Sometimes we had movies at school, and I began to get ideas of love and romance. I especially remember a very famous Spanish actor, Jorge Mistral, who had a deep sexy voice and a build like Victor Mature. Years later I actually met him, and years after that I learned he had killed himself because he could not live with what drugs and alcohol were doing to him.
On my free days I would spend time with mother at her work, and it was there I met the richest woman on the island, Anna, a beauty from Argentinian society who had married a wealthy Lebanese man named Abuhamad. He was fat and unattractive, but rich- he owned all of the fishermen’s’ concessions, and owned all the pearl divers. These men would dive almost naked into the sea and bring up oysters; we lived almost next door to the fishermen’s’ colony and they would let me open some oysters and keep any pearl I might find. So I had lots of pearls, but I had no idea of their value- they were just toys to me!
One day two priests came to visit the wealthy Anna at her house, while her husband was away in Lebanon. I was visiting with her two little boys (playing house or “doctor and nurse” as the game was called). I loved playing hostess, making sandwiches and babysitting the boys, but I loved going the beach even more. The younger priest followed me into the waves, dragged me under the water and kissed me where no one could see. It felt nice and I liked it, but I got out of the water and ran back to the kids. I took them back to the house, where Anna was playing piano and singing a popular song, “Aquellos Ojos Verdes,” (Those Green Eyes) he had green eyes…. I still love that song and think of that first kiss, not as something bad or immoral, but as a sweet and gentle experience. Later I would get many more kisses, of course, but none as mysterious, beautiful, and exciting as that first kiss underwater from Father Heredia.
I loved my time at the boarding school living in the dorm. One day Dr. Rossi, an Italian skin specialist, and we girls all talked about how handsome he was. Not far from our island in paradise was a leper colony, and they had this beautiful doctor checking us (naked!) for any signs of leprosy on our skin. They would weigh us and measure our height in the next room. This time, however, Dr. Rossi did not make me get naked all the way. Instead, he asked me to follow him into the next room, and next thing I knew I was against the wall with him kissing me! I melted in his arms, and now I thought to myself, “Wheee, I’m in love with two men!” i, that kiss seemed like an eternity of passionate kissing, he gently let me loose and asked me where I had learned to kiss. Thinking fast, I replied, “In the movies,” and did not mention the priest.
One holiday vacation we all went to the handsome Dr. Enrico Rossi’s house, where he lived with a beautiful mulatta girlfriend with green eyes, long black azabache hair… I was struck by her appearance but I knew this was not for me; I might dream of the doctor and the priest, but I knew that life would not stop here I have things to do. Life is so so very young.
They were drinking, serving up exciting cocktails, scotch, vodka, wine, and without hesitating I had one and another I think I test them all, not the beer, somehow I thought it was a vulgar drink, that was only for street man and fishermen, they drink beer. This was pure and unadulterated fun, I thought; I didn’t feel anything special from the effect of the alcohol. I busy enjoying their company too notes the effect and nobody said anything about a teenager drinking.
My sister Gala had friends Arturo and Marlye, the one who brought me books and taught me to love reading and writing poems. Nobody in my home wanted to hear about my poetry, of course, so I would go to the beach, which had a had a pier, where I would read poetry by myself, and then with tear throw the paper to see so the waves will take them away, where the mermaids will read than. I dream……….
We left Marley’s house in Arturo’s car and went to the other side of the island, where we could swim in the open sea, which was warm even at night with the full moon. I remember the glistening of lights, they were like the tiny Christmas lights, all over our bodies, who what a show! They move as we swim on our skins, (murcielagas del mar they were called).
Our pearl island was indescribably magical, a setting better than any Hollywood film……….
My young life seemed full of excitement, adventure, mystery and romance!