We are excited to spotlight Claudette Alexander on the Highlighted Author — particularly during the holidays — as her story is one of selfless service. With a heart for those less fortunate than herself, Claudette is currently working with patients to help them indulge in full and happy lives despite their struggles with chronic illnesses. Her debut novel is a memoir about some of the heartrending challenges that immigrants face. Enjoy the feature.
–Jo Grafford, Highlighted Author Co-Host
A Note from Claudette
As a teenager growing up in St.Lucia, I was fascinated with the Mills and Boon series and always envisioned some Prince coming down some mountain to rescue my heart. Hence my obsession with love and romance.
My other passion is fighting for the rights of the underdog. I did a good bit of fighting as a union president. These days my fight is to empower people with knowledge on how to live happily with chronic conditions.
I have always wanted to write a book but the desire intensified when I survived a three months stay in the hospital fighting for my life. Initially I wanted to write children’s books and also write a book for my sons to know the love that transpired with their dads before their birth since they grew up fatherless.
By the time I was finished with my debut novel it evolved into a memoir. SUNRISE FROM AN ICY HEART: A MEMOIR is about my journey as an immigrant in love, work, motherhood, and healthcare. In addition it envelopes all that is special about St. Lucia, its people, culture and beauty.
Next on my agenda is writing stories for my grandchildren. I have begun entering contest stories by grandmas.
Links to Claudette:
Sunrise From An Icy Heart
A story of survival and determination, from St. Lucia to Canada through a midst of rejections, abandonment and the power to smash through the fence of fear and fly.
A sensual, amusing, and fun read that will stimulate your senses, make you laugh, cry and learn some essential life lessons.
This book is intended for mature readers.
The glowing-hot sun rose from the sea and splashed its morning warmth, but a cold chill crept through my veins.
“We’ll be together soon, baby,” said Linus, his voice an undertone whisper. His kiss was long and deep, as he said goodbye.
We embraced for a lingering minute while I inhaled his Brut cologne, a scent forever remembered. As our embrace uncoiled, our puffy eyes clinched revealing our pain, faces cast downward with pressed lips. His hand squeezed mine, then he turned, crossed the scorching asphalt-laden tarmac, and ran up the stairs. He stood at the top, gave a final look, his eyes making images of the life he was leaving behind, then he disappeared into the airplane.
My chest felt heavy as if a boulder sat on it. In rapid succession, I breathed. My life was at a low ebb and gray as the metal wings that would fly him away from me. In a brittle tone. I whispered. “When? my love, when? while through blurred vision I watched my man take off like Christopher Columbus to conquer new land. I took in all of his leaving. His light blue shirt-jacket hung so magnificently off his square shoulders, long legs in navy blue pants and with each forward stride the pain on my chest intensified.
I plodded to the car. My new companions followed–hurt, headache, heartbreak. Each in turn slicing, snipping, shaving a little piece from my heart, until I thought it was demolished. For healing depended upon patience, resilience and endurance. I had none of those. I was null and void. Hope his move to Canada to seek a better life does not backfire.
My Dad, Oliver Alexander, would not allow me to move to Canada with Linus Hyacinth. “If the man loves you he will send for you after he gets settled,” he said. “Make no sense the two of you going up in a foreign country, and none of you know nothing about the place.”
I believe he loves me but they say out of sight out of mind, or absence makes the heart grow fonder. Lord, let it be the latter. I hope Dad was right.
Walking past a few workmen on the airport, someone whistled, the wind wavered in the almond trees nearby, as I hurried into the car. I sat gazing at the stretch of turquoise sea water, breathing in the breeze. The tranquility of the aqua embodied me and I remembered happier days with Linus, my Mandingo man. As minutes crawled into hours, I wondered how long I would have to wait for his dark skinned body to touch mine. Or how long before I rubbed my hand over his muscled curved rump, or looked at his handsome face, a square forehead, and penetrating eyes with a half smile that gave people the impression he was x-raying them. Lord, don’t let any woman in Canada poison his mind and make him forget me.
As I thought about my emptiness, pleasing images of time spent together began to infiltrate my mind.
We met in 1968, the year when Linus’ sister married my uncle and through the ensuing introductions. Timothy, the virginity protector, had left the island to pursue his own dreams so there was no brotherly interference. At 18, I attended St. Joseph’s Convent Secondary School. Linus, at 20, was already out in the workforce doing his architectural drawings. Many days he would drive me to and from school. We were in full obedience of our hearts. Being with each other was enough. We needed no extra stimulant. Sometimes when he worked late, I went to his workplace, sat and chatted as he did his drafting. We met every day. We loved to dance, go to parties, picnics or just chill with friends and some rum punch. Being with him made life so golden and radiant. I was deliriously happy.
Dad, with his height, dark skin and eyebrows that patrolled his forehead like black battleships ready to meet any threat to his family frightened male suitors. To avoid encountering him, Linus went to a nearby bridge and whistled when he wanted to visit me. I got pumped up when I heard the signal to join him. Whenever Dad was not around Linus came to my house and we sat on the steps till the wee hours of the night. I always wore a skirt so he could get easy access to the pleasure spots with his long delightful fingers. I learned the joys of figure eights and calligraphic lettering in my body. One night, the expected whistle came when my siblings and I sat at the table watching Dad eat his dinner. Our usual way of waiting for the leftovers. The family custom was to consume a big breakfast, big lunch, and at nights something light such as tea and biscuits, or juice, and a sandwich. Dad always had three big meals a day.
As I stood up to leave, Dad said, “Claudette, sit your ass down.”
I tilted my head to the side and in a low voice, asked, “Whyyyyyy?”
“No decent girl would have a man whistle her across a bridge.”
“What are you talking about?”
“The whistle. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about because if you had any decency you would make the young man come to the house. Futhermore, I don’t want you to be with this man unless he comes to the house, introduces himself, and state his intentions.”
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