Open Your HeartbySamuelx©
My name is Daniel Heureux. I'm a young man of Haitian descent living in the City of Ottawa, Province of Ontario. I was born in the region of Trou-Du-Nord, Republic of Haiti, and raised in the City of Toronto. The Capital of Ontario. The best place in Canada is metropolitan Toronto in my sincere opinion. These days, I attend Carleton University, where I study Law. I think all of us are complex individuals. If you're an immigrant with a foot in each world, you must navigate carefully. To my Canadian friends, I'm a Haitian guy. I often wear red and blue, I have a sticker with the Haitian flag on my beat-up old pickup truck, and I sometimes switch between French, English and Haitian Creole in the middle of conversation.
To my Haitian friends, I'm Canadian. Why? Because I played hockey in high school and I'm now on the baseball team at Carleton University. I can't play soccer to save my life. Yeah, I am both Haitian and Canadian. It's not easy to be me. I am the son of two worlds and I can't say that I feel comfortable in either. I have a French-sounding last name so people in Toronto always recognize me as a person of Haitian descent. Also, I get spotted as a Haitian in the City of Montreal, Province of Quebec. Yet when I visit the island of Haiti during summer vacation with my father Eugene, the locals always ask me if I'm American or Canadian. When I speak Creole to them, they always know I'm different. And they treat me as such. You can't please the world, that's what I realized. Welcome to my life.
Matters of the heart have plagued mankind for eons and I don't think that's about to change anytime soon. Last year, I was in love with this cute Haitian gal named Nelly. My fondness for her surprised me. I've dated Black girls from all over the place. Jamaicans, Ethiopians, Afro-Brazilians and what have you. However, I never felt drawn to a Haitian gal before. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the Haitian girls at Saint Guillaume Academy in Toronto often accused me of being 'White'. I moved from Northern Haiti to Ontario when I was young but I guess I adjusted to life in Canada better than anybody could have expected.
How many Haitian guys do you know are into the sport of hockey? I'm as Canadian as maple syrup, even though I was born in the Caribbean! Anyhow, where was I? Oh, yeah. I was moping about the chick that got away. I had feelings for Nelly and I made no bones about it. Unfortunately for me, Nelly had feelings for my cousin Henry. I think that's the main reason she got close to me. Well, my cousin Henry hooked up with her then dumped her for this skinny White chick named Mariel. My cousin Henry is really into White girls and he doesn't hide it, but like most Black men, he's not about to turn down a fine piece of Black ass like Nelly if it's offered to him. Hey, sex is just sex to most guys. Doesn't matter the color of the booty. They won't marry it but they'll definitely hit it if they get the chance. And that's exactly what my dearest cousin Henry did with Nelly, the gal I had a mad crush on.
I cared about Nelly and she broke my heart, and my cousin Henry broke her heart by using her and ditching her for Mariel. Well, Mariel soon ditched my cousin Henry for this smooth-talking Italian guy named Gino or something. I guess in some way you could say that we all got what we deserved. Anyhow, I opted to learn from this experience. Before my misadventure with Nelly, I'd only been with Black girls. My mother Beatrice Joseph Heureux is one of those Black ladies who can't stand the sight of Black men with White women. And she instilled in me the belief that Black men with White girlfriends were sellouts. Well, I got over it. Especially since my mother often praises Black women in relationships with White men. Nice dichotomy, eh? I don't buy that bullshit anymore. I'll date whoever I please. It's my life, you know?
You see, a lot of Black girls these days don't appreciate good Black men. They go for roughneck Black guys like my cousin Henry, a twenty-something 'player' who lives in his mother's basement and has no steady job. Yeah, a lot of otherwise intelligent young Black women go for Black guys like my cousin Henry. He's a smooth operator when in a bar or club, and he can drop rap lyrics like Jay-Z. He just doesn't have a J.O.B. When the young Black women finally get tired of fake thugs/rappers like henry, they decide that all Black men are scum and they go for White guys. Which is exactly what Nelly did after Henry dumped her. She's walking around with this chubby Irish guy named O'Neill. Nice, huh?
I decided to focus on school and work instead of dredging through matters of the heart. Still, at times I felt more than a little bit. Everybody involved in this love quadrangle has moved on. Nelly is with O'Neill. Mariel is with Gino. Henry is now dating Isabel, this hot-looking and big-bottomed Latin diva from Mexico or Spain or some other place. Who am I with? I'm all by my lonesome. Isn't that wonderful? What's a brother to do under the circumstances? I'm a six-foot-two, lean and athletic Black guy. Yeah, I do get looks from the ladies from time to time. However, I'm not the most forward person on the planet. Sometimes, I can be painfully shy with women. Still, I didn't want to rush into anything. Rushing into things got me into the Nelly/Henry/Mariel debacle. And I think I'm the only one who got hurt at all because everybody else bounced back so fast. Sometimes, it really doesn't pay to be a decent guy with a good heart. Women don't want a guy like that, no matter what they say.
One afternoon, I sat inside the Carleton University Library, typing away on my laptop. I sat inside The Page Break, this little restaurant hidden inside the library. Someone bumped into me, and the bottle of apple juice that was perched on the edge of the table got knocked over. I winced in frustration, and looked at the guilty party. The person who bumped into me was a really tall, pretty young woman. She had long blonde hair, pale blue eyes and alabaster skin. Smiling, she told me she was sorry to have dropped my juice. I told her not to worry about it. She insisted on buying me another apple juice, and since the Page Break was full of people, she asked me if she could share my table. I nodded. Looking me in the eyes, she introduced herself as Leslie Hennessy. I smiled, and introduced myself as Daniel Heureux. We shook hands, and began talking.
I learned a bit about Leslie Hennessy as we sat together, talking about everything from schoolwork to life in Ottawa and Canadian politics. Leslie came from the Niagara region of Ontario, and had been living in Ottawa for the past six years. She had a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Ottawa and wanted to earn her MBA at Carleton University. I found that puzzling. A lot of Carleton University students want to enroll in the Telfer MBA program at Ottawa University. Carleton University's Sprott MBA program is pretty good but not as highly ranked or well-known. Leslie Hennessy told me that she hated Ottawa University.
Apparently, linguistic bias was the reason she left Ottawa University. They had a Francophone bias and treated English-only students like second class citizens. A lot of Quebec people, both students and faculty, practically run the University of Ottawa campus. Carleton University was friendlier to English-language students. And that's why Leslie Hennessy came here. The gal didn't speak a word of French. I jokingly told her that while I did speak French, I wasn't French-centric. To me, French, English and Haitian Creole are just languages. Tools to be used. Nothing more. People get too emotional about languages in Canada. Leslie laughed, saying that she agreed with that.
Leslie and I talked for a good while, and next thing I know it was time for my six o'clock class inside Southam Hall. I excused myself, telling her that I had to go. Before I left, Leslie gave me her cell phone number. Wow. And I didn't even ask for it! I wondered whether or not to wait two days to call her, but opted to text her right away. I wished her a good day, and she replied that she saved me my number. I smiled at that. I used to tunnels connecting the various buildings at school and made my way to Southam Hall. I sat in class, listening to the sociology professor drone on and on. I didn't really listen. I was daydreaming about Leslie Hennessy. The next time I saw her, I asked her out. Amazingly, when I asked her to go see the movie Sherlock Holmes with me at the Blair movie theater, she said yes. We're going out this weekend. Wish me luck!