A Good Black Woman

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Stereotypes. We all have to deal with them. My name is Nelly Francesca Sylvain. I’m 24 years old. Just a young Black woman living in the City of Cap-Haitien, Northern Haiti. I attend the University of Roi Henri Christophe, where I study business administration. I am a naturalized Canadian citizen since 2000 but I opted to study in my homeland of Haiti for a year after the deadly quake of 2010. I wanted to reconnect with my people. Nothing like the largest natural disaster in the history of humankind to remind Haitian men and Haitian women living in the United States of America, Canada, Latin America and Europe where home really is. My professors at McGill University in the City of Montreal, Province of Quebec, had no objections to my transfer. I adapted really well to university life in the second largest town in the Republic of Haiti. It’s where my parents came from, you know?

As a six-foot-tall, beautifully dark-skinned Black woman with an Amazonian physique and a big butt, I attract a lot of attention on and off campus. I can have any man I want. The Black men in the City of Cap-Haitien are something else. They all think they’re smooth-talking players. Must be something in the water. Yeah, lots of these sexy Black men want me. However, the one I want is my long-time friend Steve Rocher. He’s 22 years old but that’s his physical age, not his mental age. The guy isn’t the most mature person in the world. He was born and raised in the City of Miami, in the State of Florida. His Haitian-American parents Michel and Andrea Rocher sent him to the Republic of Haiti for the summer because he’s a troublemaker. He flunked out of Miami Dade College and his folks got fed up with him. I remember Steve from vacations my family used to take in places like Miami, Boston and Houston. The last time I spent any time with him was during a trip to Fort Lauderdale. We had a good time, even though he was dating a white bitch named Amy at the time.

Now, Steve Rocher is in his parents homeland of Haiti with me and he’s single. There are no white women around. I’m hoping we could have something, you know? Unfortunately, some men are so damn fickle it’s not even funny. The one thing they need could be right in front of them and they refuse to go and grab it. To pass the time and prove to his parents that he wasn’t just a screw-up, Steve Rocher enrolled at the University of Roi Henri Christophe in downtown Cap-Haitien. He speaks heavily accented Haitian Creole filled with English words because he grew up in Florida. I speak really smooth Haitian Creole and classic French because I grew up in the Haitian-dominated sector of Montreal-Nord in the region of Quebec, Canada. I want this man so badly it hurts. We’re completely different, though. He’s around five-foot-eleven, slightly chubby, with an angelic face. Nothing angelic about who he really is, though. Steve Rocher has never met a pussy he doesn’t like. Except mine, that is.

Just like all Haitian men I know, he can’t resist the thrill of the chase. He canlı bahis got in trouble with a certain Hispanic guy in the town of Ouanaminthe in Northeast Haiti. The small town of Ouanaminthe is right on the border between the Republic of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Some Dominican guys come to Ouanaminthe to bang the local Haitian women. That doesn’t sit well with a lot of the Haitian men, who have a habit of killing Dominican guys for sport. The Dominican guys are scared shitless of the angry Black guys so they stay the hell away from the local Black women. Unfortunately for them, the Dominican women are curious about Black guys. Lots of pretty Dominican ladies cross the border to fool around with virile young Haitian men.

As you can imagine, the Dominican guys don’t like that. Steve doesn’t understand the racial politics of Haitians and Dominicans. Side effect of growing up in racially diverse Miami, Florida, where everybody basically dates everybody. Well, in the Caribbean my favorite fool would learn the error of his ways. Or not. He banged this bronze-skinned chubby Dominican chick named Isabella and was surprised that her Dominican boyfriend Ernesto and his buddies got mad. The Dominican guys went after Steve. If I hadn’t been there, he’d be dead. We used my motorcycle to get away. Afterwards, Steve promised to change his ways. Three days later some old geezer in Quartier Morin beat him up with a stick because he made a pass at the old guy’s recently married daughter. I guess he’s never going to change.

Sometimes I wonder how come Steve never made a pass at me. He’s always respectful toward me. One time, we were hanging out at a bar and some drunk dude grabbed my ass. Before I could smack the drunk fool for squeezing my apple bottom, Steve decked him. Steve never hits on me, but he gets really hostile when other guys make moves on me. And he’s always fooling around with other women. Sometimes, I just don’t understand men. They say that women are the mysterious sex but I say men are even more complicated. Seriously. Men don’t know what they want. Of course, when all else fails, they blame us women for anything that goes wrong. Case in point? I’m the first person Steve calls when something isn’t right. Seriously, he hits the panic button all the time.

Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen. My cell phone is ringing. It’s Steve, and since it’s eleven o’clock at night, that means he’s drunk somewhere and needs me to pick him up. I grumble, and curse myself for caring about his dumb ass. Then I go to this night club located in the Champ De Mars neighborhood of metropolitan Cap-Haitien. I get on my motorcycle, grab my helmet and speed after him. Sometimes I wonder what the fool would do without me. Seriously. I enter the club, and the guys stop and stare lustfully while the women roll their eyes and purse their lips. Men crave me and women hate me. I’m a beautiful woman, it’s part of the game. I find Steve in a corner, and he’s got bruises all over him. He’s talking to the bouncer, a bahis siteleri burly Black guy in his thirties. I ask Steve what’s going on. He stares at me as if he doesn’t recognize me. The bouncer tells me that some guys came in with their girlfriends and got mad when one of the girls danced with Steve. They got into a fight. Steve got beat up before the bouncers intervened. They were seriously debating whether or not to toss him out of the club when he begged them to let him call his ride. Me. I shook my head. Wow. This guy is too much! He’s a magnet for trouble!

I slapped Steve’s face to get him to focus. He grunted and smiled clownishly. I helped him out of the club, and basically strapped him to me as I drove away on my motorcycle. I drove to Bel-Air, a nice part of Cap-Haitien, where I rent an apartment. I drove to this spot called Loge Haitienne, and entered house number eighteen. My apartment. I helped Steve up the stairs. I basically carried his drunk ass. I dropped him on my couch. I sat there, shook my head and lit a cigarette. I don’t usually smoke but I do it sometimes to calm my nerves. Filthy habit, eh? I know. I’m trying to quit. Steve isn’t helping. He keeps getting into these shitty situations and I got to rescue to him because I’m the only one who gives a damn about his miserable life. I watched him as he slept. He looked really cute while asleep. Five feet eleven inches tall, slightly chubby, with light brown skin and pale gray eyes. His father is half Black and half White. Steve got his gray eyes and lighter skin colour from him. He’s a really handsome guy, I must admit. Too bad he’s such a dumb ass. At some point, I fell asleep. Cursing myself for being this fool’s unsung hero.

When I woke up, my apartment was buzzing with activity. I found myself staring into the handsome, jovial face of my favorite drunkard. Steve Rocher. He was smiling as he ate some eggs and drank some orange juice. Apparently, he’d helped himself to the contents of my fridge. I had to buy a Delco generator for power because 24/7 electricity is still a pipe dream in certain parts of the island of Haiti. Steve pushed a plate of eggs, bread and coffee in front of me. Smiling, he told me he made breakfast. I stared at him, dumbfounded. He smiled and told me to eat. Reluctantly, I ate my breakfast. Hmmm. Not bad. Sometimes I don’t think Steve can boil water. I forget that he was a culinary science major at Miami Dade College. He’s one hell of a cook. After I finished my breakfast, he told me we had to talk. I agreed. We definitely did.

Steve sat me down and talked to me. My favorite drunkard/trickster/womanizer looked me straight in the eyes and told me that he was eternally thankful for my help. I rolled my eyes, and told him this was the last time I saved his ass. Steve looked at me gravely, and told me something which wrenched my heart. He told me that I was the best person he knew. He didn’t deserve my friendship. I winced, and told him not to be so hard on himself. Steve nodded, and told me bahis şirketleri he wished me the best. He also told me that when I returned to Montreal, I’d probably meet a super cool guy, Black or white, marry him, graduate from school, become super successful and have a wonderful family. I asked Steve what his plans were. He shrugged, and told me that odds are he wouldn’t live to see 2012. I rose to my feet at once. What in hell was he talking about?

Steve gave me a sad look, then told me. And when he did, I wished he hadn’t. Steve Rocher had a rare form of cancer. One that’s benign if caught early but lethal if neglected or missed. And it was slowly killing him. He’d been aware that he had it since 2007. Chemotherapy helped, and he thought he beat it in 2009. In late 2010 it came back aggressively. Here we were in the final months of 2011 and it was stronger than ever. Steve told his parents he didn’t want to live out his days in a hospital in Florida. He wanted to live in Haiti, the land he always dreamed about. Homeland of his ancestors. His parents agreed, and he moved to Haiti. He had plenty of money and could do whatever he wanted in what he thought was the final year of his life. That’s why he led a life of debauchery and got into fights with roughnecks. He didn’t fear death…because he considered himself already dead.

When Steve finished his story, I stared at him silently. I kept waiting for him to tell me he was joking. He’s a prankster and a fool. The eternal practical joker. The guy who’s never serious. I refused to believe the most lively human being I’ve ever known is afflicted with the deadliest form of cancer on the planet. One look into Steve’s eyes told me the truth. He wasn’t lying. Oh. My. God. All of a sudden, a lot of things made sense. He always seemed tired, and sweated even on some cold nights. I thought it was because of his constant drinking. It wasn’t. The pills he was always taking. When I asked him about them, he jokingly said they were to boost his sexual prowess. I rolled my eyes and laughed at him at then. I wasn’t laughing now. Steve, my Steve, was dying. He barely had a year to live. Maybe less. Steve told me he didn’t want to burden me with his issues. He told me that he had always loved me. He didn’t think he was good enough for me, that’s why he never asked me out. He considered me a princess, and saw himself as a joker who would never amount to anything. In other words, I was ‘so high above him’ that he couldn’t step to my level…

Oh, my God! Men are such fools! I looked at Steve. Part of him wanted to hold him and kiss him. Another part of me wanted to beat him up. He looked at me and smiled that trademark Steve Rocher grin. The bad boy grin. Seen on the faces of everyone from Han Solo to Stefan Urkel, from Bart Simpson to Chuck Bass. Every so-called bad boy who enflamed the hearts of young women in the movies and television in modern times. What am I going to do with him? I went to Steve and kissed him. I don’t know how much time he’s got. I don’t know how much time I’ve got, actually. None of us live forever. We’re human beings and all humans are mortal. That’s never going to change. Time for both Steve and I to stop wasting time and start living.

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