Chapter 4 -It's a hard life

The words Ming spoke resonated in Dominique’s head as he turned to Marsha on the drive back to Kingston.

“Babes I can see a fleet of black high end Luxury SUV’s driven by men dressed in black pants and white linen shirts with 9mm handguns tucked into their waist bands and offices in Kingston and Montego Bay.”

His mind raced ahead as he thought about his old five-star crew whom had all matured and were now in respectable positions that could assist him.

“I have links in all the critical places that could facilitate the development of the Diplomatic Transporter Incorporated; Ratty is now a Senior Superintendent of Police. Bimbo was a Senior Manager at the Transport Agency; Skettel is the Senior Director at the FireArm Licensing Authority.”

“Whoa slow down,” Marsha jumped in. “You’re running far ahead of yourself and how come all of a sudden I’m hearing about these persons with names like Ratty, Skettel and Bimbo don’t they have real names?” 

“Marsha we all grew up on the streets together a long time ago, and who has time to be thinking about their right name. OK Ralston McKenzie is Senior Superintendent of Police; do you feel better now, sweetheart?”

“Dominique we have been together for almost two decades- from college days until now- and it’s the first time I have ever heard these names,” she paused. “I wonder what other secrets you are hiding from me?”

“You see why I can’t be…,” he started to respond but then he went silent.

"Can’t be what Dominique?” she asked.

"Nothing dear, I’m sorry" and he reached for the volume button on the radio and turned it up while sinking his right foot into the gas pedal, until it hit the floor.

Marsha released a big sigh, and turned her head to look through the window. It was as if winter had come in the car.

Dominique continued his thinking and decided that he needed to link up with the five star crew by 3 p.m. and reached for his cell phone.

“Rass man you and that damn blasted phone again, Dominique what could be so important that you have to text and drive?” Marsha asked."If you want to kill yourself fine, but I have the children to live for.”

Marsha went silent again.

Dominique, sometimes felt spineless at Marsha’s needling words and especially when she was comparing him to her father. The only way for him to feel better was to allow his ego to be stroked by his feminine fan club that was growing by larger by the day. 

She continued her new hobby of starring out the window. The radio was playing a popular DJ’s song with the main line  - ‘man fi have nuff gal inna bungle’.

After twenty years Dominique learned to deploy the ignore button in his relationship. He scrolled on his Samsung 8 until he found the group “Crew” and quickly typed in his message: we need to link at the usual spot at 3 p.m.

The phone vibrated.

The incoming message was from Ratty.

Deposit made to your account- $50,000.00 for this week.

Dominique smiled and deleted the message. Dominique retreated into his shell for the rest of the journey allowing his thoughts to race through his head. His body was present but his mind was not in the car. Marsha hated the disconnection.

“Dominique Martin, you are a strong willed, intelligent man that I love but you are too impatient and you just can't rush head first into things without taking your family into consideration first.”

“Marsha everything I do is for my family, I stay out late sometimes because I have a contract to move people from one place or the other, I have a dream and I want to see it come to reality and I need you to just understand that and stand by my side,” he responded. “But I have things that I feel I must organise to sell to you as if I must get your approval before I do them damn I’m a man and I should not feel as if you are my boss. I grew up seeing my father go and come as frequently as he wanted and spoke his mind and never one day asked for permission to be a man.”

“What father?” Marsha asked. “That dead beat you said was hardly ever home, when since has he been such an example for you to emulate? Grow up Dominique that is not how people live in the 21st Century, the world is about communication and consensus not your way or the highway you caveman!”

Marsha was shouting at the top of her voice.

Dominique felt insulted, his fist and teeth were tightly clenched around the steering wheel. His stomach walls tightened, as his wife rubbed her middle class upbringing in his face. Although he was educated and articulate, he wanted to respond how he had seen his father in similar situation when his mother over stepped his boundaries-with a blow.

But he could hear the still, quiet voice in his head saying, ‘Breathe Dominique, breathe don’t let the devil draw you out and make you do something you would regret for the rest of your life.’

He listened, but his anger had not abated.

“Not everyone was brought up with grace and etiquette Marsha, and could afford boarding school to properly finish their children, and then for it to be flung back in their face when the daughter in her final year of college gets pregnant for boy from the ghetto”.

He realised that from the words left his lips they could not be taken back. He felt ashamed.

A tear ran down his cheek as he looked at Marsha’s face, a knife made of ice had just been pierced into her heart. All the blood had drained from her rosy red lips and despite the attempts of the lipstick to stain her lips, the battle had been lost.

The streak of competitiveness from his childhood days had gotten the better of him and he evidently brought out all the stops to win the war of words.

Looking on her phone and scrolling through her messages, Marsha looked up on the road ahead and said with a steely face,“Yes Dominique, it’s true you can't hide from the past and we deal with life based on the hand we are dealt but my mother always said if you lay with dogs you must get fleas. You can break your neck to meet with Ratty at Neville’ Bar at 3 p.m. but make sure the fifty thousand that he deposited is in my account by 3:30pm today.”

Dominique felt as if he was just hit by a truck, “What the hell you just said Marsha?”

He felt a cold chill run down his spine as he looked at her as the greenery along the highway had suddenly become grey as he processed what she had just said and what it could possibly imply.

“You heard me there is nothing you can hide from me,” she replied and went silent.

A look of shock crept over his face, there is no way she saw the messages he sent or responded to. How the hell did she know?

The cold tension that fell in the car previously, now felt as

if it had become a snow storm with the plush leather seats covered in a blanket of snow and the icy winds chilled even the morrow of their bones as the hot Jantiquen sunshine bathed the exterior of shiny black luxury SUV as it sped downthe highway.

"Marsha I am sorry it's just that I want the business to take off and bloom and I feel as if I am doing it all by myself."

"Dominique Martin, we have been together forever and not one time have I said the things to you that you said to me earlier, you really hurt my feelings and there you go putting the business before your family again. Why Dominique, why?”

"Marsha I work hard to provide for the family, but it takes hard work to keep the marriage and utilities on and to have a normal happy fulfilling life.  I spend a lot of hours on the road and late nights. The contract carriage business has been fruitful and provided a steady income which meets most of the bills but I want more than that."

"Dominique I want you to go back to school and finish the engineering degree that you started just before our first child Shane was born.”

"Marsha that is not on my cards right now, I prefer to be my own boss and determine my own path. I want to live the Jantiquen dream and let Diplomatic Transporting become a word on the tongues of the movers and shakers in this country.”

"Dominique you are such a dreamer, why can’t you see things from my side? I would love to stand up in the office and say that my husband is an engineer; instead of saying that he is in the transportation business."

"Oh, so that is the problem Marsha. I thought what I did provide an honest dollar and put food on the table and a roof over our heads. So social acceptability is more important than being the wife of a taxi man."

"I will support you in anyway Dominique, but if I am not careful and prudent you will run ahead and start doing crazy things like taking out a loan to buy another car. I won’t lie I would prefer if you were an engineer because it's predictable and you would be able to keep regular hours. The money in this envelope can reduce the debt on the credit cards but I am sure you have started to think about using it as a deposit on another car. I wanted a life that matched my upbringing and be able to go into a store and shop instead I must be cautious and think and wonder if you made any money today."

"Marsha, the issue that we both don’t communicate on the same level and I need to frame what is in my mind in a logical manner so that you can understand. I am extremely impatient and you Marsha are the planner and strategist. I guess it had to take a cataclysmic event like today to get me to open up and speak my mind but I really need your help and support. But support or no support, the business must continue Marsha and I see no reason why I should feel all alone and anyhow you believe that I have found someone else to partner with in the venture, it will be hell to pay.”

Dominique was advanced in his planning and made sure that he did not tell Marsha that the dealer had been calling him for weeks to come in and select the luxury SUV and the bank had already extended the line of credit. He was the one that was stalling, pending the right time to discuss it with her. He had identified the assistant to manage the duties within the office, the ground work had to be laid and he would lay on the guilt in layers.

He took a deep breath and then said, “Marsha the business needs to be streamlined and organised. But I cannot be the driver, marketer, office manager and accountant at the same time. Just because I can’t be all things to all men somethings are going to suffer."

"Dominique are you saying that I don't play my role in your business? Am I not the face in the yellow pages online and through my efforts at the office managed to secure a couple contracts for you to transport the expatriates that they bring into the island?”

"Marsha, I don't disagree that the business has a firm footing, but it needs to spread its wings and fly. The business benefits from your links, whether they are questionable orlegitimate. There was always a thin line between being a failure or loser or even a dreamer. What will ittake for you Marsha to realize that I wanted to expand and solidify the business as my adventure? I've realised that there is an art to negotiating with you Marsha and right now driving back to Kingston is not the right time to do it. Give me some time to put my proposal together and then I will present to you over dinner later every thought so we can discuss and work it through."     

He glanced over towards her and to his surprise the steely expression that earlier had her face captured seemed to have released its prisoner. A smile was breaking at the corners of her mouth. Dominique knew it was because she felt that for the first time in their marriage he wanted to include her in his deliberations prior to execution. Dominique had discovered the road map to pleasing Marsha and had to deploy a strategy mixed with equal measure of love, communication and commitment as it allowed Marsha to flourish as she loved to be loved. As the years went by, Dominique was learning more about Marsha every day.

"Sweetheart, we have a fairly good relationship but in all things it still takes work. Little by little we can iron out the issues that prevent us from being on the same page all the time, but I know you too well. You are impetuous and a little too eager to jump on your ideas without thinking them through to their logical conclusions first,” Marsha said.

"Darn woman did I not say that already?" Dominique replied.

"Dominique,I know there are things you are not telling me but I will wait patiently for them to unfold."

"Wow, Marsha where did that come from? I am sure there are skeletons in your closet that will be kept locked away in the deepest part of your soul and not even God knew about it.”

The beads of perspiration rolled down Dominique's back as he realised that he was treading on very thin ice.

"Marsha there is something I am not telling you."

"Lord have mercy I never expected you to confess so quickly"

"I found the new car already and I can’t wait to polish the sweet machine with neat moulded bumpers and upturned headlights that sparklelike ackee seeds. The body is dark like ebony and curvy.”

As he continued to talk, he found himself getting aroused thinking about the tight, snug feeling he anticipated in getting from sitting in the seat, or the feeling of power that would be beneath him as he would sink his size nine deep into its manifolds. To hear the sweet sound of the engine as it screamed and throbbed with each push of his hard muscular leg creaming the octane from the inner beast-like engine was his one of his many fantasies.

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