It was my first time back to Dominica since being a young boy. We had moved to England when my father got a promising job opportunity. When he passed away four months ago, some of our last conversations were about visiting the nature isle. After all, home is home. An adrenaline of desire pulsed through me, I had so much to re-discover but first I needed to eat! Walking passed the market, hundreds of colors blending beautifully. The air cool, fresh after a recent rainfall while the sun remains present like a guardian angel, felt but not seen.
Vendors all lined along the already narrow sidewalk, shouting out varied vegetables and their prices, “Carrot! Five dollars a pound!” and another, “You doh want some tomato, sir?”
Politely dismissing with a gentle but firm nod, distracted I walked right into someone. Even though it was my fault, she stumbles back and with “I’m sorry”.
She looks up, blushing at her clumsiness, taking mine as if the trait were owned by her. In mere seconds, her eyes are the most honest ones I’d yet seen in my life.
She smiled, looking down at the ground and as she prepared to leave, continue on her journey… but to where? I needed to know, I had to have more of those eyes.
“Excuse me, do you know where I could get a good local lunch?”
She laughs awkwardly and starts to think, “Um, well what exactly did you have in mind; fish, chicken or…? I’m looking for food too, do you want to follow me?”
She walked as though more clueless than me, seemed confused and uncertain until we arrived at the restaurant. She pointed out the choices and gave some feedback then we ordered and sat to eat.
Her name was Teresa and she had big eyes, a pointed nose, leprechaun ears and small pink lips. Her teeth though far from straight only added more to her already quirky personality. Her smile was bright, easy to love.
She spoke at times with great certainty, through everything I saw this sway between firm and gentle. A definite wild card, still figuring out herself, but quite present with whom she was at the moment. An open book, trying to be a guarded spirit, to no real success.
I had ordered a large fig and codfish, she had fish and salad with a medium passion fruit juice.
Coming to the end of our meal, she ate with an apparent self awareness, minding each chew, every sip. It made me smile, on the inside. I thought it cute, her effort was one I’d rarely had the opportunity to witness.
Most of the girls I frequented were use to fine dining as they exited the womb, her indifference called to me.