Juanita Gomez’s Story
Bianca opened her last meeting at the Negril Resort with prayer.
“This will be my last meeting here with you all as I will be moving on to another hotel,” she informed them.
“Aww. Please don’t go just yet. We’re enjoying being a part of your research,” one of the hotel maids said.
“And I’ve enjoyed talking with you all. I can come back once I finish my rounds,” Bianca said. “Who knows? We could possibly get a second book out of this. Does anyone have something they would like to share?”
A timid hand went up in the back of the room.
“Yes. I’ve noticed you sitting in quietly on several of our meetings. I hope you are finding this as therapeutic as the others,” Bianca said. “Please tell us a little about yourself.”
“My name is Juanita Gomez. You can call me Nita. I’m nineteen years old. I’m from South America and I am here on a student visa. I have a work permit that allows me to work while I’m here and this is my first job. I don’t really need the money for school. This is just to give me extra spending money, so I won’t be a burden to my host parents. I have been working here for almost a year now.”
“Wonderful, Nita! How long will you be with us here in the United States?” Bianca asked.
“I have about three more years to go.”
“Well, we’re pleased to have you, Nita. I do hope you’re enjoying your stay here,” Bianca said.
“Thank you,” Juanita said. “Let me see. Where should I begin? I was in one of the elevators. A husband and wife came on. They were well-dressed. Anyway, they were so engaged in conversation they were oblivious to my presence.”
* * * * *
“James, for the third time, stop telling me what to do. You knew I had this weekend get-away with my girlfriends planned for over a month now. All expenses have already been paid. It is non-refundable and I will not let my money go to waste. I have no control over the baby-sitter canceling at the last minute. All I know is, I will not be in town; you on the other hand will be in town, so therefore, I will not be canceling my plans. That will not be happening,” the wife said.
“Mildred, you’re a mother. You’re supposed to be more than willing to sacrifice what you want for your children,” James said.
“And you’re the father. What about you sacrificing what you want for your children.”
“You know I can’t cancel my plans. This is a very important meeting. Pastors and other church leaders were invited to this last night. It’s the night of the forum and I have a special invitation to be a part of the forum. I’ll be sitting on the platform. My meeting is far more important than your fun weekend get-away with your girlfriends. You can always plan another get-away. Mine is a one-time thing. I insist that you stay home with the children.”
“I insist that you stay home with the children,” Mildred said, mimicking her husband in a mocking tone. “Well, keep insisting. Like I have been telling you for years now, I’m grown. I’m going to do what I want to do when I want to do it. I’m going to go where I want to go whenever I want to go. I’m going to say what I want to say when I want to say it.”
* * * * *
Rashad burst out laughing as he cut into Juanita’s story. “I’m not even married, and I know she’s the problem right there. No man worth his salt will put up with a woman with that kind of attitude for long. He shouldn’t have to, nor should he want to. I know I wouldn’t want to be around her.”
“She holds the reins in the relationship for sure,” one of the hotel maids said.
“I wonder how long they have been married,” another said.
“It won’t last long unless he’s a hen-pecked beat-down man,” another said.
“That sure is right. I see divorce around the corner,” another said.
“I’m sorry for interrupting. Go on, Nita,” Rashad said.
* * * * *
“And that is the main problem in this marriage,” James said. “You constantly want your own way without any consideration for me or the children. And that’s just selfish and wrong.”
“Consideration for you? Ha! Please don’t make me laugh. You’re a grown man. You shouldn’t be worried about somebody showing you some consideration if any,” Mildred chuckled. “Show me how unselfish and considerate you are by staying home with the children. They can find another pastor to replace you on the podium,” Mildred said.
“It’s too late to find a replacement.”
“With all those pastors attending you’re telling me it’s too late to find a replacement? They can just pull one off the floor and ask him to come up on the platform,” Mildred said. “I don’t see any problem here.”
“Whatever the case, I insist on you staying home or else.”
“Or else what? Or else you’re gonna go running to Mama complaining like a two-year-old as you always do. Cut that crap out and grow up. Cut the apron strings like I have been telling you. I’m not afraid of your Mama. I tell you the truth. I still can’t believe I married a Mama’s Boy.”
“Mildred, I . . .”
The elevator door opened, and I quickly stepped out. They exited the elevator behind me.
“Hey, why don’t you ask that housekeeper to babysit for you. They don’t do housekeeping at night. If check-out is by eleven no later than twelve, by two, three o’clock they are pretty much done for the day I’d imagine. They could always use the extra money,” Mildred said. “If you really want to sit on your forum, I strongly encourage you to run and ask her before she disappears.”