Juanita’s Victories Chapter 18.
Written By SHER TROTT-BAILEY
It took three months to finalize everything with Fred. So for three months, Juanita had patiently endured her mother’s behavior. She had instructed the women she employed to stay at their homes and work on any incoming orders. It had all worked out for the better.
Currently, Maria Cortarzar was barely civil towards Juanita. Their encounters only included the words ‘good morning’ and ‘good night’. Juanita didn’t let it bother her. As a matter of fact, in the last three months, she took care of all the bills, the groceries and the cooking of all meals in her mother’s home.
She spent her time making her bags, going out with Salvano and saying her goodbyes to Meera who went to Harvard, and to Michelle who was preparing to emigrate to England in a week. She had repeat customers too who were requesting gift baskets with the jackfruit and sorrel dried fruits and the plantain chips. One woman named Carissa had ordered fifty baskets for a small get-together she had in Greece. She had sent pictures of the event and the baskets being given out.
When Juanita was finally able to get the keys from Fred and the title transfer for the land was done, Juanita felt peaceful. She would be moving out in a few days after things like cleaning the house were done. Her new house was a fairly old house. She wanted to make it nice and homely for Christmas and the new year.
A few days back, when talking with Salvano, Salvano had given her some wonderful news.
” Hey, Juanita I still have some things in storage from the Hotelier guy I was telling you about. I have African-style furniture, three bathtubs, toilets, slab stones for walkways, lighting, carpets, etc. Come check it out and see what you like.” Salvano had invited her.
” Wow? what? Really Salvano? Are you for real? Well, how much will you charge me?” Juanita spat out in surprise.
” Juanita just pick out what you want. I told you he practically gave me the stuff, now you want me to turn around and sell you the stuff?” Salvano said annoyed.
” Ok ok don’t get offended. I shouldn’t have kicked a gift horse in the mouth.”
” Well wow, you realized,” Salvano said still a bit irritated at her stubbornness.
” Ok, so when can I see the stuff?” Juanita asked.
” Anytime. How about today?” Salvano said.
” Ok, I will take a bus and come by your house. Pick me up by the square.”
” Are you sure you don’t want me to come for you?” Salvano asked with a frown over the phone. Juanita smiled at his tone, she could already imagine his expression.
” Salvano you’ve been driving me everywhere and anywhere for the past months. Take a break. I will take the bus. See you in two hours.” Juanita said firmly.
Seeing how dependent she was on Salvano driving her around, really inspired Juanita to want to get her own vehicle. She loved driving around with him because they would talk nonstop and enjoy each other’s company, but still, he had things to do. It wasn’t fair to always have him coming to get her. Plus she now had her driver’s permit and she owned a house- a proper vehicle was needed.
Juanita got ready and went out to the bus stop to take the bus to Dangriga. Two and half hours later, she was at Salvano’s.
” Man I love it here at your home Salvano, it’s so soothing. Plus your strawberries are looking so good and I can’t believe your grapes are thriving so well.” Juanita exclaimed.
” Feel free to pick and eat babe,” Salvano said hugging her from behind.
She leaned back into his embrace, feeling so content and secure with him. He kissed her on her cheeks over and over again, then pulled her by the arm to follow him.
He brought her to a large storage container. When he opened it, Juanita was awed by what she saw. Beautiful chairs, sofas, furniture were stacked away on one side. There were boxes of carefully wrapped light fixtures. She saw the three bathtubs, she saw toilets.
” Look how everything is working out for me Salvano,” Juanita said.
“You are doing me a favor cause I was wondering what I was going to do with all this stuff. Now I see who it was all meant for.” Salvano said smiling.
” So you like?” Salvano asked.
” I love it, everything is unique and striking but still rustic as I like it,” Juanita said.
” Oh wow look at those carpets,” Juanita exclaimed going over to a corner that had some rolled-up carpets.
” I also have teak and Mahogony lumber in another storeroom, I even have doors,” Salvano said.
” Salvano will you help me to build and with the architecture stuff?” Juanita asked.
” What kind of question is that? Of course, I will.” Salvano said.
” I went to review the house, right now I think a paint job, new windows, and renovating the kitchen and bathroom will be the bulk of the work. Fred’s porch needs an overall in some parts too. In time I can do an extension on the house if you want. The electricals are solid though.” Salvano said.
” Oh ok. So how long will it all take.” Juanita asked.
” No more than a month. As long as we have the manpower we can get through it real quick. I know a lot of skilled guys too who can oversee the work.” Salvano replied
” Man everything is just coming together, it blows my mind just how fortunate I am,” Juanita said.
” Well, when you choose to go against the grain, walk your own path things usually work out,” Salvano commented.
” It’s God that’s falling everything into place,” Juanita said confidently.
Juanita spent almost an hour more, looking through the things in the container and talking about where to put everything. When she had her fill, she and Salvano spent the rest of the day watching cricket and tennis on TV.
” Juanita, I’ve been getting a bunch of emails from several countries’ tourist boards asking me to shoot some of my movies in their country. I got emails from Costa Rica, Mexico, Aruba… even one from China and South Africa.” Salvano shared.
” Wow, where did they even hear about you from?” Juanita asked.
” I know right, the same thing I thought?” Salvano said looking at her with a smirk.
” I have my website with all our film productions, you remember I shot something with the guys when they were here. We had that casual Ssireum fight on the island during the cookout?” Salvano said reminiscing.
” Yeah, and everybody got to talk. Yeah, and you even did shots of Ji- Hoon and Dal teaching the Olympics team too right?”
” Yep and shots of us rowing on the lake,” Salvano added.
” So I have all of that footage on my website, and a teaser trailer for BodyStrike. I’m assuming that must be where they saw my stuff.” Salvano said.
” Well, what are you going to answer them? And when are we going to start shooting?” Juanita asked.
” I’m still fleshing out some things. Plus let’s get you situated first and then we can talk about the shooting. Meanwhile, I still have the couples series to organize.” Salvano said
” Hey, I have some ideas on that. I mean let’s take advantage of some of these countries and fly the couples there for some of the challenges. Plus I can dress the participants.” Juanita said enthusiastically.
” That sounds good. I really like the idea of you using your designs in the tv and movie series.” Salvano said.
” Alright check this out, let’s set up your rustic luxury hotel farm first, shoot the first set of footage for of couples series there, it will be a good promo for your business. Then we will choose another set of countries and shoot the rest of the couples series there. Okay?”
” Sounds brilliant Salvano,” Juanita said.
” I will reply to all of the tourist boards, see if they can set up accommodations as well as great places to shoot the various challenges the couples will have to go through. China sounds exciting, so does South Africa.” Salvano said.
” Let’s not overthink it. Let’s just start. Let’s fix up my place, shoot and take it from there.” Juanita said.
” Sounds good partner,” Salvano said hi-fiving Juanita.
Salvano dropped Juanita home. He told her that he would send some guys over to start gutting the bathroom and kitchen for renovation.
” I will definitely see to it that you’re in before the new year,” Salvano assured her.
When Juanita went inside, she was surprised to see her mother, her Aunt, Mrs.Hernandez, some other women at home.
” Here she is ladies, my wayward daughter.” Maria Cortazar exclaimed.
” Yes, miss big and mighty, I flew in from New York just for this!” Her Aunt Cara said sneering.
” So you’ve been acting like your some big woman now! You’ve been ignoring your mom, disrespecting her by not even talking to her and carrying grudges.” Aunt Cara accused.
” You think I haven’t heard everything that’s been happening.” Aunt Cara continued.
” Juanita, your mother has called us over here to talk some sense into you. Seems you have been refusing to work, under the guise of your doing your own business. But we hear it’s really a man that’s been giving you money. A guy by the name of Salvano ” Mrs. Hernandez said in her high-pitched voice.
” Yes ladies, he drops her off and picks her up almost every day. I don’t see her doing any work pertaining to her so-called clothing business. She quit her job up by the estate and is now loafing around the house.” Maria said looking at the group of women.
” I’m not having this gang-up conversation with any of you!” Juanita shouted, her anger boiling
” Mom this is the last straw! I have had it with you. How dare you!” Juanita shouted.
” You see ladies, you see what I have to deal with. Mind you she might just fight me.” Maria shouted.
” God your so evil!” Juanita shouted.
” Young lady mind how you talk to your own mother!” Aunt Cara reprimanded.
Juanita said nothing more. She simply went to her room and started packing her clothes. An angry Aunt Kara stormed behind her, trying to grab Juanita by her shoulders. Juanita angrily shrugged her off and pushed her away.
” Whoo, whoo Maria she hit me.” Aunt Kara called out.
Juanita took up her phone, called Salvano and told him everything that was happening. Salvano did an immediate reverse in the road and headed back to Juanita’s house. He got out of his car and knocked on the door.
Maria Cortazar answered the door, her face fell in startled surprise.
“Hello Ms. Cortazar, I’m here so any scandalous accusations you want to lay against Juanita and myself you can just address to me,” Salvano said firmly to the woman.
” Salvano, I …” Maria said quibbling.
” What do you want to say? You’re jealous of your daughter? Do you want to make yourself look like the victim? You and your old bitch friends are trying to gang up on a young girl.” Salvano said angrily.
” Juanita, are you ready? Let’s go.” Salvano shouted, ignoring the startled faces of the women in the living room as he breezed past them.
Salvano passed a bitch looking face, who he assumed was Aunt Cara and went to find Juanita. What he saw, hurt his heart. A silently crying Juanita was busily packing her bags. He watched as her hands trembled to close her suitcase. He finished packing for her and took her hand.
” Anything we left can be replaced. Let’s just leave here for good.” Salvano said.
The two walked past the horrible gang of women and walked out of the house with no goodbyes. Juanita never turned her head to even spare her mother a glance. She was done with her.
The whole incident put a fire in Salvano’s heart. He and his crew worked hard to renovate Juanita’s place. Seeing her forlorn face each day after that incident pained him. It wasn’t until a week after that she finally started showing signs of the old Juanita. The further along they reached with the installation of new tiles and toilet for the bathroom the happier she became. They shipped new appliances for the kitchen. Finally, the porch was repaired and fresh paint was done to the house. Juanita then got to decorate and add her little touches to her home. The guys working for Salvano then tackled some landscaping and clearing of the land. By the time they were done, his Juanita was beaming from ear to ear.
Written By SHER TROTT-BAILEY It took three months to finalize everything with Fred. So for three months, Juanita had patiently endured her mother’s behavior. She had instructed the women she employed to stay at their homes and work on any incoming orders. It had all worked out for the better. Currently, Maria Cortarzar was barely…Read MoreRead More