The Year: 1977
My name is Maria, Maria Dominguez, born in a little village north of the city of Santiago, Dominican Republic. Please excuse my English – my native tongue is Spanish. I’m using an interrupter. My Don Quixote Smith story is this:
Many said when I was young I could dance better than any of my family and friends. So I started to take lessons when I was fourteen. I could dance the meringue, our national folkloric dance, far superior to anyone in my class. My instructor would always say to friends, “Come to my class and see this girl move. She is seductively good.” He was proud to have me as his student.
At seventeen, I was picked to go to the capital Santo Domingo as a finalist in the National Meringue Contest. To my amazement, I won the second prize with my partner Jose. “Maria and Jose didn’t win because the winner was a general’s daughter,” was the cry from the professionals and friends alike.
A man, who owned a dance studio and company, saw us perform and hired Jose and me for his touring group. We played in many of our country’s hotels until we got a permanent one – what do you say in English? – The gig at the Hotel Lina in Santo Domingo. Jose and I had sex many times. I became pregnant, and then the time came when I could not dance for fear of hurting my baby.
The group became famous and got a contract to go on an international tour. Jose left me behind when they went on tour to foreign lands – Mexico, Spain, Italy, America, and others. I went to my mother’s home in Santiago to have my baby and never saw Jose again until many years later. At that time in my life, I detested Dominican men and was leery of their intentions.
Eventually, Jose fell in love and married a Dominican-American in the U.S.A., and he became a green card resident of their country. I wish I had his luck. He did send money for our son and wrote me saying he was sorry, but he had to do what he had to do, whatever that means? He also wrote that he would bring his son to the United States when he became a citizen – how fortunate for my son. “But…What about me?” I would cry loudly in my depression, “Dominican men suck!”
When I regained my slim body, with its admiringly round breast and tight rear end, I looked for another dancing position. My firm, slender legs and my newly found confidence after my experience of being left on my own by Jose, gave me the strength to dance my way into another dance group. I had the smile, personality, and seductive moves. Also, I slept with the director, Juan Sanchez. We used each other. I was making my luck.
One day Juan called a troupe meeting, informing us he had signed a contract for a group of six males and six females to tour Haiti. I paid a lot of money to get a passport fast, because I was one of the six women he’d chosen after twenty auditioned for the job, and we were leaving in two weeks.
I know why I got the dance position – it was my bedroom moves that Juan enjoyed the most, not my dancing. Juan said at the close of auditions, “Maria. I hired you to keep the other girls in line when we are in Haiti. You still got the moves at twenty-one – you’re special.” The other girls were all eighteen. Juan liked young women so he could control them.
I said to myself, “Don’t men always mean that you're special when they want to sleep with you?” And Juan regularly got his way. He was troupe leader and a super asshole.
When we arrived in Haiti, the room assignments were made at the Hotel Royal Haitian, Puerto-Au- Prince. I slept in a room with Lia and Dolores. Juan had his room because he was the director/dancer, using it for sex with a different girl each night. Sometimes two would be beckoned. Lia and I reluctantly gave him what he wanted one night. Anything to keep the boss happy was the unhappy attitude of the girl dancers.
The man was a Puerco, pig. What could we do? We couldn't leave – any of us could – he held our passports and most of our money until the tour was over. He did this to keep control. But, he said he did it for safety reasons.
We were his sex slaves on call. The men in our group were all gay except Jaime. He played around with local whores who came to see us perform. He was told to stay away from the girls in our group by Juan. I started enjoying the younger girls at Juan’s request. What Juan wants; he takes. “I want the young ones broken in. That’s your job. That’s why I hired you,” was his unvarying take-it-or-leave-it orders.
The local and foreign tourists tried to have sex with us. I declined no matter what the money offer was because Juan said he was going to send me home if I did. He would force me into his bed instead. The pig started to enjoy rough sex. I would cry after each encounter and hope for the tour to end. After our two-week engagement at the Cape Haitian's Hotel Royal Christophe on the north-east side of the country, the tour would end, and I would be free from Juan Sanchez.
I remember the long bus ride to Cape Haitian. I stayed alone in the back, not talking to anyone. I had spent the last night in Port-au-Prince in Juan’s room. He was more brutal than ever. I just fell into a cocoon. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I was crying inside. Dominican men suck!
My body did not feel so right from the bruises to my private parts. I decided to bear with it for the next two weeks and report Juan to authorities when I got home, even though I knew it wouldn’t matter in my male-dominated country.
We arrived in Cape Haitian at the hotel. Getting off the bus, I bumped into a young man who was coming out of the hotel. “Sorry…Hi!” he said, looking into my eyes intensely and giving me a beautiful smile.
“Hola,” was all that came out of my mouth. I was shaking. He spoke English and I couldn’t. Comely and sharp looking at the same time, I just wanted to squeeze him. I had – what do you say in English? – Goosebumps – all over my body.
“Lia, did you see that gorgeous man who just said hello to me and walked away?” I nudged my roommate.
“Yes. I'd like to get that man into bed! He looks like an American. Let’s ask someone,” she replied, licking her lips.
She asked the hotel worker, who took our bags, in Spanish, “Hi! Is the man that just left here an American? Does he stay here?”
Answering in broken Spanish, he offered, “Si, Si, he is in room #13. He is Don Quixote Smith. He lives in the hotel for a month. He is a businessman.” He held his hand out for a tip. I gave him an American dollar, and he continued smiling, “He goes to the show tonight. I help – no?”
I handed the Haitian another dollar and told him, “Find out all you can about him and tell me later. OK?”
“Si, Si. I find out.”
We arrived at our rooms and took a long needed rest from our three-hour bus trip. After showering, I laid on my bed thinking about that good-looking man Don Quixote Smith and knowing that we would meet again. “I’ll bed him,” I said in a sinister tone. “I don’t care what Juan will do to me. I’ll take my chances and make my luck.”