DominicaDuo you ask? Where is the due, the two, the other. My partner in crime? My memoir, not yet published, “When I Was White,” has a section called “The Autobiography of My Husband.” Hats off to Jamaica Kincaid. Since we’ve met he has told me everything about himself and his history. The tale of his childhood in the Caribbean and his transfer at sixteen to the streets of the Bronx. So when I tell you that he is out liming, that Big City’s son has come back to Dominica proud and generous it is the truth. That Ma Saint’s bastard son who had no shoes until he was ten has come back to buy a bag of groceries for her friends who are still alive, Ma Baby and Ma Dixie, Ma Ruthie, it is the truth.
In the States he tells the stories of his tragedies often and over and over. All our friends have heard them and sometimes I would cringe when he began, again, at a dinner party. Now I make no excuses. If he needs to talk about the beatings and the whippings, the slavery and the loneliness and watching best friends shot down before his eyes, I will listen till the end of time. For each time there is a nuance, a new detail, watching his two year old bother’s eyes black and bright with fear seeing him whipped with electic wire. Something else in those eyes. The seed of knowledge that he himself must be with less sin.
Let him run, let him party as if he has days to live. He is healing from his life. When he is done he will come home.