A positive reframe of this experience - which I can just about do now - is that Barbados was a highly useful nightmare. As one UK client astutely put it 'Well, at least you can cross the Caribbean off your list'. I agree wholeheartedly - and wild horses couldn't...but, you know the rest of that one.
My story went like this:
I met a woman at a BBQ in Barbados. It was a dark night. She seemed plausible and was very physically beautiful. I had been coming to Barbados as a tourist for maybe four years. I never stayed longer than two weeks and often brought clients with me. My clients and I were from the UK mostly and so desperate for winter sun. We did yoga within the sound of the surf and I loved everything about that Island. You can backbend for England in January when the body is warm, and expanding outward in triangle takes on a life of its own when in every direction there is blue and sun.
My BBQ friend was called Gretchen and over the next half year we stayed in touch. I liked her because she was funny and knew she was beautiful and when someone is honest I can be frank. She had a boyfriend who lived in Europe and was down on Bajan men in general which was an attitude I was to encounter a lot. I can understand being down on a thing but all I knew about Bajan men were the three or four of Bajan descent that I had dated in London.
None of them were right - and my happiness index with Afro-Caribbean men was rather poor - but I liked the idea of being with one. If I generalise there was a sexual immediacy to Afro-Caribbean men that I found reassuring, as well as some long ago decision I had taken about my lovers needing to be 'cool'.
I have always been hard-headed.
Ultimately, my desire to move to Barbados was not organismic and not felt. It was like an external movie that I made three dimensional and then let form.
I gave Gretchen an old-fashioned phone call and I asked her if she knew of an apartment I could let. It turns out the one next door to her - same landlady - same dark corner of the Island as the BBQ - would be empty just in time. It seemed to me that lucky coincidence was knocking at my door and I was more than ready.
Thus, sight unseen, I arranged a tenancy that would run for six months. I then set about saying goodbye to one decade worth of clients.
To be continued...