From a new project Father’s Shadow

Andre’s mother did not say one word the whole subway ride home. He sat looking down, too afraid to see the disappointment in her eyes. They got to the house and still she said nothing. He went into his room and sat down staring at the walls,

“Boi, yuh mudder mad for so,” the shadow said. Andre did not respond. The shadow giggled.

“Cheer up me liccle brodda, what yuh want me to sing yuh ah lullaby, put yuh chin up,” Andre got up and walked over to his boom box and put on a Bob Marley song,

“Boi, you better turn off dat Tampi smoking music before she come in here, yuh know.” The shadow said, Andre turned the music up and went back to the bed. His bedroom door creaked and his mother peeped in. For a second they stared at each other, then Andre slowly got up and walked over to the boom box and turned it off.  His mother looked at him for a few more seconds then closed the door,

“I did tell yuh,” the shadow said laughing.

“Shut up yuh evil Jab Jab,” Andre said,

“Wah yuh vex at me for, I din do notton atal atal,” The shadow said,

“Is your fault I hit dat bouy, is yuh who tell me do it,” Andre said throwing a pillow at the shadow,

‘Yeah is me wey tell yuh, but it felt real good din it?”  Andre did not reply. A slight wind rustled the trees outside the window,

“Look at me eh, I is dancing,” the shadow said,

“Go to hell,” Andre said,

“Come on, me and yuh is friends don be mad at me.”

“I said leave me alone,” Andre shouted and got up and closed the curtains. The room plunged into darkness and the shadow was silent. He lay down and was soon fast asleep.

Andre woke up to voices in the living room. He got up and opened the door. His mother was talking to a man,

“Fada, I don know wah I go do wid him, is like de child possessed or sumting,” she said in between sobs.

“I thought bringing him here woulda change he, but he is still bad, fada, I don know wha to do. I tek him to church, I give him good licks, I sent him to stay wid he aunt, but notten works. Sumtimes he acting jus like he fada you know”

“Sister Monica, God works in mysterious ways, I am sure your son will be fine,” the man said, Andre creped down the hall and peeped into the living room. A priest sat on the couch, his silver hair combed like a bridge over his bald spot. His mother paced in front of the priest a mere shadow in the light from the window.

“Bring him to confession on Sunday, there is nothing pray can’t fix.” He said. Andre turned and walked back to his room and flopped onto his bed. He heard the front door close and he got up and went to the window and opened the curtain. The priest walked across Rochester Avenue and got into a small car and drove off. Andre went back to the bed and sat down.

“Ohhh Ohhh, yuh in real trouble now.” The shadow said, “Is you fraid?”  Andre sat up,

“I not fraid of notten,” He shot back,

“Ohhh, liccle man ha some balls all of a sudden eh? The shadow said snickering.

“Don laugh at me you know, cause I go…”

“You go do what eh?” the shadow said. “Is me who teaching you to be a man and don forget it,” The shadow said. Andre’s mother opened the door.

“Who is yuh talking to boi, who in dey wid yuh?” His mother asked walking into his room, her long straight black hair swayed as she moved.

“Nobody,” he replied,

“Boi, why you always talking to yuhself eh?’

“I don know,”

“I is real disappointed in yuh yuh know, why yuh always misbehaving for eh?” she asked. Andre hung his head,

“I don know,”

“Every ting is I don know I don know. Boi you is getting to be a big man you know, time you start acting like one,” She said reaching out to rub his head. Andre smiled,

“I know mamie, I promise I go try me best,”

“Sunday we go go to church and you going to confession, the fada say he go talk to you,” she said,

“O K mamie,” Andre said.

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