-Sins of Jealousy- One- A Sultry Land
The late afternoon settled, and Jonjoui began to see beautiful halfmooned skies, long stretches of land, and thought, it’s going to be a long night. Of the steamy food two cars over, she knew before she entered the dining car she would order roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and asparagus. She sat, and declined a drink from the writer, Patrick Bentley she recognized when he introduced himself. He is now a novel publisher, traveling south, to visit his mother. She declined drinking again, but selected grapefruit juice. Patrick insisted to pay her tab, said he was honored to be seated with such a lovely woman.
His compliment made Jonjoui smile, considering what she’d just gone through, and she took a quick glance to see if he was wearing a wedding ring. He wasn’t. In the time she spent chatting with Pat, he wasn’t making as much sense as when he started. He drank too much. So even though he was a jolly stranger, after two hours of his storytelling, Jonjoui graciously excused herself explaining she had inventory books to equate. He understood. Jonjoui was sure he would find another person, or three from somewhere on that train drunk enough to accompany him, since he said his mother was a nag.
Pat was a man used to the finer things in life. His hair, skin, fragrance, clothes, shoes, tie, suit, Rolex, and wallet attested. Jonjoui had work to do. She had a new job waiting, and glad she was able to grab a train after Teake, or God forbid she say “Tweak,” made her miss her flight. He was difficult and jealous of absolutely nothing. Jonjoui never cheated on her husband, but perhaps he was the cheater in all of it. When she returned to her seat, she put on her headphones, and concentrated on her work. The Wizard of Oz was playing on the monitor, and she went over her transfer papers for work.
After the movie most of the train traffic ceased. She pulls out a book, reads, and after midnight wraps herself up in her blanket, and adjusts the cozy frog pillow she bought, and just might sleep. Jonjoui slept, happily this time, not worried if her estranged husband followed her again. They were young. Teaken Willow was in his early thirties, and used to pop up out of anywhere just to harass Jonjou’, ask for money, or to accuse her of adultery, and push her around, and the essential reason she’s on the road after five years of his fantasies against her. Having to take a train, he wasn’t there to aggravate her.
He accused her about things she knew nothing about, so she was glad to take the trip she was taking, and had not given Teake another thought. She loved him, but was free from his tyranny, and grateful to her father Caliche’ for understanding her plight, meeting her on the platform early the next morning.
“No, no Dad. I want to travel this way,” she said without ever explaining she had a flight planned, and missed. lt was four hours away from her destination. She wandered over the countryside, and began to see how beautiful the Sultry Lands were. She saw easy- going people traveling to work, even crossing train tracks.
Men old, and young seemed healthy, happy, strong, and from inside the train, she could smell the purity of fresh fruit in the air. Fresh cut grass stimulated her senses after such a long ride seeing, the scent of multitudes of orange, and lemon trees. People woke up little by little after she avoided the rush. Jonjoui was already cleaned, dressed, and heading to the dining car for orange juice. She didn’t sleep well. It was the most beautiful sunrise, and she began to feel happiness again. The help smiled at her, and she bought a blueberry cheese Danish, drank the juice, and ordered a cup of hot coffee before she went back to her seat.
There was no sign of Patrick, who she thought would think he’d sleep most of the day, even though the scenery was breathtaking, and when she arrived at her destination, the air was hot, and hazy. Jonjoui had never experienced such high humidity in all her life, but the atmosphere of her trip was mentioned remarkably.
Her love of lush greenery, buck-some men, and widespread lands made her feel brand new. The whiff of fresh oranges and lemons in the air, and different trees naturally peaceful to see in the entirely new atmosphere. Jonjoui had an advantage. Her life was still in line, but would miss many people. Cruising on the train listening to music, she tallied the cosmetic books to send back to New York, stunned at the difference of life there, and practically went to turn as if Teake was there, so she could say so. She didn’t gloat, wasn’t ashamed, but was a little sad, thinking back when Teake was Teake.
She was a bit angry that her very own husband wasn’t with her, he couldn’t let her be too happy. He’d fuck things up for her, and speak of God in the same breath. He was a soldier for people he claimed not to know, so Jonjoui cared not. She was no hoe in anyone’s circle, nor he, or them in her thoughts. Teake finding her again, and forcing her to be his wife after all the anguish he caused was because for four years he would not sign divorce papers, and his baffling her, wasn’t a good look. He didn’t care, and although they through, he knew his intruding presence disturbed Jonjoui to a fault.
Teake was evil that way, worse than any horror movie, and must have wanted her to know him as the scariest person she ever knew, but now that Caliche’ knew a part of her story with Teake, he would not find her before someone in her father’s agency found him first. Finally admitting to herself she deserved a better life, she believed her aunt too, and was relieved, On her way to the sultry land it was like the sun rose again as it was her stop, and the train rode slowly on the tracks, deep down in the lush lands. Jonjoui was on her way to a place she would call home, delighted with the choice of residence her mother, and sister chose for her.
Dakota and Aris were and happy she finally arrived, and life truly began for her once again without the lock, and chain of her estranged husband's 'illness.' Her new abode included close shopping, amendaties, and ovely places to dine. From there, she could start to enjoy her life again, from being set up by Teake, and the people he let sabotage his honor with Jonjoui. Jealousy turned too many ugly bitches who wanted her man to want them, but he wanted Daphne. Teake was an asshole in his own right, and Jonjoui didn't know to take warning signs, and in truth, teetered just when she was about to marry him.
Jonjoui was deeply in love with the Teake once, but now just in love with the outdoors, her home, and shopped every arts and crafts fair there, it was extraordinary. The solitude of the estate she lived in was a terraced condo equipped with an abstract shaped underground swimming pools, and barbecue decks. The pool lit nights, just below her, so she was a few steps away from stepping onto a tropical paradise. Under the most beautiful trees Jonjoui had ever seen, she lounged, made a good living, hence, did not give Teake too much thought, except that it was too bad they didn’t work out, but happy where she was.
There, it was no mystery how to start a new life. Jonjoui’s marriage to Teake came with much pain, and disappointment. From Teake, she had to find a new abode every so often, so she was confident, and learned to live without him. She appreciated the natural beauty of the sultry lands, friendly people, the peace, and solace, so everything agreed with her. Her mom Dakota, sister Aris, and aunt Saphronia, and Caliche’ made the switch, and moved back to the Sultry Lands where he was born, and the reasons were obvious. Teake never would have made that move with her, or made it miserable.
Yet he chased her away to something beautiful, it was her family’s ancestral homestead, and the place to be. The towns had all the eateries, good culture, nature, sunshine, beaches, and cool people. Her father was born into a legacy in abundance of fragrant, and beautiful plants, birds, fruits, and flowers, and crops. Tropical trees shaded the hot sun, and cooled the nights at the end of the day. Jonjoui found her new surroundings a beautiful, lush paradise, and life was wholesome, and just what she needed to help document her days. Her thoughts were written so that she could move forward from her past.
Jonjoui jotted about her days in Haiku, and happily settled into work. Her life again was a never ending cycle of beauty that New York set up a good word for her occupation. She had another successful transfer, and everyone made a big deal about her coming, and she was very pleasantly welcomed. Teake was too oblivious that essentially he ruined her back in New York, but that was his goal, why he did it, and didn’t care, and added such insult to injury of that lie he wanted everyone to believe. He would not let her live his lie down, repeating himself, believing himself, after only five years with many marital separations.
He was violent, and abusive, and Jonjoui could no longer withstand his psychobabble brainwashing. Teake was a foolish liar, but he blamed her anyway, and was sickening. Married to Teake, Jonjoui was sleeping with Teake, her enemy, and thought, why out of all the people in the world who do drugs, she ends up with someone who cannot handle it, enjoy himself, but keeps doing it? Teake enjoyed what he was doing to Jonjoui. He started picking on her out of nowhere. Drug, and alcohol rehab didn’t help, even though she sent him three times. He said he was addicted, but his head trip was mental.
Jonjoui was in love with Teake, he quickly became her husband, but turned on her. He might have been listening to others, or his ugly demons, and a good thing Jonjoui was still young. She was attractive, had a family who loved her, and decent salary, and as she settled, she wanted to get in touch with Heather. She wanted Heather to receive word that she’d relocated again, so all Jonjoui could do was hope another friend would get word to her, and then it had become almost a year since she, and Heather last saw each other on that cold snowy day they ran into each other, and now they lived on different spheres.
She remembered the last conversation they had.
“Things changed, and I can’t be with him anymore. He wants to accuse me, be violent, call me bad names, we had to move every place we stayed,” Jonjou' complained. "He turned out to be as immature as his mother said he was, and I saw it." Jonjoui saw where he lacked growth, and so good to see Heather that winter in the New York bus station.
“I loved him, but it was shitty, and you know I CANNOT do Krazy,” Jonjoui added.
“Yeah. Krazy, no. Never. Neither of us. It’s not our thing.”
Not too long after she, and Heather spoke, Jonjoui finally had to relocate because of his carnal abuse, it took the life out of love. Teake used to follow her to where she lived, but now, he won’t readily find her, and she was no longer able to tolerate her fate with Teake. It was because of him, she had to leave the place he knew she loved to start anew, and missed her chum. Without Heather, another year, and a half whizzed by. There was not a breeze of her. Jonjoui was two years younger, and knew Heather had things to do even before Jonjoui started her career. Heather took time out for Jonjoui.
In the meantime, Jonjoui met a neighbor named Eliot. In a high spirituality, he was kindred, born in the West Indies, and was absolute. The construction worker with his shiny black muscles met Jonjoui at the mailboxes of their condos, and turned out to be very friendly. He was a man with brawn, with nothing to prove, a smooth muscle toned body, and a few years on Jonjou' too. He was mild, playful, and just what she needed from such a beautiful, gorgeous creature that would better rally the enchanted atmosphere, than harm her. His suites were in route to hers, which she pointed out because he asked. He'd find out.
Their balconies faced adjacently, and she was glad she told the truth about her location, because he mentioned seeing her once a few weeks, or so ago, and said he hadn’t seen her since then.
“Bancroft. Eliot, not Eliott,″ he adjusted, with an accent as thick as a mango. “You only stay over de’re all this time?”
“Yep, well not long,” she said. Jonjoui was still in her twenties, petite, nice complexion, shiny dark wavy hair, and rather gave a cheerful impression.
“I’m Jonjoui.” They shook hands, and it wasn’t long before Eliot brought over a spot of his native food for Jonjou’ to taste.
Eliot was mild, and not the flirty type, but had to learn to live with his good looks. He was pretty, but no man would really ever try him, he was alpha-masculine. He was the kind of pretty that would make a woman jealous., and a rugged man put together well. He was so healthy, his skin had not a mark, and it shined. Jonjoui thought his cooking was simple, but with tremendous flavor! When he came, Jonjoui was cooking too, and garlic aroused his senses. She just finished cooking a meatball and spaghetti dinner. She tasted Eliot’s dish while he was there, and loved it. They were in tune with one another, and aromas wafted.
“Mmm. What you cooking, lady?” Eliot’s voice was deep, strong, and rough, and Jonjoui liked the gentle way he spoke even in the bold gruff way he sounded. His voice was as if every word had a beat. He took in the smell of the spaghetti and meatballs cooked, and said they smell good. Jonjoui asked Eliot into the kitchen, and dished a container of spaghetti for him to take, since he said he had eaten already. He and Jonjoui pulled up a chair at her patio and she tasted his wonderful delicious food. Beef, rice and vegetables hadn’t tasted that good in a long time, and fell in love with it.
He was most appreciative, and it was a few days since they saw one another again. Jonjoui started to meet more people, and thought she encountered a strange guy of sorts, but didn’t know he, and Eliot were very good friends. Jasper lived closer to Jonjoui than Eliot, but hadn’t met him until probably the next year. Where he lived all that time, she saw foliage, not his front door, from her terrace, and their paths had never before crossed. From a short distance though, in the night air, she often felt someone near, watching her. His place was very well shaded, and very cool in the summer months.
The guy named Jasper, she had finally begun to see, and he seemed to have an agenda. He’d say hello, and give the biggest, passivist smile as though afraid she would ask him something. Witnessing her neighbor’s weird behavior in the shadows reminded her of how Teake treated her. Jonjoui could feel Jasper looking at her. In the hot breeziness of an evening, she felt weird, now knowing they lived closely, only separated them by twenty- five feet. There was pavement throughout the landscape. Where she lived was a private cove. It was secluded in the beauty of well-kept flowers, and greenery.
The land forever bloomed, but she did not know there lay an apartment condo behind thick foliage while she sunbathed. Jasper lived behind the foliage, and when they were introduced, Jasper seemed cool. He was Eliot’s friend, not knowing he could’ve been watching her all along, and Jonjoui tried not to let him get too close. Jasper was the type of person you had to get to know, because he seemed strange in a bitter sort of way. Later, Jonjoui learned some of his truths, and sometimes a reason for the season. When she decided he kept his distance, he put on a zealous eye when he saw her.
Jonjoui knew better now, that Jasper, and Eliot knew each other well, but the smile on Jasper’s face wasn’t at face value. It usually meant he could kill someone, so Jonjoui was right, he was losing it. He wore smile therapy treatment doctors said to use when crazy, and you think people are not paying attention. He was muscular like Eliot too, the kind of muscles you should keep if you dare. As a friend, Jasper had a dubious smile which teetered, but it turns out, he was stricken by Jonjou’, and might have given her anything she asked if he could, but low if he couldn’t. Jasper was trying not to kick himself in the ass.
At the same time, he preyed on women, and felt slick enough to attract just the right girl who would say yes, but would end up dirty in a dumpster if she said no. Jasper was an emotional man, and the very sight of Jonjoui, stimulated him. They became great pals, in spite of themselves, and every now and then, Jasper would ask Jonjoui if he could cross the lines. Jasper wasn’t as appealing to her as Eliot, and she did not want him to cross that line. What good would it do, but ruin her reputation? Jasper, and Eliot in a season, would bicker from one reason or another, yet Jonjoui had a great time with them.
She was the new player on the block, and they individually had different friendships together that lasted. Jasper was from the West Indies too. He, Eliot, and Jonjoui have shared recipes, exchanged dishes, and even nursed each other’s colds from time to time. When she first moved there, to her joy, Jonjoui’s father called. Caliche wanted to know how she was doing since the last time they saw each other, and said she sounded a little down, but she wasn’t. In general, Caliche hoped she felt better about things, since she had to commit to a different lifestyle. The life suited Jonjoui fine, and contrary to sadness as time sped forward.
“Hello?” Jonjoui was soaking in a hot perfumed bathtub full of bubbles at the time, picked up the call, and hopefully not Teake on the other end.
“Oh, hi Daddy.” Jonjoui’s father was nice, and a man with little worries.
“Hey Baby. I just thought I’d give a call to check on you, it’s been a few days since you moved in. How’s my little ugly princess doing?” She probably sounded better to him since she knew it was her father, and Caliche was happy she had a lot to say. He had business in New York again.
Caliche’ was especially proud to see her photo up in the mall again. For the next few months, Jonjoui will work as a makeup artist, introducing new shades of beauty in the natural skincare line, and it was exciting. Jonjoui liked the product she would sell. The color palates, and skincare was a part of a winter hue, and skincare collection, and she was glad that her very busy father saw what she’d been up to at work. Jonjou’ was very busy that season. She had to travel to different department stores in fashion malls, to stir that promotion. She was a representative skincare, and makeup artist.
She mastered special effects, and worked in between as a beauty adviser who worked for the fragrance departments as well, and her assignments led to bigger freelance positions. Her work was rewarding greatly, and the salary was good, and people were thankful for the knowledge of their new good looks.
“I’m doing great,” Jonjoui said confidently. Caliche was happy, and in the photo, noticed she’d gotten a new haircut, and liked it. As long as Jonjoui was happy, he was happy. Far be it for Caliche not to have sympathy if she didn’t like her new life, new hair do, and position in it.
“I can see how great you are doing, and I’m still proud of you. I’m very proud of you baby. You’re looking good, and doing the successful thing,” he smiled. Jonjoui could feel her father’s pride, and it made her driven. The smile under his thick mustache, she could almost feel, plowing across his face from his prideful heart, and from ear to ear, “You should be proud of yourself too you, Caliche concluded. She only smiled, and could not handle any more praises. She realized she’d gone silent, but Caliche knew she was smiling too. He could feel it, and she’d been aglow of her father’s call, who worried about her regardlessly.
She worried about her father too, because of his line of work, and owning the detective private investigating agency.
“I am Dad. I feel really good about things here. I seemed to have made a good impression the other day at our preview meeting, and have even met a really nice neighbor too."
“Mom, Aris and aunt Lantana have been popping in. Wait until you see my place.”
“Oh good Honey, I’ll be happy to.”
“Thanks Dad. Tige and Desiree are coming to visit in a few weeks, and everything else is really good.”
“Oh, your brother’s flying down with Desiree?”
“Yes. He said he’d call you.”
“Good. Well, I’m happy you’re happy Baby, and that everything is cool. I’m glad you love your job. You are making your mark.”
“Your sister phoned Saturday to say how well you were doing. She thinks you’re lucky.” Aris was happy Jonjoui moved to the Sultry Lands as well. She’d put Teake in his place too many times to remember, and never felt intimidated by him. Perhaps everyone knew Teake better than Jonjoui ever really had.
He prefered to be an asshole, his friends said so, and it was a good thing Jonjoui had a family who loved her, otherwise she would have believed his annoying shit.
“Your grandparents can’t stop talking about you. They’ve missed you so much.” He was glad his daughter’s got along so well. Caliche had to go, and was glad he checked in before he received a very important phone call. Jonjoui blushed, thanking Caliche' for calling. She always thought he was the most! He is going to take them out on the town, and asked her, and le Aris to figure out what they wanted to do while he was there.
Jonjoui was going steadily at work, and it slipped her mind whether she’d go to Aris' dinner. She was a social butterfly, and since Jonjoui had to look the model image often, and worked hard on her feet, she was tired. She needed to unwind by the week, and after that, she’d work another ten days straight. Jonjoui was unaccustomed to so much humidity, but with Aris, experiencing the good life, and what it had to offer, and content since her father’s telephone call. That night, she stayed up a while longer with a movie, writing, and having a cup of orange tea. She thought about the nice conversation she had with her father.
Jonjoui slept. She dreamed in colors, about flowers so beautiful she could smell them. In the clarity of her visions, in a far off place, she dreamed of floating, and of faint whispers, and the smell of fresh ferns danced in the air. Jonjoui was happy, and the atmosphere she lived in was breathtaking. All year long the place flourished, glistening with rays from the sun by day, and twinkled with moon dust at night. The sultry lands left no choice, but to appreciate God’s gifts. Jonjoui too, slept outside in the sultry land’s openness, and six senses of life were bountiful to her, as if being born again.
Jonjoui felt like she was a stone’s throw away from heaven, and life was beautifully different, and into her head every night she drifted to sleep, and she let the static, and the bugs in her mind fade, and Teake was no longer too much for her mind to bear. Caliche made his intentions clear to Teake- stay away from his daughter. Jonjoui would no longer suffer that man, and Caliche and Tige’ finally knew what went on. Caliche laying eyes on him would be Teake's last breath. Jonjoui covered up their problems, and issues but should not have, hoping things were Teake’s last mistake, but it was not.
He was boastful with her as always, and behind the backs of most, a backstabber. Jonjoui loved her life again, and went to art shows, combined with sitting in the parks listening to live jazz music that summer. The sultry land was heavenly bliss for Jonjoui, and she was glad she met her neighbors. They were just guys, and she was usually tired out from the glitz, and glamour of her profession. At each day’s end, probably coached one hundred people concerned with the latest evenings edge, besides normal facial skincare, and upkeep. Jonjoui preferred to bathe, pop in a good movie and then work on her art projects.
Sipping a glass of warm blush wine as the temperatures cooled at night, and solitude poolside. Her sunny side condo was quaint, comfortable. She basked in the golden sun, and lounged in the shade of the palm trees, and their group of neighbors made a habit of sharing their time poolside. Jonjoui was happy she was there, belonged, but her immediate neighbors had troubles worse than she, and Teake could ever be, and it seemed that perhaps since they were open with it, may have caused their relationship to recover. They were a strange couple who had fights. Ada, she’d never met, one night, ran onto Jonjoui’s terrace naked.
She didn’t want her boyfriend to touch her, yet said he was only trying to help her to bed. They were in their late thirties, she distrusted him to a fault, and was very open about their money issues, and things Jonjoui cared not to hear. Ada was irrational, 0ut of the blue, and hyper tense, but since Jonjoui had been all through domestic violence, so she was compelled to hear the woman out. Jonjoui invited her inside, and offered the woman a robe, and a hot cup of tea. Ada was lunatic, and quite pathetic. That night, Jonjoui ignored the couple, because after all that commotion, Ada willingly went with Ken.
Thank goodness! Ada’s personality changed, and all of a sudden she decided that she did not need the police, a friend, or any family to help her with her situation. When things died down, the other neighbors clued Jonjoui on the couple, their entertaining, they called it, In their private cover of seclusion, Ada was spotted naked at Jonjoui’s. She was noisy, and quite out of her mind. At night in the Sultry Lands it's peaceful. Jonjoui let fragrant air flow through her windows, and it called into her senses. That smooth, breath of oxygen cultivated, transformed her soul, and refreshed her spirit.
After the neighbor incident, a breeze swept. It was a man’s fragrance she sensed, but unfamiliar, and a good thing. It wasn’t Teake’s. How dare he intrude her dreams. He seeped into her thoughts from time to time, and that was enough. Only she, and her friends stirred music, excitement. There was plenty of laughter around the pool area, and essentially they were friends. Jonjoui after that dream, was still up in the air about things. If Teake was around the corner lurking mad he'd be upset, and angry, because she has people looking out for her. Someone would always be watching her.
Teake preyed on the fact she’d been alone in their relationship, but he’d isolated her from her family. Aunt Saphronia suggested she take her sister up on an offer to go out, have a good time! Jonjoui did need to get out more, and did in fact, have a little chuckle at her neighbor too. Their hysterics were new to her, they were on some real heavy shit. On her patio after a long bath, Jonjoui lounged. She said a blessing in prayer, and drifted off to sleep. She woke to a shift in the wind, and the flower vines moved swiftly in the darkness. She looked to discover that in an instant, a door shut, and had not given the matter another thought.
Jonjoui was accustomed to her space. She lived alone before she met Teake, moved on, settling into the Sultry Lands, and calmed herself. She had not smelled the sensual scent of a clean man since Caliche' in a while, and of the many signs she ignored from the beginning. There were plenty of eligible men around her, and in the newness of transcending, sex was just that, sex. Sex without love does not solidify a relationship, like marriage does, sex, just solidifies sex, sometimes. Jonjoui was still burdened by the issues between her, and Teake could not be resolved. After presenting him over the years with divorce papers.
Teake would not sign the papers, and judgement lapsed, causing her to have to reopen the case. He was an ongoing expense with Jonjoui having to afford all the places she had to move in because of him. Teake thought he could beat the shakes into Jonjoui, but he was wrong. Instead, he tried to feed his need, and that was an issue too. Most of Teake’s menagerie of torture, everyone knew he could make as a situation of mind over matter, but he didn't want to. He blamed his bad habits, and doings on society, and his wife. No one bothered Teake but Teake. He used drugs as a crutch to drinking, and drinking, a reason to fuck off.
It all proved aa an expensive escape, but he was still unhappy. Teake believed his own lies, and needed to admit he made their lives a problem. He was just not giving a damn, and when he wasn't faking, drugs and alcohol took a toll on both of them. Their relationship was something they could not salvage without her admitting to Teake's wild fantasies about her having sex with is friends, so he could beat her again. Drama was something Jonjoui didn’t want in her life, but it was what Teake gave her. The things he said about her doing, were not her style, just instances that could look differently he added it to his imagination of her.
Jonjoui was sure Teake would not see past the worst in the last woman he had, and treat everyone with discord. In addition, Teake’s old girlfriend Savannah was cute, but not Jonjoui, and definitely not the exotic looks of that dumb Daphne, who Jonjoui might think she paled, but at last when she saw Daphne, her looks were diminishing, and she was getting fat. In the sultry land, Jonjoui retired into a humble sleep, and rose anew. Promoting a new natural skincare product line in an exclusive clothing boutique will pay top dollar. She was hired for rare events, and into her new place she settled.
Caliche and Aris paid Jonjoui a visit, and saw the progress she made in her suites. They went to dinner at the marina, and their visit normalized her. With her father, Jonjoui spoke of things she had not a chance to say, and now she had not a care in the world.