Zinnia

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A woman invades my privacy for scheming reasons.

Submitted: January 12, 2020

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Submitted: January 12, 2020

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Zinnia

The Vodoun scene in the streets of Havana caught my attention. Three women stood on the edges of a circle of twelve people. Other Africans gathered around them as they chanted and hit the drums. The words were in Spanish and an African language called
Pago. I was uncertain what they were saying. The chant wounded like a ritualistic call
to the spirits called the Loas.

There were no Ougan or Manbos in white dress, as they are priests and priestesses ofthe religion. They lead the call to the spirits. Instead, an older man chanted and called out spirits loudly. More people came around the circle, clapping, chanting, and
singing. They remained on the end of the inner circle. A large basket shaped like a nest
with a handle held a slaughtered young cock.

As the girls played their drums, the wind picked up slightly. I watched for a few minutes. The bus tour had dropped guests off for an hour at the Via Monumental road
near the Old Fort. The Castillo De Los Tres Reyes Del Morro area was by the channel,
where people gathered along the old buildings and terraced banks lined with stone
fences after four in the afternoon.

They carried on with their music, singing, drinking, and entertainment. It was lively and merry-making occurred every evening. It was earlier than that time.

The people gathered earlier than most people for these celebrations. It was three in the afternoon, too early for the festivities. I walked around four streets in each direction to
and from the central plaza, since the streets were not marked. I had no map and did
not speak a word of Spanish. I took notice of the cops and street vendors.

I should have known the Vodoun was a kind of premonition. The next year would be a roller coaster ride, but I had no inkling of that scenario as I toured the Old Fort District
of Havana, the capital of Cuba.

An unattractive young woman from Toronto kept making rude remarks about fellow tour passengers on the bus. She spent most of the afternoon having her pictures taken
by her friend. I found her arrogant behavior irritating, so I broke off from the group
and went on my own for the next hour.

As I walked up and down the cobblestone-paved streets, I was approached by all sorts of street vendors. Most of their activities were illegal but ignored by the government,
according to the tour director. The bus left at five in the evening, owing to the three-
hour drive back to Varadero. The night would be pitch-black dark like charcoal when the bus returned to the hotel.

The sun went down between six and seven in Cuba during the winter. I had stood in a church one evening around six, and suddenly, the entire room went black. I managed to find my way outside. There are few street lights, lamps, or street signs in Cuba. It is
as if people just know how to find their way around.

The sound of the drums faded in the distance as I thought of these matters. I hated walking in the dark. My resort faded into the woodwork, something I was not about to
do. I first arrived in Cuba on January 3rd.

I placed my items in the room and struggled with the electrical outlets, as electricity is unreliable at best in most Communist countries. Communism creates mass poverty,
exploitation, and electrical shortages, but that topic is another matter for another time.

Curiously, I noticed the mosquitoes and rolling electrical shortages immediately. In Cuba, locals were lucky to even have access to clean water and electricity, let alone heat at night.

The government was more than willing to provide these services and benefits to tourists at hotels, however, though they could never come up with a cohesive plan to
provide basic services on a private or public level for the natives. In Cuba, the natives
kept praising the 1959 revolution.

This mentality struck me as an aging Communist slogan that sounded and looked fresh at the time. It had lost its relevance fifty years ago. The buildings were falling apart,
much like the rest of the place. Infrastructure was not maintained. The revolution was
not, either, and had not really achieved any progress except for food stipends for the
mostly poor and neglected at the fringes of society.

I heard about these inclinations from natives and the tour directors. One day on vacation, I was walking along the canal in the hotel district of Varadero. I had left Club
Kawama, the hotel I was staying at and do not recommend unless you are fond of
mosquitoes, dirty sheets, and unreliable air conditioning, and walked along the road.
Sadly, I was jet-lagged, slightly drunk, and exhausted.

The situation involved the flight was nearly unbearable. Two insufferably long layovers, twelve hours at Edmonton International Airport, and sixteen hours at Toronto Pearson
International Airport had contributed to my misery. I am certain that my macrocytic anemia contributed to my lackadaisacal and sore feeling as well, though the illness is now in remission.

Walks usually helped with oxygen deprivation and revved up my cells, so I decided to check out the local scenery and beaches. As I passed one of the local bus stops, three
people came up to me. I ignored them until they stood in a line by the bus stop. I was
reading over the schedule and locations in English and Spanish, when they approached
me without respect for boundaries.

They pulled up their pants and shirt sleeves, baring olive skin. They requested fifty pesos for fifteen minutes in the bathroom. At first, I was uncertain what they were
offering. The thought never entered my mind. Then, with complete horror, I realized
they were soliciting me over and over. Quickly, I left.

I had read that prostitution was a problem in Cuba, but was not expecting to discover the tragedy on the roadside. In shock and in a daze, I promptly picked up my bag and
kept moving without a word. They watched as I moved quickly away, horrifed by the
suggestion of what they wanted.

When I came home, I unpacked and slept for two days. On Saturday evening, a young woman broke into my apartment and looked for my roommate, Jamal. Jamal was a
Jamaican man from Kingston. He had grown up in Kingston, Ontario as well.

He had Canadian citizenship in addition to Jamaican citizenship. She looked around in search of him and was unable to find him, so she left. She was still living with her
boyfriend at the time.

She was interested in causing problems for me, so she tracked Jamal down online and seduced him. Though he was gay, he had a hard time resisting certain types of women.
The prowler was stalking.

When she found he was not in the house, she left and followed him to a nightclub. She showed up yelling and complaining at the top of her lungs at one in the morning. I
immediately knew who she was and what her motivation was. She had a desire to track
me down and was motived by outlying factors.

She slept with him that night and was horrified when I confronted her. I told her to shut up and exactly what I would do to her if she ever came around again. She recently
dyed her hair blonde. I worked the next day. I believe I was at a pharmacy in
Penticton. The shift finished in the early afternoon. My new job required constant
movement between stores. After I left, I drove home with friends.

My friend was there and he was jealous of the photos I showed of my trip to Cuba. He showed a picture his girlfriend that she emailed of herself, and she had dyed her hair
blonde recently. It was the same girl who broke into my apartment in search of Jamal.

I knew it was her, what with the same name and look. I was horrified but not surprised. As for my friend, I was uncertain what he knew. He was let off on the roadside near where he lived.

Frustrated, I blurted out to Juicy that this girl was the same woman who showed up with my roommate for sex the night before. I begged her not to tell him. I believe he
found out, anyway. I accidentally mentioned that I had trouble sleeping the night
before as we were walking in the afternoon.

He asked me why, and I told him that my roommate had brought home a girl from the bar, and she was blonde and very loud. He did not ask any other questions. I suppose
he could have put two and two together and made four with it, but after that, he
became distant towards me.

Our good relations were marred by a mixed reaction on his part for months. It was as if he blamed me for the actions of his girlfriend, though I had absolutely nothing to do with the event. I was blindsided by it and then punished doubly for it.

A few months later, I walked by the house that my friend and his girlfriend lived in. Iwas suspicious that they had moved to the neigborhood I lived in, though I was
uncertain as to why. I kept seeing silver and black coupes drive by. The black car was
parked outside. There was a large silver minivan.

She had parked the black coupe sideways, in the middle of the lawn. She was outside and looking at tulips with her friend. She began screaming, pulling her hair, and making threats. Her friend left and said goodbye.

I was walking down the pathway and turned to the park when I came upon this scene. She began yelling my friends name as she ripped out his tulips. She kept yelling that
she hated the tulips he planted as well as the location of the garden. She began to
make threats to herself while yelling and talking to herself. She began threatening him
as well, though he was not there.

Angrily, she kicked receptacles for recycling, yard waste, and garbage that he had positioned along the right side of the drive way. She kicked and turned them over, then threw them around.

Now in a full-out temper tantrum bordering on a seizure, she started swearing repeatedly, threatening him, and ripping out grass from the yard with her hands. Her
friend came back five minutes later and calmed her down, as she knelt over the
concrete and held her hands to her stomach as if she had a burst appendix. Personally,
I wish that she did.

She kicked her car tires and then looked at her car, realizing that she was damaging her own property. She struck me as too narcissistic to damage something of her own. Her boyfriend was more appealing to hurt than herself.

The car was really belonged to my friend and he let her use it, but she considered thecar her own. She also stole his gas card and Starbucks card given to him by his parents. She drove around town in his silver coupe and followed people around. Iencountered her three times, once when I left the library on foot, another time when Iwas leaving Starbucks downtown, and once after I left the gym, having canceled my membership there.

One time, when my friend came back from a road trip with the inventory company, he learned that his car had been towed. He had to pay over $250 to have it returned. He called her and she refused to come down, get his luggage, and take him home. She refused to help him with getting the car back.

She often took his car from the lot where he left it when we went on road trips, without his permission. He had to call to get her to pick him up. He had banned her from using
his silver coupe, which he considered to be his car. I thought this behavior was just
another aspect of her self-absorbed narcissistic and opportunistic tendencies.

 


© Copyright 2020 SN Kjaerbaek. All rights reserved.

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