Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Tale of Two Women - A Mini Series, Part V

Claudia was happy to see Deanna return for Christmas that year. She inquired about her travels and listened to the reader’s digest version Deanna gave her and her family. Interestingly enough although Deanna and Claudia are sisters by marriage they live completely different lives with their own friends and interests. It’s not that they don’t enjoy one another’s company but rather they’ve just never thought of being anything other than sister-in-laws and spending time together during family functions.

Claudia was so devoted to her family that she would literally do anything for them. She worked part-time because Clint insisted she get a job because of her spending habits. Although from Deanna’s outside viewpoint she could not fathom what Claudia spent money on that wasn’t directly related to her family. Deanna never observed Claudia sporting around in new clothes, shoes, or finding her home lavishly furnished with new furniture or appliances, so could not see where or how Claudia could be spending so much money. On the other hand she saw that Claudia was a meticulous housekeeper, doting mother and wife, wonderful cook, loyal friend, and always in high-spirits. Then again Deanna wasn’t living under their roof so really didn’t have a place to judge.

Claudia’s husband was and can be a relatively self-absorbed individual with a childlike quality. Clint is very social, likeable by everyone he comes across, and participates in many sports activities. He’s always been a daredevil when it comes to pushing the limits of danger, hence the reason he’s so good at being a fire fighter. He has a true adventurer spirit for the great outdoors. Often times when he’d have days off he pack up his truck and he and his buddies would go camping for a few days, leaving his son and wife at home. Although certainly not unusual for couples to have separate interest and do things separately, however it seemed Clint was still living his childhood days regularly without his wife and son. Nonetheless, Claudia always kept a stiff upper lip, would smile and say, “oh you know Clint”. However, Deanna began to wonder if perhaps Claudia suffered sometimes too inside for until now Deanna hadn’t seen this side of her own brother.

Weekend getaways, which weren’t always on the weekends, were pretty consistent for Clint. He also took his family on trips, which normally consisted of camping. The problem with the trips that took place during the middle of the week, caused Claudia to have to try and rearrange her work schedule at the last minute, which sometimes resulted in her losing her job.

Now Claudia being a city girl from Mexico didn’t have much experience with camping, but being the lively game-going girl that she is, would jump right in and figure it all out as she went.

The similarities between Claudia and Deanna’s mother were uncanny, but Deanna could never point these things out to her mother as they were received as almost offensive, which Deanna never understood. For the qualities she saw in Claudia were qualities of a supportive wife, mother, someone willing to do anything for her husband, someone who rarely if ever spent money on herself yet rather the family, someone who seemed to never demand anything of her family, and yet to the critically watchful eye of mother-in-law she saw Claudia as a handicap, a burden of sorts to Clint. Whenever there was a riff between Clint and Claudia, Clint made the repeated fatal mistake of always going to his mother who had pretty much coddled him his entire life and shared his woes with her. Being the overly protective mother of her son she would always defend his position and spew her negative thoughts of Claudia to her son, which always fueled his already agitated state with his wife. It would be presumed that his mother’s words were merely an attempt to sooth her son’s temper or were they really an opportunity to express her distaste for her daughter-in-law.

Deanna was settling into the condo she and Martin had previously purchased as rental income, although terribly saddened she had to move from the home she helped physically construct with Martin into this condo that was situated in the heart of seediness, she had resolved herself that it was better than nothing. She decided that while the exterior of her condo was situated in an unsavory neighborhood that she’d create the interior of her home to represent her. She went so far to refer to her abode as the Chateau in the Ghetto.

Both Deanna’s divorce and legal matters relating to the business were being handled, even though extremely stressful and tiresome for Deanna because she held so many things inside and yet still forged forward in the hopes of seeing a new dawn.

In late spring 2000 Deanna had been becoming more and more in touch with herself and discovered the need to do something fun, something creative, something active but she didn’t want to play softball and volleyball as she had for years because she no longer found those sports enjoyable. She began searching for something that would satisfy this desire. One night searching the world wide web for nothing in particular yet something to do to kill time as we so often do, she stumbled upon a website regarding belly dancing. As if a bright light went off in her head she heard an indistinguishable voice say, “yes, this is it”. Although Deanna knew nothing about belly dancing, had never actually seen belly dancing being performed, she knew without a doubt she needed to research this venue. She sent an email request to the proprietor of the business inquiring about services and received a reply back giving further instructions. The next thing Deanna knew she was driving to the studio to attend her first belly dance class. Upon the first day of class which included only women, the teacher, Fatima, had all the women pull their blouses mid-way up exposing their stomachs and wrapped a scarf around their hips and said, “ok class, lets begin”. The ever self-conscious Deanna wanted to die right there on the spot rather than expose her stomach to ANYONE because for years her body had been revered as a source of shame, but she managed to get the courage to pull her shirt up and allow Fatima to wrap the scarf around her hip. The good thing about Fatima was she was a no-nonsense kind of gal that just got to business, leaving no room for shamefulness, embarrassment or any of the other associated feeling. Moreover, as soon as Deanna was able to hold her head up a bit and open her eyes she saw the same shy look on every other woman in the room, which brought her relief. She was not alone.

As soon as Fatima began to play the music Deanna was transported to another realm. For the first time in as long as she could remember she felt an undeniable connection with this Arabic music, a union of sorts.

Deanna regularly attended weekly classes. She enjoyed the teachings of the skillfully and gifted Fatima whose talents came effortlessly and naturally. Students came and went, but the core of students that regularly attended Fatima prepared them for their first dance recital, which for Deanna was thrilled and terrified all at the same time. Although Deanna was use to performing and preparing for various sporting events, this was a new venue for her but she was willing to accept the challenge and do all the necessary preparation for the recital. Fatima devoted countless hours of her time in the training of this now troupe of eight women of all different sizes, ages, cultural backgrounds, and creeds. It was nearly two weeks before the recital when Fatima finally began the costume designs. Part of Fatima's costumes included a mesh bodysuit which the ladies wore under their costume to give their abs a more mysterious appeal. Of course to the ladies the costume was the most important aspect of the dance. The first time Deanna put on her long flowing satiny burgundy colored skirt and matching billowing sleeves with her rich purple sequined coined hip-scarf something within her came alive. For the first time in her entire years of existence she felt like a woman. At that very moment she understood the power of femininity women held and was bewildered by this knowledge.

The day of performance was finally here and Deanna was sweating bullets, but her only saving grace was that her dance partners were as equally nervous and giddy. Deanna’s two dear friends came to watch the performance and show their support. Positioned in the center of the room with her dance partners, striking a pose waiting for the music to start, Deanna thought she was going to die, but when the music began and it resonated something in Deanna. She found herself transported to another plane. Although the performance itself only lasted a mere few minutes the entire event seemed so surreal and yet somehow natural to Deanna. She could not explain these feelings but reveled in the fact that she made it through the song without messing up, knocking anyone over, and most importantly not losing any of her costume.

1 comment:

a_akak said...

still in the race...........