...really a strange path one that has taken many a turn and cycles from the moment I left my comfortable environs in the Caribbean to embark on this American adventure. I came to NYC in 1990 and made a decision to never look back. It was a move that was greatly anticipated, getting out from a smaller island with limited opportunities was key so my mental survival, I just couldn't be there anymore and plus, the course I wanted to study was not offered on the island so off to NYC I went. This was totally wild because I really wanted to go to London, living in NYC was a dream that I thought would never happen but here I was in NY in Queens; more than happy to be mall shopping, hanging out, making use of the super long days and connecting with all my scattered friends.
Well little did I know that my happy would come to a halt as efficient as a car with anti lock brakes. My hosts - one Marcel & Keith were to say the least, neurotic. Dangerously in love with their new house and carpet and dining room and pots and pans and bathroom and, well I could go on and on. I walked into a dominators world. Keith controlled Marcel, the clothes she wore, to how much money was spent to what make up she put on to how everything was basically done and Marcel willingly submitted and obliged to his bullshit. Keith was a piece of work - in a word, an asshole of major proportion. I couldn't open the windows, talk to certain folks on the block. And chores, seems like I couldn't do any of them right. The bathroom - not good enough, the pots - umm little bits of food dried, not good enough. Ooooh I left crumbs on the table and bits on the floor. My room wasn't tidy - hello I'm a college student of 19yrs old having a super tidy room with one tiny closet is not my major priority. I always thought that Keith was jealous of me, jealous that I was going to school, took no shit and I also had a personality that would not be dominated but instead pushed back, and for that he didn't like me and would no sooner love to see the back of me. Every coat I attempted to buy was followed by - "oh yes don't buy x or y because when you go back home" Oh he was in a hurry to have me get the hell out and it wasn't even 2mths yet!!! He was obsessed with his carpet! And would question me on if I was walking over it when I came home from school and no one was around. People were met at the door and he comadered their shoes off! No one dined on the dining table and the home and its contents were basically worshipped. In my opinion, the house wasn't really that great and he always seemed stupid to me. My attitude must have conveyed that because we were frequently at odds. They were constantly calling my mom - collect I might add. To relentlesly complain and Marcel took the helm of her husband's madness. She conveyed and was his mouthpiece. He worked her like a dumb puppet all the while hiding an infedelity so great it would only hit the fan in about 15 years.
After suffering many indignities along with him trying to screw me over on filing with the INS in hopes of ruining my opportunities here; I was asked to leave. Aaah yes, they'd no way of knowing where I'd go, where I would sleep. I truly though they thought that I'd have to go right on back home. Yes I was told I had nowhere to live on my way back to B'klyn, a week before Christmas and the same week I found out that my Grandmother had died. Then the final insult. When I came to get my things I wasn't even given a ride by my "hosts" to B'klyn, I was made to bum a ride with friends who were visiting. The smugness, the rudeness and the shear lack of any humanity from these 2 were enough. But the sabotage did not work, I was not thrown out of the country, barred from returning or faltered at my studies. Instead I soldiered on.
The room in B'klyn was at the home of my paternal cousin's paternal relatives - yeah that used to take a lot of explaining. Lots of people there, warm friendly and big family. There were days where I wished I could be alone but all in all it was better than nothing, I could go to school, do what I had to do and be at peace. But with a rising request of more funds from my cousin's aunt and an impending graduation; well I knew it was time to move on and I wanted out of deep B'klyn; 6yrs was enough so I got an offer for a room mate situation in none other that upper Manhattan complete with a view of the big city.
This was airy and big and I felt like I was sitting on top of the world! My roommate was a friend's old school friend and was an aspiring actress and singer who was way too in love with herself and the apartment that wasn't even her's. I mean it was a rental, you don't own a rental after all. She soon left to California to pursue her acting dream in the sea of other hopeful starlets and the apt. was left to me and my now gone roomate's mutual friend. We lived it up, and it was so liberating to not be under someone else's roof dealing with all their dumb shit. But that too was short lived and soon the insecurities of Ms. Starlette and her need to feel like she was in control of her apt. and in effect, us 2 soon led us to pack up and unceremoniously leave for 4 blocks down. That moving situation melted down into a need to have our dear starlette arrested and kept overnight while we got the hell out.
Riverside drive would be my next lovely home for the next 3yrs - by then my roommate had had a baby and I realized that it was time to stop paying rent and move onto test the ownership waters by buying a condo in Jersey City - yes affordable led me and my boyfriend to get out of the greater NYC area and after the world of Condo and personalities could do no more and 6 glorious years - now I'm in a house and home ownership is a whole 'nother world for my husband and I. But I figured I've come a long way and climbed many a rung on some strange ladders. Looking back is crazy and I always knew that when I was having all those wacky experiences that I'd be looking back and laughing, I knew they had to happen; a trial by fire of sorts. Hey what can you do. I survived some living hells. But for Marcel & Keith - right now, I cannot ever forgive them for what they did. Maybe one day I will but treating anyone the way they treated me is just unreal! Now they're divorced, good old Keith had twin daughters all along the time I was there, unknown to his dear and obeying wife, then he had 2 more illegitimate ones with some other fool - all while married to dear old puppet wife, and it was only then she stuck a fork in him and was done. She just found out about the twins - ha. I thought, all the time that he was giving me hell, he had a dirty little secret to keep. I wish I'd known I woulda blackmailed the shit outta him. I tell ya life is strange and it comes back to bite you in several different ways.