In the lush surroundings of a small island in the southeastern Caribbean Sea, a small town named Marabella bustled with the vibrant work of village life. Women worked in various roles from community organizers to domestic work—washing clothes in big tin tubs and hanging them to dry outdoors behind their tiny clapboard homes.
It was the end of the work day and folks began to arrive back from their jobs — in the city 30 miles due north or the oilfields of Pointe-a-Pierre just 2 miles to the north.
John Miles, a tall salted-caramel brown young man of 20 years,worked in the oilfields and lived in the next township over, San Fernando. But, he always passed through Marabella on his way home. It was the promise of warm saltfish and bake that called him, and the hope for a dip in Jyacinth’s sweet honeypot that kept him coming back.
On this particularly warm evening, Jyacinth Meadows, a short coffee-bean colored woman with midnight blue eyes and thick long locks that coiled beautifully from her scalp to reach the middle of her back, sat on her front porch with a cool glass of sorrel. She was determined not to let John in until they discussed a future. She was a single mother after all, and needed to consider the welfare of her children now and in the years to come. John had always left money after his visits, but she thought they were beyond where they had started ten months ago and it was time to move their relationship forward.
John liked Jyacinth a lot. He craved her cooking and the warm softness of her skin, she always smelled like coconut oil mixed with a hint of vanilla and sugar cane. He cared about her, but Matilda Lennon held his heart. Matilda was the type of woman you marry and Jyacinth was the type you — well, kept on the side.
When John arrived at Jyacinth’s, he was surprised to meet her on the front step. He usually made his way along the side of her house and snuck quietly in through the backyard to keep the talk down in her small nosey community. It was 1920 and being a single mother was scandalous enough, even in the Caribbean.
“Cin, what you doin out here? You forget I was comin by?” John asked.
“Oh no, Johnnie Miles, I remember. I feels we have some talkin to do befores you eats,” she stood and placed her hands on her wide curvy hips and looked him square in the eyes. Her dark eyes pierced his core.
“Uh, ok, Cin. What you wanna talk abouts today? I ain’t got much time. You know Tildy will be waiting on me to, uh, to uh help her finish her floors in the front room,” he stuttered.
“Yes, I knows about you helping Ms. Matilda Lennon, but what I don’t knows is your intentions towards me and my chirren. I loves looking after you John, wash your clothes, cook you supper, lays with you when you lonely. I’s yo wife John and it’s time you made me official,” she stared unwavering.
“Uh, well. Oh, Cin. You know I cares for you a whole lot. I do! But I always told you my intentions to marry Tildy. In fact, I’m fixin to ask her this weekend. I’ll still take care of ya, as best I can, but I loves Tildy,” he pleaded with her to understand.
“Johnnie Miles if you leave my home this evening and run to that… that woman,” she said it like an insult. “Your marriage will be doomed and for generations to come, your family will never know a happy union beyon’ ten years. That’s one year I give you for every month you lay with me!”
“Cin, you real good at whippin up remedies, but I ain’t bout to change my life on threat of some crazy curse you think gon make me scared. We are what we eva gon be and that’s got to be enough! Now quit this nonsense talk and let’s go on in for the sun get low,” he demanded.
“No, Johnnie Miles. Say you marry me or leave my house this instant!” she stood her ground.
John thought about smacking her for her sass, thought about dragging her by her hair inside the house, but he wasn’t a violent man. He just wanted her to stop this nonsense! He was hungry, tired, and just wanted her warmth.
He paused and thought deeply. He raked his hands through his thick, curly black hair before looking up to meet her willful gaze.
“Ok Cin, let’s get married,” he acquiesced and opted not to cause a scene that might well reach the ears of Matilda, one town over.
Jyacinth smiled, “Really Johnnie? Really? Oh you makes me so happy. I knew you loves me too!”
She hugged and kissed his face as he took her elbow to lead her into the house.
And while he ate and made love to Cin that evening, John knew all the while he never intended to keep his word. He proposed to Tildy the next day and never went back to Cin.
Image by Pixabay
About Passion’s Curse
Julissa “Juli” Miles Watford is a dutiful wife and mother of three, busying herself with housework and kids’ activities. Born in upstate New York to immigrant parents from the Caribbean, she has fully embraced the American dream, but a strong tropical force threatens to destroy her happy home when her sister casually mentions an old family curse. A sense of doom grips Juli as she learns the curse means to do in her marriage to Rob. Stress and pressure begin to mount as Juli notices Rob is actually pulling away physically and emotionally. When her attempts at reconciliation fail, Juli seeks comfort and solace in a newly budding friendship — what harm could come from just talking. Jim enters her life quite surprisingly, making her feel sexy, seen, and safe again. Will her friendship with Jim help save her marriage or bring it crashing to the ground as the curse foretells? Follow Juli’s turbulent adventure as she braves this tropical storm to face down the family curse and live life anew on her own terms.