Lebanese Goddess for Black StudbySamuelx©
Everybody got three selves, I think. First, there's the public self, secondly there's the private self and finally, the true self. My name is Stephanie Aminata Villeneuve, and I'm a young French Canadian woman living in the City of Ottawa, Province of Ontario. I was born in the town of Moncton, Province of New Brunswick, to a French Canadian father and Lebanese mother. I used to live in Toronto but I moved to the City of Ottawa three years ago. I'm twenty five years old, and recently graduated from Carleton University with a Master's degree in Business Administration. People see all kinds of things when they look at you, no matter who you are or where you're from.
Take me for example. I'm five-foot-eleven, slim and fit, with long blonde hair, skin that stays naturally light bronze year-round and pale blue eyes. People say I look a lot like my mother, Aminata Kasim, who moved to Canada from the City of Baalbek, Republic of Lebanon, when she was younger. I believe in eating right and in taking care of myself. I go to the gym three times a week, because I want to live a long and healthy life. No, I don't model, and yes I am smart. Stereotypes follow all of us. For example, everybody assumes that I'm a Quebecer because I speak French and have a French name but I've never even been to the Province of Quebec. It really doesn't impress me as a place, sorry. I know two places in Canada, and that's Ontario and New Brunswick. Born in one and educated in the other. Surprises a lot of people when I reveal that, I tell you.
I recently moved into a two-bedroom apartment in the East end of Ottawa, in an area known as Vanier. It's a high-rise apartment not far from everything I need. The number nine bus stop is nearby, along with a Loblaws for easy grocery shopping. The Saint Laurent Mall is a ten minute walk away. Yeah, I've got everything I need. I work at the Canadian Revenue Agency, at a branch located a fifteen minute walk from my new apartment. My landlord says he doesn't like dogs but made an exception for me and Maggie, my Jack Russell terrier because I told him I'd pay an additional hundred bucks a month just to keep my dog in my apartment. Greed is a powerful motivator in today's world, always has been and always will be.
I have settled into my new life, and I can almost convince myself that I am safe. Almost. I can almost tell myself that Mohammed Imran and his cronies won't find me. Mohammed is a tall, rugged young man of Arabic descent whom I met in the City of Toronto a couple of years ago. He was studying civil engineering at Ryerson University and seemed really awesome. I've got a thing for guys from places like Latin America and the Middle East, maybe it's because my mother is Lebanese. Mohammed seemed cool, and he looked real hot with his buzz cut, cute face and muscular build. I didn't know that he was a creep with control freak issues. Mohammed Imran was born in the Republic of Yemen to a Yemeni father and Pakistani mother. His family moved to the region of Ontario, Canada, ten years ago. I've always had a thing for dark-skinned men with exotic names and Mohammed definitely seemed like a dream come true. He was so friendly, charming and generous.
We began going out, and I honestly thought the guy was amazing. And then one day, he changed. All of a sudden, this really cool, easygoing party guy whom I met at a bar in the Mississauga area became a religious freak. He began dressing in traditional Arab clothing, and quoting the Koran. He began to get mad at me for the way I dressed. He disliked both my short skirts and my tight pants. He sneered at me when I crossed myself every time I went near a church. My mother is a Maronite Christian and I was raised Catholic, and so faith mattered to me a lot. So yeah, I do cross myself when I'm near a church or a cemetery. What's wrong with that? I was surprised by the changes in Mohammed, to say the least.
In the space of a few months, Mohammed Imran had gone from a super cool guy who loved beer, loved parties and loved hockey to a loud and angry, conservative control freak. I marveled at the astonishing changes in him. He was born into a Muslim family but he never seemed that religious until recently. He had friends who were Christians and Jews. He hung out with white guys and Asian guys, and didn't seem to only associate with other Muslims. Now all he seemed to talk about was the State of Israel and how Arabs everywhere ought to unite behind the Republic of Iran and smite it down. I was horrified by the things Mohammed was saying, partly because I had Jewish friends and while I believed in peace, I also strongly supported Israel's right to exist. When I told him this, Mohammed laughed and told me that I was a Christian and thus an enemy of his people's ways.
That offended me. I told him that I wasn't prejudiced against Muslims, after all, I was dating him, wasn't I? Mohammed asked me if I cared about him and I said yes. He told me he wanted me to convert to Islam. I flat out said no because my Catholic faith mattered to me. Mohammed didn't take this very well. The more I thought about it, the more Mohammed scared me. He was starting to sound like those Muslim extremists you saw on CNN, cursing Western society, hating women's rights and wishing for Israel's destruction. I couldn't be with someone like that. I told Mohammed that I wanted to end it. We were sitting inside a restaurant near the Ryerson University campus, the same place where we dined so many times before. It was our favorite restaurant. Mohammed looked at me silently when I told him that I didn't want to see him anymore. He wasn't the man I thought he was.
The Mohammed Imran I knew was a friendly, decent, modern man. The man who sat across from me wasn't like that. The handsome, cheerful and forward-thinking, modern-minded Arab man I once loved was gone, replaced by a creep who hated everyone different from him and automatically viewed people who didn't follow his religion as his enemies. The Mohammed Imran I knew was gone, and he wasn't coming back. I told him that I was leaving. Mohammed looked at me coldly and told me that I belonged to him. And if I didn't want to be with him, I'd have to face the consequences. My pulse quickened. Was he threatening me? I asked him. Mohammed smiled, then he got up and left.
I sat there, feeling terrified and anxious. All kinds of scenarios flooded my mind. What was Mohammed going to do? I heard about cases of Honor Killings where Muslim families killed their daughters for not being chaste and obedient or for being too modernized. They happened in America, Canada and even the United Kingdom. Living in Western societies had done nothing to change the mindset of many Muslims toward women's rights. Would Mohammed go so far as to hurt or kill me? I bit my lips, and realized I was crying. The Mohammed I once loved and trusted would never hurt me. The Muslim radical he had become? I wouldn't put anything past THAT guy. I wouldn't end up like all those women slaughtered like sheep during Honor Killings. I'm a Canadian citizen, and a Christian woman. I won't be a victim of Mohammed Imran and his backward thinking. With those thoughts in mind, I went to the Toronto Police Service station downtown and spoke to a domestic violence expert. I obtained a restraining order against Mohammed Imran and his family.
I graduated from Ryerson University with my Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and my family came down from Moncton to celebrate with me. I was so happy to see my parents, Paul Villeneuve and Aminata Kasim Villeneuve. My younger brother Jacques also came to my graduation, flanked by his pregnant Jamaican girlfriend Emily Kensington. Emily and I have never really gotten along, because I find her a bit too ghetto. Jacques met her at the University of Montreal, while he was studying civil engineering in Quebec. What an odd pair they made. Emily is five-foot-four, chubby and dark-skinned, with dreadlocks and a big butt. Jacques is five-foot-nine, muscular and tattooed, with reddish brown hair, alabaster skin and icy blue eyes. I have mainly dated brown guys in my adult life, whether Arab or Hispanic or whatever, so don't call me a racist for saying this. I do wish my brother could find a woman who doesn't butcher the English language with every syllable but since Emily is about to give me a little nephew or niece, I guess I should start being nice to her. As long as she doesn't push it.
Yeah, after the graduation ceremony, we all got on a flight to Moncton, New Brunswick. I stayed in Moncton for three months, enjoying a wonderful time with my family. I hadn't been home in so long. I had been so wrapped up with my life in Toronto, Ontario. It was good to go back to a simpler, easier rhythm. Still, after three months, I longed for a bigger City and a more active life. When I returned to Toronto, I found numerous letters sent to my old landlord and to the University of Ryerson by a clearly obsessed Mohammed Imran. Oh God. He still hadn't let go of his obsession with me. I went to the police, and had him arrested. When he came out, Mohammed Imran was still dogged as ever in his pursuit of me. I was considering getting my MBA from either Ryerson University or the University of Toronto but with Mohammed Imran still hunting me like a bloodhound, I would have to amend those plans.
I moved to the City of Ottawa, only three hours away by car but really a different universe from the City of Toronto. Ottawa is small, dull and boring. I applied to Carleton University's Sprott MBA program, and got in. I settled in my new City, and began my new life. For the next couple of years, I focused on school and work. I did a lot of volunteering. I barely dated. I was deeply attracted to guys from places like the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean but I always feared the next one I let into my life might be a woman-hating religious control freak like Mohammed Imran. I earned my MBA from Carleton University, and got a job working for the Canadian Revenue Agency. I was happy with my professional life, but my personal life was practically nonexistent. Until I met...him.
I was jogging the other day when I took a nasty spill. My part of Vanier looks alright but there are some messy people around, like whatever idiot left a banana peel on the ground on MacArthur street. One minute I was running, and the next, I was lying on my back on the pavement, bleeding. I was dizzy, and hurt. Someone grabbed my hand and helped me up. A very tall someone with quite a presence. The tall young Black man looked me up and down, and asked me in French if I was alright. When I didn't reply, he asked in English. I told him I was alright, and he helped me lean against the wall of the bus shelter. I was a mess, dirty and disheveled.
I finally took a good look at my 'savior'. The guy was tall, easily six-foot-two or more, lean and athletic, with a muscular body that Olympic athlete Usain Bolt would envy. Clad in a bright red tank top and blue running shorts, he looked every bit the athlete. There was a small silver crucifix hanging around his muscular neck. He introduced himself as David Jean Menard. D.J. to his friends. I thanked D.J. but only told him my first name. The dude wanted to call a cab or an ambulance but I was dismissive of the scrapes on my arms and on my back. I would take care of them later. I thanked him for his help, but told him I had to run. D.J. smiled politely and then shook his head before wishing me a good day. Then he ran off. I watched him go, then ran in the opposite direction. I swear if it weren't for bad luck, I wouldn't have any luck at all. Last week my car got smashed by some drunk and now it's in the shop. I go for a jog and I almost bust my head open. When will my torments end?
I went home, and showered. Before dressing up, I applied rubbing alcohol and hot, stinging iodine on my cuts. Then I bandaged myself up, and got ready to head out. I was meeting my friends Norma and Genevieve at East Side Mario's restaurant. The next day, Monday, I walked to the Canadian Revenue Agency building, and guess who I saw? Clad in a khaki shirt and black pants, sitting at the reception desk, was my savior. He seemed surprised to see me, to say the least, but greeted me with a warm smile. Wow. My savior was a security guard. David Jean Menard smiled at me and asked me how I was feeling. I asked him what he was doing in the building, and he said he was filling in for the regular guard. Today only. Glancing at my bandaged arm, he asked me if I was okay. I nodded, and thanked him again for his help. David smiled and said I owed him nothing, that I should thank Jesus Christ instead. I cocked an eyebrow and asked him if he was religious. He pointed to his silver crucifix and said he believed in two things, God and soccer. I smiled. I like that answer. I once played for the women's soccer team at Ryerson University. David smiled and said I knew what he was talking about. I nodded, smiled and wished him a good day before getting into the elevator.
I got into my cubicle, and began working. I'm the most educated person on my floor, next to Daniel Hancock, the manager. He's an older guy with silver hair and icy green eyes. Looks a little bit like a leprechaun with all the green stuff he wears. It galls me to say this but most government agencies in Canada don't hire people with degrees from big schools like McGill University, Trent University, the University of Ottawa or Concordia University. They instead choose their workers from people with hands-on knowledge acquired in places like Algonquin College, La Cite Collegiale and Georgian College. They put us overeducated people to the back of the lists when they're hiring and that's really unfair. It's the mediocre hiring the mediocre to do a mediocre job. Small wonder Canada can't compete with the States. Our best and brightest aren't given a chance to represent us.
Around five, I left work and headed home. Even though I graduated a semester ago, I still use the Carleton University gym. I went there to work out, worked out for two hours, then went to the library to check up on stuff. And I kid you not, guess who I saw? A certain tall, good-looking young Black man sat at a computer terminal about twenty meters from me, wearing a bright yellow T-shirt featuring Snoop Lion over the black Dockers pants commonly worn by everyone from cops to firemen, ambulance people and security guards. David Jean Menard. What the fuck? I didn't believe in coincidences so I walked right up to him. What was he doing here? Was he stalking me? All kinds of thoughts flashed through my mind, but I held them in check. I tapped on David's computer screen. He looked up, and his eyes went wide when he saw me.
David asked me what I was doing at Carleton University, and I told him I was an alumnus. Grinning, he showed me his student identification card, and told me he was in his first year in the Master's program in civil engineering. Wow. I so totally wasn't expecting that. David smiled at me in that pleasant, totally confident way of his. This was my third time running into this man in two days. I sat down next to him and we talked a bit. I learned a bit about David. He was born in the island of Haiti and moved to Canada six and a half years ago. He recently became a Canadian citizen and was looking forward to completing his civil engineering degree at Carleton University. He transferred from the University of Montreal. Interesting. My dim-witted, beer-addicted and ghetto-chick-chasing brother Jacques also goes to the University of Montreal. We've given up on the idea that he'll graduate anytime soon.
David laughed when I said that, shrugged and told me that the University of Montreal was a party school. Too many bars and clubs in the areas near campus. You can't blame a student for getting distracted. I smiled at that. I've never been to the City of Montreal. I got a low opinion of Quebecers, partially because of their disdain for French people living in the Maritimes. David empathized, telling me that Quebecers weren't fond of any French-speaking people from outside la belle province, especially Haitians, who comprised the majority of Black people living among in Quebec. I nodded, and checked my Facebook. Impulsively I asked David if I could add him and he nodded. Cool. His profile was surprisingly bare. Only four pictures, all of them family photos. Pictures of David with his mom and dad, and a young guy I assumed to be his younger brother.
I sat next to David, browsing through his profile while he looked at me, bemused. My stomach rumbled loudly and David asked me if I wanted to grab a bite. I groaned, that's what I get for working out after more than eight hours without eating or drinking. Every diet needs a bit of wriggle room, that's what they say. I smiled at David, and we walked out of the library together. Through the quad and into the second floor of the University Center, where we grabbed some pizzas and drinks. Over the course of dinner, I got to know my fellow Carleton University student a bit better. David came to Canada with his family a few years ago. His father Bernard worked as a cab driver in the town of Gatineau, Quebec. His mother Adele worked as a manager at Wal-Mart. His younger brother Stephen was a freshman at the University of Ottawa. He told me how much he loved Canada, and how he wished he could have played for the Canadian men's Olympic soccer team. Laughing, David told me Haitians had two religions, Catholicism and soccer. I smiled, and told him I followed both faiths.
David smiled, told me he went to Sacred Heart Church and then asked me which church I went to. When he said that, I thought about stuff I had been trying hard not to think about. Mohammed and I clashed over differences in religion and lifestyle toward the end of our relationship. My being a devout Catholic was a big problem for Mohammed. My conflicting emotions must have been reflected on my face, for David apologized. I took a deep breath, and told him he had nothing to apologize for. I looked at him and saw nothing but sincere concern on his dark, handsome face. I decided to share with him the burden I'd been carrying for so long. I looked David in the eyes, took a deep breath, then told him about my past. My meeting with Mohammed in Toronto, our whirlwind romance, and how he changed into a religious control freak out of the blue. When I finished the story, my face was wet with tears and I didn't even realize it.
David gently touched my arm, and told me that Mohammed Imran was an embarrassment both to his faith and to men everywhere. A real man doesn't abuse the woman in his life. A grim look came over David's handsome face and in a quiet, confident voice he told me what he'd do if he ever saw Mohammed. I wiped my tears, feeling a bit embarrassed, and thanked David. He smiled and nodded, then told me he really had to get back to the library. He had an extremely long assignment to turn in before the end of the day. And it was already seven o'clock. David looked at me with kindness in his eyes and asked me if I was going to be okay. I nodded, gently touched his shoulder and thanked him for listening. He handed me his business card, which contained his cell number, and told me to call him if I ever needed anything. I nodded, and pocketed it. He took the time to walk me back to the bus stop between the University Center and the Minto Engineering Building. David held out his hand for me to shake, and I did something which surprised us both. I gave him a gentle hug, and then got on the number four bus heading to Hurdman Station, which is only a couple of miles from my apartment in the East end of Ottawa.
David stood there, and waved at me as the bus drove away. I waved back. I took out my Blackberry, punched in his number and texted him. I texted "thank you David" and got a swift reply sixty seconds later. You're welcome, that's what David sent back to me. I smiled to myself as the bus drove away, coursing through the beautiful and very green Carleton University campus and heading toward the City. I have a good feeling about David, ladies and gentlemen. I've never been the type who believes in fate or preordained destiny but there's got to be a reason why I keep running into him. After my misadventure with Mohammed Imran I feel like I am a lousy judge of character when it comes to the male of the species but David seems like a good man. Which is why, when I got another text from him asking me if I wanted to see a movie tomorrow after work, my reply was a resounding yes. I smiled to myself. Oh, yeah. I'm going to the movies with a cute guy. And that's that.