there wasn’t anyone to vouch for my impeccable manners, with the Old Lady’s Afternoon Tea party all those years ago, but I carried myself well because thats all I knew how to do at the time, as my mother said to me on many occasions thereafter “some children are just born old” as thats how she regarded me, her youngest daughter, as being — old, as well as ugly.  And my step-father wouldn’t have wanted a bad word said against his bloodline daughter, would he now, and not from anyone, so any remedial correction of her behaviour and social graces was an opportunity missed by him, from which my older half-sister could have learnt from, that is, in knowing when to be more gracious, humble and confident in the presence of ones betters when the situation called for it, and not so quick to show her disdain upon meeting strangers and those she considered unworthy of her interest.

Therein, to summarise the account given, as it can be also safely assumed that it was twisted as not to be in my best interest, and I’ll add in italics my answer to those criticisms of my behaviour directly underneath that:

1) Mother, as well as everyone else, automatically thought and jumped to the conclusion, that it had all taken place in natural daylight; not in pitch black darkness in the interior home of the next door neighbour; a detail upon which step-father omitted to mention, oh so very conveniently, as to inform anyone of note as to this fact. And to an outside observer there was nothing out of the ordinary to be expected in going to a mere Afternoon Tea Party was there, so why the argument on the balcony? And because my older half-sister and my voice are vaguely similar, it was suspected that it was me causing the fuss by throwing a temper tantrum; there was bigoted biases shown against me on two factors: I was the youngest, and part French who spoke well in English even at six years old. And I wasn’t the one throwing the temper tantrum, that was my older half-sister, whilst my heated argument with step-father on the balcony that day, was done out of logic and reasoning by questioning his overall strategy; in dealing with my older half-sister who was causing him a problem of getting her into the next door neighbour’s home in a more dignified manner. 

2) It was exaggerated how I’d eaten all the food on the table; I ate one delicious scone only and no more, it was very filling, whilst I think my older half-sister was left still hungry after one small sandwich and she had a long wait to go until Dinner Time.

3) Allegedly, I dominated and wouldn’t allow my older half-sister to serve and play host, apparently I’d taken over; my older half-sister froze, literally, because she considered it as a menial task, and her bloodline father couldn’t step into rescue her, so it reflected badly on him as a Father, that is, to him I’d shown them both up, thus I was blamed for her lack of social graces. And I was never to go again with them to another Tea Party ever. Should I’ve just let the situation deteriorate around the table? Perhaps I still would’ve been blamed if I had let my older half-sister get on with it, any old excuse given to get me in trouble I suppose. Who knows. Problem is back in those days I cared too much, and it was my biggest weakness I admit, until that is, I learnt years later to suppress that particular virtue of ‘nurture’. For I became rather good at sitting on certain characteristical traits, rather than emotions, within myself or summing them up at will, whether they be a virtue or vice when a difficult situation, like this tea party, would present itself, but not in the everyday routine of life, afterall somethings must remain normal if not a little eccentric. 

4) That supposedly I behaved spoilt, rude and lazy whilst in the room; my manners were in check as my Father had taught me that, Afternoon Tea is the height of civility, so one must act accordingly. Nor, not even once did I brag to anyone regarding the compliment, nor at the time of it being given by the old lady did I show any emotion of smugness, as that’s not in my nature, I let it go with good grace, as I wasn’t used to receiving compliments at six years old, and it was my first hearing the words of favouritism uttered, for it was of her choosing to give her preference to whom she saw fit, I was six years old and I wasn’t about to question her judgement although other older adults have tried over the years. 

5) And I can believe that my older half-sister complained to others that I’d made the worst tea ever; and this it can be believed from her tainted perspective because funnily enough she’d never allow me to make her a cup of tea for the rest of her life, even when I offered, in her mind, she’d die first!! Once I tried again, she threw the well made tea down the Kitchen sink in front of me, without drinking or taking a sip of it from the cup.

However regardless of the falsehoods and/or the assumptions on their part, as well as being mentioned by second-hand sources thereafter, when being told wrongly what happened, and without exception of the ill-mannered company of those older than myself, that I was in at the time of attendence. I’d like to state for the record that I still had a nice time visiting the little old lady, even though no-one asked whether I did or not, I did. Even under such extreme circumstances of being in a darken apartment of the next door neighbour’s home.

And I don’t know what the Old Lady’s feedback was about her time in our company was to other interested parties known to her, nor did I ask. I got on with my life as children do; awaiting the next thing to happen in their adventurous life. However, still the single factor remained in all of this: someone to whom they felt was important to the family, had chosen to like me over my older half-sister, and it wasn’t something they had anticipated happening, and this has never gone down well ever since. It was this event that was to be book-marked in everyone’s conscienceness.  And years later if anyone else made such a choice liken to favouring me, the youngest one of my mother’s children, I’d pay for it, not the complimenter, by having my life made hell.

As that wonderful ‘Afternoon Tea’ occasion, with the old lady whom lived next door as a neighbour, had far-reaching repercussions within and outside the family, as it seemed it have irked everyone, not least of all our maternal Grandmama in Jamaica, who had got to hear of it too, I was to find out three years later, to my cost in having exhibited social graces at so young an age.

For when aged nine, having a holiday romance in the summer of 1974 with a boy aged twelve in Jamaica in the district of Watch, St. Elizabeth see geographical map below, located on the South West Coast of the island (my only long distance haul journey, I was absolutely terrified of the plane flight and held my pee for as long as I could too), however, once on land again and getting into the holiday mood, it was he who made my holiday for me because it had that same innocence to it as the film My Girl movie regarding the relaxed way young people can be together, and in my case even for four short weeks, as a coming of age passage and a knowing for sure that as a female I was heterosexual in orientation. For it was romantic because we kissed and held hands alot within each others company, and it went no further than that; no touching of intimate body parts nor looking at them either, but more of that memory later.

Weblink: Watchwell, St. Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica Regional Map (1995) and Watchwell, St Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica Regional Map, (1895).

For even though Grandma said “I like her and not her”, that is she favoured my elder half-sister, and firmly pointed with her finger that she didn’t like me on our first meeting, giving me such a cold hard stare; as we were made to stand in front of her for inspection on our arrival. We all stood there in an Isosceles trapezoid square formation. Mother had already warned me that she had favoured those from an English background, and didn’t like the French very much, so at least I was prepared for that kind of reaction from Grandma.

Although this verdict of favouritism towards my elder half-sister still pleased our mother, she was elated, therein she beamed her joy across towards my older half-sister, who was standing on the left, me on the right nearest to mother, who stood opposite us two girl children next to Grandma in an off-side position, that completed the Isosceles trapezium square shape. Thereat I could read these emotions from the expression on mother’s face quite clearly, as I looked in her direction, without saying not one word to her, as I wasn’t going to react how mother or anyone else expected me too, nor would I give mother, or Grandmama for that matter, any satisfaction in reprimanding me for the obvious hurt and rejection I’d have felt and displayed in an emotional outburst, which could’ve come across and be interpreted as jealously instead, which I think they were all hoping for. Thus I remained silent before them all and let them have their sense of familial victory.

This was in stark contrast to what I had been expecting, in our first meeting ever with Grandmama, I imagined in my mind it would be her saying “Welcome both of you, I’m so glad to see you!!”, but not what had occured in the lounge. Even though I had my reservation due to mother’s fore-warning of grandma’s misogallic views, which I acknowledged was her problem and not mine, long before I boarded the aeroplane to visit her. I still thought that there would have been some kind of happiness to see at least two of her grandchildren from England. Although, my elder half-brother, if he had been known to us, his two younger half-sister’s, and if he had come with us on that Jamaican holiday along with mother, our older-half-brother would’ve still faired well no doubt in grandmama’s presence. That would have been due to having an Anglo-Saxon name, yes I do know what his full name is, as well as my older half-sister having an English name too. And due to him never, as an eight year old boy, having been made to attend and nor experience that unusual Afternoon Tea Party, and would never have been subjected to that kind of initiation as a first-born son, I reckoned that my older half-brother had, had a lucky escape, to what I just had with regards to “who liked who better” scenario from the adults that I, the very youngest of all the three half-siblings, was facing.

I had no knowledge that there’d been this grievance to bear a grunge against what had occured three years previously, which was set up by my mother’s husband and other interested parties, to whatever outcome there might have been between adults at that time, or perhaps unlikely as the children grow up and change, if there wasn’t any issue made of it. However, I was left thinking that my mother was more in competition with her husband, than showing much maternal affection to her children, to be used in this manner to score points with other familial units.

And therein not the fault of a child, just because certain first, second, and third parties; adults and children alike, couldn’t get their own way. And also it seemed now, couldn’t find it within themselves just to let it be and put it aside. And a six year old child who had a character instead, unlike another child having a precocious personality at around that age, when their traits are beginning to show, regardless, would have expected adults to be far more mature in their parental skills; to know that not all children are the same as a rule of thumb, wouldn’t have made an issue of it against a child. That would be due to, surely and verily, having an insight from life experience and understanding of the implications in general ‘favouritism’ and all its effects, and knowing that this was outside the perimeters of a six year old child moreless a nine year old, who wasn’t versed in the adults community’s overall social world. I was left dumbfounded to say the least. There was no doubt in my mind now at aged nine standing there, that there now existed an exarcebated turn of events that was snowballing in all directions.

Grandma never took her harden stare from me all that time, but during my time so far in England I’d become used to those kind of looks, so it was easier for me to ignore it in Jamaica too, and continue on with life. Except in this instance, in that livingroom with the sun streaming in through the windows, all I felt was an overwhelming sense of sorrow, not so much at Grandma; I wasn’t there I felt to impress her, nor was I about to try. I was left feeling that this was a set-up situation rather than a holiday of a lifetime, for me anyway and I was to be proved right, but overall, it was my mother’s attitude that astonished and sadden me greatly the most, there was no escaping that smug look of triumph on her face, which she never even had the decency to hide from me; she was in a word ecstatic. Then I briefly turned my eye to view my older half-sister, who couldn’t have been more beside herself with so much pride, she looked like she was about ready to burst at any moment, but she remained on her spot, as I was more than expecting her to give some kind of acceptance speech, then suddenly fling herself forward to Grandma, to whom my older half-sister was looking at, as to think that she was about to receive an award of some kind, to be presented to her from Grandmama, as the only way I could best describe my older half-sister emotional state as being.

However, I was made to stay in Grandma’s company, she adamantly insisted upon it to my mother, (and no-one at the time, my half-Uncle included, had understood why if Grandma didn’t like me, that she wanted me around her all the time, and neither did I, and was left unknown to us all her reasoning upon it, as I could have easily stayed with one of the other relatives: the many half-brother’s and half-sister’s of my mother’s, with the exception of mother’s female twin who resided in the USA), as we had all moved outside, and standing in a tight circle shape formation this time, which now included my half-Uncle (my mother’s elder-half-brother) who had been outdoors seeing to the property until then. I continued to look across at my mother, that is as impassively as I could muster, who was busy trying to convince her own mother that I should go with her because we were on holiday together etctera, etctera, with all the whys and therefores going on. And I ignored my older half-sister’s face, because in all likelihood and honesty, I would have liked to have wiped that self-aggrandizing look off her face, that I know she was putting out, as her habit when she got one over on people. So it was a good thing Grandma would broke no argument on her decision for me, that is, the younger one, to remain in her care. I continued to stand silently, whilst all this was going on and being negotiated, out of a sense of strong pride, I wasn’t going to bow down to my own emotions, I resigned to my fate.

So then Mother took off happily with my older half-sister in tow and attended the influential parties together, as mother told me afterwards thats what they’d been up to without my company. And it maybe asked did I cry once they were gone or pine away in their absence? Not bloody likely. We all meet up again only one day before our return flight back home, to London, England. However, my older half-sister never did get to stay nor never got to know Grandma personally, only I did. For I was made to wash clothes by hand over a round tub using a scrubbing board (see sample picture on the right) which stood on a wooden stand so that the task could be easily done standing upright, outdoors in the open air under her watchful eye; like they used to do in the old days. And polished, from a small round tin of wax varnish, the local church floor side-by-side with Grandma, on our hands and knees, until the dark brown floor tiling gleamed, I was exhausted by the time we’d finished, I just hoped God appreciated the effort!!

What else was I up to during that time, one of my mother’s older-half-brothers, second oldest out of them all in fact, used to come over and ask his elder-half-brother if it was okay to take me with him to view over the land property and animals that was owned by my mother’s family back then. Permission was granted after a little discussion. Thank god. Was I going to turn this new adventure down? You must be kidding!! Although we didn’t walk there. No. And you have to understand my excitement, when I tells you, although it wouldn’t be allowed in England, ever, as it would be seen as foolhardy etc etc., which in most cases it might be deemed so. Remember this being the Jamaican countryside, no speed cameras, nor traffic cops around, pure tarmac open road. Brace yourselves. My second-oldest-half-Uncle of my mother’s brothers, took me, Mavarine aged nine, his half-niece, a girl too, at the motorbike speed of well over 100mph without a crash helmet, goggles or proper motorcycle gear, him neither: just his ordinary everyday clothes, and me with my holiday outfit of t-shirt and shorts, with both of us wearing sandals. And I was to be found preparing to go, sitting on the back seat with my feet on the rest pedals, as a passenger of his red and white beloved Suzuki motorbike that he owned and cherished (see sample picture on the left). As before we left for the trip, my half-Uncle showed me how I was to have my body weight against him, so as not to throw the bike off balance, so when he leaned to left or right, I too leaned left and right in unison with him when it came to a bend in the road, or else we’d crash at high speed fatally. At first I kept my eyes tight shut, as to get the feel of the speed, but I never ever panicked, not once, then after that I opened by eyes to see the whizzing past, more like a blur, of the green Watchwell district of Jamaican countryside. And yes, I still wore my NHS eye-glasses the whole time on the motorbike, however, my blurred vision without my eye-glasses, was exactly the very same blurred sight-seeing that I was viewing with my eye-glasses on!! Weird. And when we arrived I had to find where my legs went too, and come down from the natural high that my head was reeling from due to the excitement.

And his daughter, my half-cousin told me later on, that not even they his children, whether the boys or girls, were ever given a ride on it nor whilst we were on holiday neither my older-half-sister, only me. They could only look, but neither could they touch it, whilst the Suzuki motorbike was stationary in the backyard and thats all. I was to go with him on three separate occasions on his Suzuki motorbike, and not once did I panic from the fear of speed at such a young age, to see the wild as well as tamed horses, and cattle that was owned by my mother’s family. Don’t ask me the specific acreage back in 1974, I was just gobsmacked to say the least as well as how many animals there were on the land. And I was so lucky, because its the most thrill-seeking adventure, being a passenger at that speed on a motorbike, and as a young nine year old girl, holding on tight for dear life mind you and rightly so, that I have ever encountered in my life since. Did my mother ever find out? Nope. I wasn’t telling either. And neither did any of her two elder half-brothers tell, to their young half-sister; my mother, she knew nothing of any of it.

He was also the same half-Uncle that sat me down (and only me, the younger one, as my older-sister and mother were off partying some-a-wheres) on the veranda of his home, and told me a cryptic wisdom to hold onto, he said “you know Mava that when a cat falls from a height, they always land on all four of their feet”, for which he proceeded to demonstrate because I didn’t believe cats could do that, until he showed me visually for me to understand; cats change in mid-air and do a twisting action with their spinal cord to always land upright on their paws (see video example below), thus it was similiar, as virtually saying that “you will always get out of trouble somehow and come out of it safely” in the those kind of experiences from life. As my second-oldest-half-Uncle saw me, Mavarine Du-Marie, in the analogy of a ‘feline cat’ too, as some others who’ve also mentioned it to me back in England, in the proceeding years that followed, unbeknown to my half-Uncle, agreed with his analogy of me being that of a feline cat, since his first comment was made in 1974. [Aside comment: although it must be said that I don’t wanna test-a fate here too much understand…]

This was my holiday outings, in Watchwell, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, until I met this boy called “Ben” (although his given names were more than this, around about twelve in total or so; Abraham being one name mentioned, and he spoke them all with such pride and fast like a Prince who knew of his birthright, but me being abit slow on the uptake caught only the name ‘Joseph’ being one of them in the middle, but he said just to call him ‘Ben’ instead of me having to remember and say all of them) who was a servant for our family, and appeared at Grandma’s house one day unexpectedly, as up until then I never saw him there at Grandma’s house. And no, in my mind, it wasn’t about me that he’d appeared, and it wasn’t in me to be that egotistical to think otherwise, I didn’t think of myself in that way as to be attractive; boys never paid any romantic interest to me back home in England, except to pick fights with me; as a show of strength to others that they could beat me up, so I’d spend much of the time using avoidance tactics rather than having romantic liasions with boys, and neither did I expect them to be any different in Jamaica either!! So I remained at school unaffected by the lack of any romantic advances.

Okay, okay I will admit here tho’ that I was admiring Ben’s torso physic in his loose open finely chequered shirt, that was designed with the main background colour being a pale tan beige, with navy, dark green and maroon patterning to it, that was also short-sleeved, made in the material of light-weight cotton. That was very clean and well-kept in appearance; no buttons missing, Ben just liked wearing his shirt that way; completely open. He always smelt ‘aqua-fresh’ naturally in body odour and with his personal hygiene one couldn’t fault, and I smell of ‘breast-feeding milk’ as my natural body odour abbreviated to a ‘baby’ smell to mean the same thing, mentioned so as to save you guessing, and the reason is: I did know what breast-milk smelt like at that age for female relatives were breast-feeding therein able to compare their smell to mine, and also I’ve a small nose, I pick up on closer to the skin and surface smells, rather than air-borne scent which larger noses can detect, thus a small nose such as mine has its advantages too. And neither Ben nor I used fancy body moisturising lotions at that age, so that when we stood in close body contact, we could detect what the other smelt like naturally. Secondly, and also most probably, you’re left wondering how come she recalls such detailing of a shirt like that? Well, it was a day that Ben held me in a hug with both his arms wrapped around my waist, after a kissing session, before we started again, and I’ve high myopia, and there are natural benefits when one hasn’t got their NHS eye-glasses on, such as in using myopia for refined magnified viewing. And Ben being above my height, so my head reached just below his chest, and such was the warmth of the embrace that I was thinking to myself “how would I remember this moment?” And thus I focused on his shirt for as long as I could while he held me so close to his body, with my head turned to the right laying in the middle of Ben’s chest cavity, and my right hand was upon his right breast plate, with my hand laying gently over the shirt, whilst my left hand around his waist holding onto him. And neither of us stirring, we just stood there together in that lover’s embrace. My, my, my, my. In the yearnfully sigh as I did then too, in breath as well as sentiment.

But on this particular occasion on the day of seeing Ben in my initial lustful imaginings, what I kept saying, as my actual thought that was going in my mind repeatedly was that “he’s chest is in very good shape biologically for a boy of his age”. And so I was stealing looks, so I thought discreetly, side-ways glances every chance I could, my very first lustful looks at a boy, as he moved around the property and stood to talk to my half-Uncle for sometime regarding some-such-adoing of repairs and other types of business decisions, that to be completely honest, would’ve been way over my head to understand, besides I was too busy looking and looking some more okay at Ben’s chest and not only that, it was because he was so at ease with himself, very self-assured, I liked that. But being that I was somewhat a shy girl when facing unknown kinda emotional and communicative experience over a boy, I would never have even considered to approach Ben myself directly, therein my lust was all done at a good distance where I didn’t think he’d notice a young girl’s interest in him. For I believed that Ben had been sent to visit by another half-Uncle to enquire of any work that was needed to be done on the property.

Thereat, I believed sincerely that I stood a very miniscule chance of being a love-interest to Ben, I didn’t think he was into English gals, and I really didn’t believe I was his preferential type of girl either; more like those girls without 1970’s NHS styled eye-glasses just for starters (okay, see picture me on the right, Mavarine, aged nine with them on before we left for this holiday, don’t worry I got used to being mocked for having “six eyes” instead of “four eyes” or “double-glazing” and the other one of “how many fingers am I holding up?” and having said hand waved in front of my face by some kid, kinda ridicule back then too…). So, I deduced on my part, it would’ve been a very long and wide shot he’d be playing, and I was actually thinking this too, hence any thoughts on romance was actually the furtherest thing from my mind, and I said to myself “get over it Mava, he wouldn’t be interested in a girl like you” and so put my energy into pounding the life out of washing the new batch of clothes instead.

I left the ‘Mills and Boon’ reading to my older half-sister aged ten, because thats all she ever read at home, as she was just starting to get into devouring them from the Library, then as a club member, and then me having to store them for her at my first flat that I rented on my own; when seventeen years old because she’d run out of room at mother’s to keep all those Mills and Boon books, not that I was ever permitted to read them even in my care mind you, as my older-half-sister was that possessive and obessed over those Mills and Boon books. Until that is, I convinced my older-half-sister that it was unhealthy for her well-being, and to give them as a donation to the local Library: Brixton in Lambeth who took them all in with very sincere gratitude: and yes, by the second batch of books ferried there, we got weird looks from the Librarian, as they too hadn’t realised how huge the collection was, much to my older-half-sister embrassment, she had to admit they were hers so that a thank you letter could be sent in the post too back then. We had to make three trips in a cab hire to get them there, thats how many Mills and Boon books there were in boxes. The taxi man said “do you know that paper weighs more in a box than any other item when it comes to moving house?” You know at such enlightened knowledge, its one I could have done without at the time, to put it mildly. No joke: I think my back ached for days, in just getting them down the flight of steps into the waiting car. Older-half-sister was well-pleased as she earnt another halo point for Heavenly entrance.

But don’t think for one moment that my older-half-sister was grateful for me convincing her on this gesture, that was out of pragmatism to look upon real life romantic relationships rather than in books.  Nope. Or what she had said to mother (who by the way, had also complained about the romance books cluttering up her home at Balcombe House, in Streatham Hill, Lambeth). For two weeks later, as my older-half-sister who had a spare key to my flat, just in case I misplaced mine and locked myself out by accident, however my biggest mistake in my entire life, was this trusting nature of mine at the time. For whilst I was at my job working in Croydon as a Supervisor Data Entry Clerk (my second job), both my mother and my older-half-sister came to my flat during the working week, without warning of what they were going to do in advance. They gave all my clothes away to charity or binned them, and when I say all, I mean all my clothes. And I wasn’t even dead, like what would happen in sorting out a deceased person’s estate.

I was left literally with the clothes on my back that I went to work in only, including the bra and knickers that I stood up in. True. And mother and my older-half-sister had the nerve to actually wait to see my reaction when I returned from work. They didn’t get what they expected. For I was too in shock and that upset at the same time to even be angry, when I came home to find they had completely emptied my wardrobes and chest of drawers (one had everyday clothes, the other had my work suits, the rest bra’s and knickers etc.) I asked my mother why she had done it, knowing that I had no money to re-buy for some months, although later on, sitting on the bed alone, after my tears had flowed, I had my suspicion that this was linked too, with what her second-older-half-brother had said to me about cats always landing on their feet, as mother got to know about it, all those years ago on the Jamaican holiday, exactly nine years ago in actual fact by the time I was seventeen, and it seemed that my mother and older-half-sister and perhaps others unknown to me had borne a grudge on the matter. As now I would literally find myself in a dilemma of either paying bills, forgo getting food purchases and starve (I ended up surviving on chocolate Mars bars for lunch and rolled up small balls of plain bread with no butter spread, taken from one bread slice at a time for dinner only, and no breakfast, nor any tea/coffee during this period of my life, not lying, and I was never going to go begging my mother for food after day three of this routine; the answer would have been no, as I did try you see, and got the very strong lecture that I didn’t contribute anything to her household so no, I couldn’t have any food; pre-cooked or otherwise), or buying new clothes at such short notice without forethought. Not a nice position to be found in I can tell yous.

What was made worse, was that both my older-half-sister and mother just stood there and grinned, saying flippantly that I “had far too many clothes anyway”, and didn’t even have any compunction to apologise to me over what they had done, never. And they left giggling with each other on departing from my flat. I will never forgave them for that, as I wasn’t even cold in my grave. For legally-wise what they both had done was petty theft (a skill my older-half-sister was already well versed in, nor would it be the last incident of theft in taking my possessions; expensive stuff too, or fraudently getting hold of my money through scams pulled off with the help of others, that my older-half-sister did to me over the years before I cut off from them all), so I could have brought charges against them, but didn’t, not because they were family, nope, but their own Karma, and for that to happen freely, I must distance myself from them completely forever, for Karma is a self-ordained-curse, if one thinks about it, and no deity has power over it, as it operates independently, like the phrase “you brought it on yourself” is an apt expression of this term.

Thus nothing anyone does in my timeline would ever make what they did right or to make amends ‘out of principle’ regarding the facts of what they had done to me. For what was done was also out of spitefulness, on my mother’s and older-half-sister’s part, and not as a goodwill gesture as an effort for any kind of humanitarian aid, to whatever charity that got all my clothes in the end. I just felt it was a bitter-sweet thing for the charity concerned, due to the fact it was given under false pretenses rather than from my heart, if I had done it myself or with assistance with me to help in either case, but it still wasn’t necessary because I was a very careful buyer of clothes; only what I needed and not impulse buys.

And the vast moral difference in all of this, was that I had consulted with my older-half-sister every step of the way in her disposal of those Mills and Boon books, not behind her back and even helped sort out the ones she really wanted to keep, and paid for the hire of the cab and sourced the library that was willing to take them, all done with my older-half-sister’s consent, awareness and very much in her presence, which was carried out on a Saturday. However, emotional hurting me in any way they could, was both mother’s and my older-half-sister’s forte, at every opportunity that presented itself to them as I grow up from my teens onwards by whatever means were at their disposal; including destroying any notion of romantic courtship with a male that would led to me settling down in a stable relationship, they did so to me, the youngest. And all this without either my mother nor older-half-sister (or other third parties) showing any remorse or regrets from their past thoughts and actions (and no doubt it would be the same for any present and future ones). However, back aged nine, my reading material outside of primary school lessons, as part of the extra-curriculum activity that was encouraged, it was that of the ‘Famous Five‘ book series which was more my thing.

Therein here in Jamaica back in 1974, I wasn’t looking to have a stereo-typical ‘holiday romance’ taken from a novel that would come into real life, even fairy tales take hard work in making a go of it. And somehow I knew that my love-life would be unusual or non-existent to say the least, and I wasn’t far wrong. So I was taken-aback when Ben strode over when he’d finished talking to my the first-eldest-half-Uncle, as I really thought Ben was leaving, as they had both stood near the exit of the bungalow, but no, Ben turned and strode in a way that lets one know that something serious was about to go down, as Ben made a definite bee-line towards where I was standing in the shade next to the back of the house on the left side, as Grandmama had set me to work hand-washing a new batch of clothes, which I was thinking at the time was a good thing as I might’ve ended up drooling over own my dress; if I was left just standing there looking over at Ben, as I was, it would have been seen as really creepy or my case love-struck and it couldn’t be helped. And if I did now drool at least the soap suds of washing powder would disguise it! No lie. And that also was what I was thinking in my mind at the time too. And my reaction now as he was coming towards me was that of deep dread, mixed still with newfound young lust over a boy, and not just any boy neither, that I was trying so hard to batten down, no fear just dreading a confrontation, when I looked at him straight away, as he came ever nearer. For by the look of his outward determination and candor in his eyes, I reckoned I was going to be ticked off for gawking at him in that salacious way, I really did, and to put me in my place about my faults, whatnots and all, and to be told that he didn’t date girls like me, but I was surprised otherwise.

Moreover, it was to be that he was formally introduced by a female first-half-cousin on my mother’s side, another half-brother’s daughter, at her parents house earlier on in the holiday, as “the servant for the family” (but not his actual given names, for I’d asked him that in private at our first of many kissing sessions) although what impressed me that day was that he arrived at the house on a white horse and rode it bareback, it was like when you watched him that he was at one with the horse, it was his horse, a male and he rode it as such. And the horse stayed at some distance from us, behind the next door neighbour’s home, in the small open field that had resided to the left of my first-half-cousin’s parents bungalow, that was separated by a dirt track in-between the two homes, that was, the next door neighbour’s open field, as I had enquired of it at another time during the holiday, to my first-half-cousin about who lived next door to them, as I was impressed by the house, and found out from her, that it was a USA male citizen the ‘mysterious millionaire called Mr Browne’, that’s what my first-half-cousin called him because she never actually saw him arrive, stay or leave, but who used it as a vacational holiday home, that was of light faded pink in brick work with cream corner inset stones along its edging, that was architecturally in the colonial style, and the boundary perimeter to the front of the house had roughly, recalling my mind back to what I saw, was a five brick low-raise walling with no garden but neither was it paved over, just bare flatten cracked ground, that was situated next door to my first-half-cousin’s parents bungalow. And now back to the white horse, that I noted to myself, that it was as if the white horse was silently commanded by Ben not to come any closer to us as a group, as it had so obediently remained where it was told to by Ben, but even though the horse stayed there in the field, he kept eyeing us all out of his own curiosity, and I kept staring back at that white horse for a good while — periodically out of my own curiosity too.

Ben dismounted his white horse, and strode arrogantly right-through the centre between us three girls who had watched him, as we were standing at that point in a triangular formation, with our half-cousin being at the top of the pyramid with her back against the wall, and took his position, which had changed the shape to which we were standing. And I think it was this male arrogance that had irked my older-half-sister, however, little-younger-half-sister here read his gait differently as to my way of understanding due to being exposed to this in England at primary school when a boy fancied a particular girl: Ben was showing his macho-manliness to us girls, that is, as to impress upon us girls his virility as an indication of the initial early stages of courtship, so I just stood and smiled to myself at his young display of it. Ben and my first-half-cousin stood next to each other, that was with their backs against the outside wall of the bungalow, and my older-half-sister and I stood a few paces aways facing them.

It may not have been noticed by the others, but I did, as my eyes gazed about me on the ground, and may have been seen to an outside observer very strange behaviour in what I was doing in the mist of a social group. As I had deliberately averted my glance to looking at feet positions, and I observed from this study of mine, that we’d found ourselves to be stationary in a neatly squared-off formation as a small group, with that of my older-half-sister standing opposite to our half-first-cousin; to her left, and me standing opposite to Ben; to my right side position. I was briefly thinking, that if someone had a tape-measure at the time, and had gone around us taking in the mathematical points, they would’ve found it to be the perfect square!! And I voiced two words in my mind that conveyed my amazement at this mathematical root equation to myself was to be “Master, hello” that would sum it all up in acknowledgement, as by then I had bodily turned around to face the main road that was to my right, whilst thinking this, it was like conversing with another person but spiritually instead.

And then thought to myself too following this, that how much this would have impressed any Maths teacher. Then I turned my body, my thoughts, my eyesight and drifted back to the horse again, with my back to Ben and my half-cousin. I was to literally have been turning around in a full circle, whilst the other two familial girls stood in their positions absolutely motionless, and Ben was the only other person who had by then, been the only other person to do any turning during this time. In totality of this study of the social group at that point, it could very well have been compared easily as to what one would find in the mechanism for example of an old fashioned ‘Time-Watch’ piece (see video below that illustrates this: in that me, Mava, the smaller wheel who senses his presence, ‘The Master’ the bigger wheel as he stood on the main road in spiritual form that eliminates his power, as the two turning silver wheels, and the rest of the group being: the other slow motion yellow wheel of Ben who had turned to speak to our first-half-cousin and then turned again to face the whole group all done in slow motion too, and the remaining two motionless yellow wheels being that of my older-half-sister and my first-half-cousin who both never moved at all thoroughout the meeting). It was a highly intelligent cryptic manipulation in teaching. [Aside comment: Tricky, very tricky, gotta watch Hims with both eyes and everything else too!!….]

And whilst Ben warmly said hello to our first-half-cousin, I then turned my head, once I bodily stilled myself, to see that my older half-sister was continuing to eye him up critically without showing any mercy of her thoughts on him, as we had already watched him arrive, I felt that she could have at least shown civility to a person she wasn’t yet familiar with. And I had at the time initially thought, between Ben and my first-half-cousin, after looking at that display of affection in their greeting, jumped to the conclusion that the way they had reacted to each other with such sincere informality, that both my first-half-cousin and Ben were an item together, and that both my older half-sister and I were going to be introduced to him, Ben as being her long term boyfriend. Therefore, to give Ben and my first-half-cousin some privacy out of consideration that is due to love-birds in courtship, my whole attention, bodily that is, was given over to the white horse instead yet again, as I had longed to stroke the horse’s forehead and flank with an instinctive touch; out of reverence and sensitivity, as I believed at the time, that the white horse had the character of a lovely shy and very sweet temperament, for I could tell. [Aside comment: most probably yous lot are really dizzy now in reading and thinking of this, as my aim was to give you a simulated but artificial sense to what had occured no less: but remember the quote “the path of true-love never runs smoothly” O, for Love can be so darn right Evil! O …]

And as I turned to face the group and Ben again, as I was picking up some courage to ask, I found that Ben already had turned his attention to us two girls that were on holiday from abroad long ago, to my ignorance, as we hadn’t spoken a word to him whilst he was talking to our first-half-cousin, as that would’ve been rude to interrupt. And for all that time I was looking at the horse, I was amazed to find that Ben had been looking at me with such candor. I on the other hand was putting into practice decorum as a female, so I bite down so hard the emotional intense urge that would have displayed a keeness, and made me appear excitable and girlish, to ask Ben if I could. For in Ben’s candored look from his eyes (see sample picture on left), between us there was a subtle and silent fight in the battle of wills over this request, that is I was being outright baited, dared, and challenged by Ben, our eyes locked in non-verbals, all communication understood; I couldn’t believe I was being subtly propositioned in this manner, he was being very upfront, as we kept looking at each other, that was unbeknown to everyone else as we all stood together. Hence, because I’d a feeling I already knew what the answer would have been, the odds were 3-1 not in my favour, as I was picking up the feeling that Ben had a possessive trait as part of his character, that I never asked if I could go over to the horse. It was the only time I was ever to see him ride that white horse during my stay in Jamaica.

And even though I wore NHS glasses, Ben never took his steady gaze from mine, even with my older half-sister standing by me on the left; he never once looked in her direction, whilst my older half-sister looked back at him contemptuously (she was really good at giving those kind of stares to people whom she thought beneath her), and as he heard our christen names all he said was “English gals” as a statement, and that was it and he left abruptly. Thereupon I never thought I’d see him again, I was to be mistaken about that. I was and am still a humble person and was unaffected by his position but looked upon him, that is the person, well, and I took to heart that saying that goes “treat others how you’d like to be treated” and lived by it even back then, as I’d just finished reading that part of the holy bible Matthew 7:12 before we’d left for the trip, and had the remaining Chapters to read on returning home.

To fill in some background info as to why: this was my first time of reading the Bible from start to finish (I was to do this again on other occasions as I got older), as it was around that time, aged nine that my step-father had banned both my older half-sister and I from going to Sunday School church, and after getting annoyed with the pleading that he was receiving for us to continue, he’s reasoning being was that “you’re getting too close to God!” looking in my direction and said in anger. We were on a Sunday never to go again to the Salvation Army Church. And then I had my mother saying to me privately aged ten, a few months after our return from Jamaica, that firmly I “wasn’t to meet Satan”, which I found a strange thing to say considering the routine of my life up until then, it was highly unlikely that I’d ever meet either God or Satan!! I was always kept busy doing things!!  As it was the first time she’d ever mentioned the name Satan to me, and I was left wondering who he was, as his name was unfamiliar and his own history of his epic holy experiences, that is, not even at Sunday School was his name ever mentioned oddly enough, not even as part of a going to “Hell, Fire and Brimstone!!” sermon [aside comment: could it have been because they were written as encoded words for Devy Babe’s phallus? That being ‘Hell’ his erect penis, ‘Fire’, his semen, and ‘Brimstone’ his testicle sack that holds his balls, is it any wonder!!], in my presence, maybe they didn’t want to give us any imaginings liken to that of my aside comment, oh well, as I hold my hand to my forehead too, as to profess a swoon at the thought of it, down there being in his Dominion so tightly packed in and all, as me Confessional goes. Thereby, the actions of a Holy Warrior is their nature as well as their vocation to protect. So thereat, I never pre-judged Satan’s character or his personality, nor would I to God either, I viewed them both impartially as I would everyone else that came into my life.

[Aside comment two: Behold, The Almighty … what’s that? Well, if I never. I’ve heard it called by men for their’s something or another for penis names but to them balls is balls, Ohhhh Deity-wise, well that’s good to know….]

And mother only read the Bible, up until I was aged seven, as bedtime stories before my older half-sister and I fell asleep at night, and Satan’s name wasn’t ever mentioned in the Chapters mother chose to read to us either, that is, it was the Holy Wars, with regards to the battle stories within the Bible that were always recited to us two girl children before we fell asleep at seven-thirty come evening. Then our mother suddenly stopped reading the Holy Bible to us two girl children without explaination, even when I begged her to continue she refused, and my older half-sister’s attitude was that she wasn’t bothered about it, so was unconcerned at the development. I actually missed the telling of the Bible in-between those two years as a gap, as mother had a very pleasant storytelling voice you see, she made it seem all real as she spoke the words.

So, at this age of nine, I was embarking on a Bible Study program of my own devising, on my own and from my own volition, and without my step-father’s or mother’s consent or knowledge, and neither did I say what I was doing to my older half-sister. However, I was and still am, a book-readingaholic person, therefore privately and, sometimes even silently I’d be reading the Holy Bible in the toilet, that is away from everyone else in the house as that didn’t arouse suspicion. The cost of being found out Bible reading would’ve been a severe beating with a thick leather belt that step-father kept for disobeyments. So this mid-July holiday trip, during the Summer term school break that lasted six weeks, was a relaxation away from my secret reading of the Holy Bible, for me anyway, or so I thought at the time, little did I know what was going to be in store for me in familial circumstances on my flight out to Jamaica.

Now back to my factual romantic reminiscing from life experience; as not to be found in fictional writing such as a ‘Harlequin Mills & Boon: Mira Ink‘ book imprint or ‘Romeo & Juilet’, nor ‘Paul and Virginia’ regarding tales on young romance, for yous as to where I left off: during our time together on this holiday, Ben and I walked everywhere on the tarmac road that I enjoyed, as Ben took me to various places that only he knew about in this Jamaican countryside of Watchwell in the Saint Elizabeth parish. However, to begin with on saying how it all started with us, it happened to be on that day of me admiring Ben’s twelve year old body for a male boy and specificially lusting at Ben’s well-defined, for his age, chest, ohhh, and him walking over to me with such determination. That done it for me. This trip was to be our very first outing together, for Ben and I together, and I was excited because I’d never been alone in a boy’s company before, never. Seriously. And Ben asked very frankly, if I would accompany him to the hardware store to pick up a few items for a job that required doing on the property. I’d just been asked out by a boy!!! So before he could change his mind, I ran quickly over to where Grandmama was, and completely forgetting the new batch of clothes washing that had to be finished; with my drooling and lust somewhat abated — just about, and the dread that I had been feeling — gone. I had just been asked out by a boy!!! And asked Grandmama if I could go with Ben, and she automatically said yes without hesitation. Truely.

The hardware store interior was dark blue in colour, and compact, dimly light from a low wattage light bulb, as well as the sun had passed over it already as to be late afternoon, it was under-light but one could still see the items to be sold clearly. On the shelving was lots of bits and bobs. Ben and the owner knew each other well, and greeted each other in a respectful and very professional manner, as one would expect from men who knew each other’s trade. And no, I wasn’t introduced to the store owner, nor was I expecting to, I was a girl, and this was man-to-boy stuff going on as they were conducting business with regards to what Ben was looking for as goods. I just waited patiently standing next to Ben, without wandering off to look at other things, or walked out to wait outside for him to finish out of losing interest, as he made his transaction and paid for the goods; nope, I just stood and took it all in, as this was my first visit officially to a Hardware Store, as I’d never been in one, not even in England, so I behaved really well out of a newly found discovery, and all done without me carrying on aways that I was becoming bored by it all, in actual fact quite the opposite, I was fascinated by it all. I remember that Ben purchased outright on that day a brown bag of fencing nails, but was discussing with the store owner as well a very complex supply ordering on advanced goods that had to be delivered; in two weeks time, and Ben wasn’t settling for any longer in timescale, and I noticed in this that Ben did his negotiations skillfully, well to a nine year old girl anyway, who by the way, had no idea about the ins and outs of DIY property management stuff. Both Ben and I talked there and back, at ease within each other’s company, and when I was brought back to Grandmama’s home; Ben said he’d like to see me again and that he’d call for me tomorrow. And that’s how my romance with Ben began.

And Ben also taught me how to climb an old cherry tree that was in full bloom with flowers (as I’d asked him what kind of tree it was, as he seemed knowledgeable about these things and I hadn’t a clue!) which had a very big wild pink and black spotted pig, that was dirt covered all over its body, that had been tied up underneath the tree; we had to run to avoid the pig’s anger and then jump up onto the nearest low-slung branch, but well out of the way of the pig grunting below us, and there we sat eating Mangos which he had brought with him for our feast.  And perhaps reading this yous lot maybe wondering, whys Mavarine mentioned this occasion with Ben here, what’s so special about climbing a tree?! Well, it was upon this occuring, and from this afterwards, that marked the turning point of our relationship. For on this particular cloudy but humid day with a slight breeze to the air, that we had enjoyed our time up the tree; sitting, talking and eating. It was afterwards from this lovely excursion with Ben, that the course of events developed from the what as to the when, that led up to the where and finally the how. As returning back to Grandma’s home, its marks my very first kiss with Ben as to the how it happened. A girl could get addicted to the mango fruit taste!! But more on that memory later…

And one evening, remember this was Jamaican countryside in Watchwell; no street lamps, also the houses were set back from the main road, so there was no thrown-out lighting from them either, Ben carried no touch light with him, therefore it was only the moonlight being available to see, which it was a very good thing then that it was a lunar phase and a cloudless clear night sky, but I still felt very safe with Ben, therefore I considered that I didn’t need to look out for landmarks to guide me if I got lost, like I usually would, as something I had taught myself to do naturally, when I started having to go to primary school on my very own from the age of seven. And I also felt secure with Ben out that late at night, for whilst in Ben’s company I never noticed the actual distance we covered on our journeys, and neither in this instance, we walked there and back, talking as we went, from our very first romantic official date. And Ben took me for the occasion to the local bar (known as a ‘pub‘ to the English) and without a chaperone to accompany us for propriety, it was felt that we didn’t need one.

It was allowed and permission given by a half-Uncle, one of my mother’s older half-brother’s who also lived with Grandma. For Ben had asked me out to spend an evening with him, and I said that I would ask, so Ben gave the date that was to be in three days time that he would come ‘a calling’ for me officially. He meant business. Although I will admit that it took me two days to pluck up the courage to ask for their consent, and that was on the final day of the scheduled ‘Date‘ itself; on the third day around early afternoon, that I finally sought out the granting of being allowed an evening with Ben, talk about cutting it close! As I had spent two days weighing up all my options.

And those options were that I first thought of sending a message to mother, but then by the time any message was relayed, back and forth, which still could have contained a negative I wasn’t willing to delay any decisions when the person wasn’t there face-to-face to put my plea forward. Then I was thinking of going behind everyone’s back, but that didn’t seem right either, no matter how I longed to go out with Ben, I wanted to do this properly, because I didn’t want to be on edge for the whole duration thinking of the punishments that would have been meted out on my return. My only lament in all of this, was that I didn’t have a pretty dress to mark the occasion, if I were allowed to go out with Ben, which made me alittle bit sad, and I knew my mother wouldn’t have brought me a pretty dress outright for me, as she only ever gave me my older-half-sister’s hand-me-downs to wear and there still won’t have been time to ask, particularly without explaining the reason, and still have an negative answer relayed back. I’d to go simply in one of my holiday clothes that I’d been left with, and hoped that Ben didn’t mind, if I got permission to go out with him. That was my final worry. So it was to Grandma to who I’d asked first of all, in mother’s absence; as I figured Grandma being senior to mother, she couldn’t be over-ruled by mother, that I’d already seen on the day of my rejection and being made to stay. Thus I decided to ask outright, and straight to the point, as I felt that Grandmama wouldn’t take kindly to any beating-around-the-bush in requests, and therein was expecting her to say no, then I had a backup pleading tactic all lined up as to say to her.

Having listened to my request to be allowed to go out formally with Ben on a ‘Date‘, whilst she was busy doing an outside chore, I was rather taken aback when Grandma sent me to her son to seek the go-ahead instead; as he was the male ‘partriarchal’ head of their whole family as explained by Grandmama. And my half-Uncle good-naturedly asked me, also being at the time of the holiday the substitute father-figure, “what if I don’t let you go?”, whilst he sat on the veranda, and whereupon I replied that “I’d be going anyway, so at least I’m telling you now that I would be, as I ain’t doing nothing behind your back, you’d see me go!” all uttered with such heartfelt sentiment; me standing there smiling for all it was worth; such cheek I had back then, my half-Uncle just burst out laughing and agreed I would do such a thing. As Ben was afterall trusted by the family.

Ben therefore stood before us at the bunaglow entrance as half-Uncle and I had been waiting for him at the designated time, Ben was very punctual too considering he wore no watch on his wrist, no lie, so there was no need for me to worry about whether he changed his mind or not, and when he arrived to collect me asked manly to my half-Uncle: “Can Mava go out with me?” as an official courtship rite as it should be done. My half-Uncle standing now with arms folded across his chest, on the edge of the veranda on the left-hand side of me, with a very parental look of seriousness, automatically said “yes” although looking sternly towards Ben. And me at the time, standing on the ground next to half-Uncle on the right, and also looking at Ben but with a warm smile to my face instead. We all stood in a triangular formation together. And half-Uncle said firmly, that Ben was afterwards to bring me back straight to Grandma’s house by nine o’clock, as so instructed by my half-Uncle. And I do think Ben, himself was abit surprised, by his expression that I read from his face that had briefly flashed over it, that I had been given the go ahead, as he most probably had been expecting a rejection scene taking place and no doubt had prepared for that outcome, but Ben recovered from this assumption pretty fast, and Ben followed this order from half-Uncle, as one should do, with an equally serious “Yes, sir” and off we went for the evening; me smiling and happy all the way down the road, Ben looking focused as to where we were walking at that time of night on an open road, talking to each other all the way. This was to be my very first boyfriend date officially.

When we arrived, the local bar from the outside looked like a low rise wooden public Hall for the locals to use, that had been purpose built, as one would have ever have guessed it was a pub (see sample picture on the left.) It was situated a good few paces back on the left hand-side, with a small dirt path set at an angle from the main road, with two large mature trees planted on either side, but the trees could have been more surrounding the place, alias at that time of night it was difficult to see, but it did lead as a desire-line (a gardening term) to the main cream painted double doors, with four-squared small plain glass windows on the top panels where at this time of night, the inside light was shining out from.  It looked very inviting because from the outside of the building itself looked like it could’ve doubled up as a ‘Youth Hall’ of somekind and at the time that’s where I thought we were heading to be honest. But I still wasn’t disappointed at all, as this was my first visit to a reputable public house, moreless an unreputable one, I’m glad to say. It was a nice surprise for me. Loved it. I often liked Ben’s surprises.

In addition, this public bar which Ben had taken me to, for this very romantic couple ‘Dating‘ during the night, was designed very much in a contemporary styled public house in its interior decor, which was unusual for the 1970’s (see sample picture on the right). The pub was very brightly light, with square medium windows set high running down its length, with the bare light bulbs hanging down from the ceiling, you could see very clearly everything and everyone as you walked in, not dingy. I was very much impressed, as it was to be a very appropriate place to bring a young girl in courtship with her beau. The public house had been kept very clean and spotless by the owner.  And not smoke-filled from cigarettes neither what so ever, not even a whiff. There wasn’t even any background music playing, for this was a place where the locals would converse and could hear themselves think and not talk over any musical tune. And the walls were painted in the colour of magnolia or some-such-like, that was also clean surfaced; without any pictures nor memorabilila of any kind hanging on it, to me it was like as Sir John Soane said to paraphrase “the interior conveyed the poetry of the structure” so there was no need for embellishments. And the bar also had rough yellow pine wood flooring that had seen better days. The bar serving counter top and panelling was also of old yellow pine wood and was located straight ahead as you entered, and behind that stood on long yellow pine shelving bottles of different coloured hues and brand labels upon them. The centre of the bar-room was a large open space, whilst the pine tables and chairs, that were set two rows deep, lined up parallel against the side of the walls to the left and right as you entered into the pub. I was really surprised at the layout of this public house, because I was expecting to see a colonial period interior with its distinctive private booths, or that it might have had a British countryside pub interior with all dark hardwood.

It went silent as we entered the bar room together, all adult eyes were locked onto me and not him, they knew Ben well it seemed as a regular and found it unusual that he brought a girl into the Bar with him that night, and Ben then proceeded to introduce me to the bartender as “this is my girl”, as I said before Ben being possessive was a trait and he said it that way, hence my italic emphasis on the word ‘my’, that is ‘His Girl‘ as in being his exclusive girlfriend, and not by my christian name, that he only called me in private as in ‘Mava’. And I considered in Ben saying that I was his girl as an honour, but gave no indication of it, that is, I wasn’t used to boys giving me titled compliments, as it was in England the words of a battle that boys would say “Let’s get her!” at the begin of a physical fight to beat me up (again), so I had no idea how to react in response like other girls would do in this situation, and whom were used to being in a boy’s company romantically. Therefore, I thought that Ben was thus now making a declaration man-to-man for the bartender to know of my status to Ben as a sign of manliness. I shyly said “hello”, and the bartender, who was I guess in his late fifties, said hello back to me and smiled a welcome, respectfully, with the right amount of formality.

And that’s the only person to whom Ben introduced me to in the bar-room, no one dared approach nor say anything, it remained dead silent for the whole duration that we were in there. Yes, Ben, aged as a twelve year old boy, no-one questioned him, he had very much a quiet authority about him and he carried himself thus. We stood at the bar counter, just us, Ben and I, as we had the bar serving counter to ourselves as we stood, with no other bar tending patrons alongside. And Ben then brought me a fizzy drink, with a straw that came with it, and not drunk straight out of the bottle as that would have been most unlady-like. And this beverage happened to be my very first fizzy drink, as up until then I was drinking juice/squash only, and thus I got the taste for ginger beer from him. I giggled girlishly at the bubbles that it made. As I drank the bubbles went up my nose, and that made Ben smile. We stayed until I finished my fizzy drink, as it was still a long walk returning to Grandma’s home, and Ben wanted to ensure I got back safely by nine o’clock at night and that is without any questions of impropriety being called into our romantic date. Ben behaved like a well-mannered gentleman thoroughout that whole time that belied his age of twelve. And nope, just in case yous were wondering too, Ben never made a comment upon my dress, believe me when I say, that night, clichéd as it may sound, Ben only had eyes for me.

Ben also taught me how to French Kiss; not peck kiss, he knew how expertly and I was a quick learner in this, and enjoyed every single last one of those embraces; he gave them well with just the right amount of intensity to get his feelings across, with the right amount of touch to the my lips and tongue. And the French Kiss technique was my very first heterosexual kiss at the advanced level straight off as a sexual engagement in showing loving affection at nine years old. Okay, you wanna know, yes I did manage to caress that chest of Ben’s, as much as I wanted to, and by which I made the most of the touching Ben’s chest opportunities to do so! Whilst Ben held onto my waist span tightly and firmly. He was in full control of his physical manhood at all times, nor took it any further when he held me, and not once did he lose it which was remarkable for a boy his age, moreless a grown man, and for that I admired his self-regard in looking out for my self-respect. All contact with each other was done fully clothed at all times and yes, I kept my NHS eye-glasses on whilst we French kissed, sometimes I took them off on my own accord. Ben didn’t mind either way, because he said he didn’t when I asked him at one point in a mid French-kissing session, when we came up for breathe briefly before continuing with locking lips. Ben, still French-kissed me anyway without any issue on my eye-glasses getting in his way, besides I found that nothing was ever going to deter him in reaching my lips, I smile at the memories, which was the primary focus afterall.

And that’s all we did in Grandma’s bedroom, however, we didn’t end up in that room straight away. No, and I still smile at the memory of Ben leading me so very manly and masterfully from room to room until he found one that he favoured, and that room ended up being Grandma’s bedroom!! And I guess you wanna know why? That was because that room was dim-lighted, with two windows with wooden shutters that blocked out the harsh afternoon sunlight, although some light still filtered through the gaps. However the bedroom still alluded to also giving Ben and I some much needed privacy; sometimes both of us standing together to French kiss in the middle of room, and for a change, sometimes with me sitting, that was to bring us level head to head to make it easier to French kiss, on Grandma’s high mounted bed (see sample picture opposite on the right) that was situated right under one of the windows in the bedrooom on the right-hand side against the wall, and the bed was made of hardwood mahogany as the framework, with two hard unyielding mattresses that had a woollen multi-coloured crocheted blanket laying on top of it.

And you may well ask how I got up there as it was a high mounted bed and the fact being back then in 1974, that I was in height an average nine year old girl. For the answer be, even though Ben did offer to lift me up onto it, as a gentlemanly gesture, but in my mind with regards to my body, although Ben was bigger and larger than me, I still thought I would have been too heavy, so turned that thoughtful gesture down, and thus I worked out quickly a dignified way to accomplish this, so that I could still look into Ben’s eyes and upon his face without turning from him for not even for a moment. Besotted with him. So the solution I put into practice on this, with Ben watching every movement attentively, was that I would get upon Grandmama’s bed by hitching the back of my heel into the ridge edge of the two mattresses where they met, as to gain a stable foot-hold, and hoisted myself up onto the top of the bed backwards.  And this very maneuver would always bring a smile from Ben as he watched, and then he would be standing right before me in-between my legs thereafter, and we’d French kiss, as these session lasted for quite a while, and we were in no hurry and Ben always wanted to be sure I was comfortable first and foremost!

For under Ben’s guidance and experience, from this I was slowly and steadily evolving in the next phase of a ‘child-woman‘ meaning a natural female quality inborne at a young age, that is innocent yet mature at the same time, as to be aware of herself as a woman yet still remaining a child-like girl; for the rest of their life as they are already complete within as a person, and I myself, in this instance was sexually awakened in the best possible way, that was by Ben a twelve year old ‘mannish-boy‘, meaning a natural male quality inborne at a young age, in showing authority and awareness as a grown man, yet still remaining to be a youthful spirited boy; for the rest of their life as they are already complete within as a person, as in this instance this was so much of Ben’s behaviour for him to be termed as a ‘mannish-boy’, who was also very caring and never took advantage, of that fact of me, as in my female sexual development being a ‘child-woman’.

And what the ‘child-woman’ and ‘mannish-boy’ have in common with each other, is that there is no mental phases of ‘growing up’, so its usually pointless for anyone to say to either a ‘child-woman’ or ‘mannish-boy’ as to attempt the correction of any behaviour in the phrase of “oh grow up” in the form of rebuke, as in what they do, as its completely normal for the ‘child-woman’ and ‘mannish-boy’ to behave the way they do, in whatever activities that presents itself. They can never change but only become more of what they already are from within themselves; they evolve and enhance. For there is only the child-woman’s and mannish-boy’s physical maturity that is left to be experienced, which includes having sexual contact at some stage, and that of life situations and that includes developing their academic intelligence further, which is vital to fit in with the general society. And some enlightened familial members understand this quite well and how to handle the matter to their credit. In fact ours, Ben and me, in this union, was the perfect romantic match as a couple, and that’s why I have fond memories: in blossoming. And I have to make a statement here and say that in all honesty, I couldn’t have wished for better.

And Grandma did know about Ben and I, and what we were doing in there, ah couldn’t get anything pass Grandma. I think by that time I got her respect rather than her blessing, because the entire time in Grandma’s company I never made a single fuss about doing the domestic chores she set for me, I did so with a clean heart, instead of arguing about the unfairness of it all. And Grandma never told on Ben and me to anyone; not even my mother, perhaps Grandma knew she’d only turn it into something seedy, which it wasn’t, and I’ve never wanted that memory of my experience with Ben ever to be corrupted into something that it wasn’t but really was — romance.

Hence, mother only heard what I’d been up to when we got back to London, England, when mother did overhear me recounting my holiday romance, to my older half-sister and her friend (never knew how going to all those parties in Jamaica helped my older half-sister enjoy her holiday though, she didn’t seemed to have had a good time, as she mentioned nothing from them, like who she met there or anything, so no I wasn’t envious nor did I have any reason to be, that is, as Ben made sure I enjoyed myself!!) because my mother was listening behind the door all that time, and she only interrupted my re-telling at the point of the French kissing part that had gone on between Ben and I, as she opened the door only to smilingly have said “you shouldn’t have been doing that” half-heartedly, but no it wasn’t a severe rebuke nor did I get a beating for such behavior; not even from my step-father, because I was most of all trusted and my mental maturity was showing at that age, and nothing was ever mentioned to me again from the adults nor anyone else. And no, it didn’t adversely affect my sexual behaviour as I was growing up whatsoever, I remained a virgin for sometime after, and studious and boring to everyone else.

And my love of gardening also came from Ben, as I went with him to help water his mother’s garden one morning at dawn, he was surprised that I was willing to do such a menial task with him and so early in the morning at the crack of dawn, but I did so because I wanted to, he was such good company and made me feel relaxed for the first time in my life, and funnily enough I trusted him completely in everything we did and I was proved right for trusting him by the end of the holiday.

And the large square front-facing garden (and I’ll estimate it was about minimum 600 sq ft., that is, casting my mind back) was very much beyond my expectation and beautiful and well-tended by him, and I still remember its layout to this day; it had lots of dark leaved trees to keep it shady from the sun, with the biggest and grandest tree of which held centre stage in a circular bedding arrangement that was on the right, the rest of the trees were along the low brick wall, and the dark leaved hedging slightly growing above the wall, that is, all of these tree placements planted so close to each other, gave a peek-a-boo effect, between the leaves, as it still filtered thorough the early morning sun-light, but all of which still managed to secure the Arylide yellow coloured, with a red bead curtain hanging over the front doorway, bungalow’s privacy from the main road, whilst also still managing to convey a homely feel, with the main part of the brown brick paving was the drive-way forecourt which was on the left, and all of the under-planting of dark leaved flora that grew under the central grand looking tree, was chock-full of shade loving plants, I was impressed because it was growing in very neat little mounds, which seemed quite distinctive, as I’d never seen plants grow in that formation. Oh and how we sprayed each other with water from the hose-pipe until we were drenched! but dried off quickly because of the sunshine being hot throughout the remaining part of the day, so there was no need to change clothes.

And at the end of the four weeks, as Ben and I said good-bye to each other at Grandmama’s home, it was a feeling of a ‘bonding’ experience having taken place between us, more than a finalised ending. And yes, as an early memory, I still remember this Jamaican holiday until today. For my only long haul flight to another country, in this travel journey, the time I’d spent there impacted subtle but remained always there in my unconscience (and now recorded here on this blog), and how it shaped my life as to be content within my own skin and to trust my own instincts.

And another thing I learnt whilst on this four week Jamaican holiday was an appreciation of an unhurried pace of life, that had been unknown to me, living as I did in a Capital City, which I became ever grateful for, moreso as I got older, back in London, England, it was a nice early memory to have been left with, in the other people I met along the way too. Thank you.

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