There is no road to redemption, when there is a war on redemption road.
I was walking dung de road, de sun was high in de sky, it was surrounded by white clouds and endless blue. Seagulls flew overhead, somebody was playing some real good music on top de hill. It was a fine day, a really fine day I tell yuh. I was mid way down the street when I stopped in front of old Mis Chase’s house and sniffed de air. Wait a second, wah is dat I smell; oh dear lord, she making she famous sweetie, oh me lawd, I have to get home, i have to break that piggy bank. Dem fudge is calling me, i could smell de nutmeg, the Cinnamon, the brown sugar, oh lawd, come on skinny legs, move, move. Oh I can taste it, me mouth watering. Dat old woman know how to make some fudge. I tripped, fell, but forget the pay, forget my bleeding knees, I was Jonsing for some ah dat heavenly fudge. After all that trouble, all tat running, the frantic search for a hammer, here I sat, at the window overlooking the ocean a place full of brown, dark brown and pink sweetie. If this is not heaven, well hell must be real sweet.
Ahhh it is amazing how an acidic, sour fruit like a damsel can be cooked into this sweet, delightful snack. Yes, now I can sit in the veranda, prop my feet up on the banister, watch the humming birds zoom round, listen to the laughter of the children playing cricket in on the road. The scent of the stew over powering the the scent of the roses. Ahhh yes, this tropical food and tropical life is for everyone.
Tropical warriors, marching to the beat of raindrops on the leaves in the forest. . Feet creating a melody like drums on the asphalt road. Red armor glistening in the sun. Silence their battle cry.
The sun was blasting down, so hot when you walk in the sunshine you skin would tingle. Here i was, eight years old on summer break. Mommy Charles had stayed home from work that day and it was just me and she in the house. I don’t quit remember why our nice quiet day deteriorated into a battle of wills, I mean it could have been because i had stolen the freshly baked bread and hid it in the dresser draw, or, i could have said a word I should not have said, or even I may have stupes (suck my teeth) or looked at her crossed eyed when she tried to discipline me, but here I was, bolting out the back door, Mommy Charles in hot pursuit. I burst out the back door, down the flight of stairs and onto the cobble stoned alleyway. Mommy Charles stood at the doorway looking down at me.
“Wey you tink you go go? She asked, that wait till i get hold of you look on her face. I realized she would not come out after me, she did not have her shoes on. So feeling confident i was safe, i wagged my tongue at her and did a little dance, my skinny legs pumping and twisting like James Brown, I mean it was footwork that even he could not duplicate.
“Ohhh so you mocking me now eh? You just wait.” she said, shook her head and sat down. thus began the staring battle, Mommy Charles on the top of the stairs and me standing in the alley. People walked by, some saying hello others looking at us real strange. Mommy Charles got up and was about to go inside and me and without thinking I committed the most heinous crime an eight year old could. I turned my back to Mommy Charles, bent over, pulled my pants down and skinned my bam bam at she (mooned). I felt the warm tropical sun brush off my bare bam bam sending chill bumps all over my body. I heard Mommy Charles growl, i swear, i say smoke come out she mouth. I pulled my pants up real fast as if afraid to be scotched by she fuming breath.
“Wey yuh tink you go run to eh? Wah you go do, swim to de nex’ island?” That was when all the bravado drained out of me. i thought, lord, where am i going to go to get away from Mommy Charles. She shook her head and walked back into the house. I sat there , on the hot cobble stone alley, my heart pounding as i tried to figure out where i can go. Back then, running away was not an option, I mean where would I go, not to my father’s, hell no. Maybe i can go live on the beach, but damn it the police would catch me and take me home. I can go to the other side of the island, but Mommy Charles had family there. They would not just take me back home, they most likely would have spanked me and then take me home. Either way i was going to take a good licking. I looked around, like an animal caged and about to get spaded. I decided to try and make it to the bedroom that my brother and i shared. i started walking up the stairs but stopped, surely she would be somewhere up there waiting. I went around the house to the front door. I listened pressing my ear against the wood. i heard nothing so i gingerly placed my hand on the door knob and turned it. The bloody door squeaked as I pushed it in. I poked my head in and looked left and right. A shiver of joy rushed through me. Mommy Charles was nowhere in sight. I moved across the living room floor on my toes trying not to step on any loose floor boards. i was really excited as i reached the bed room door. I was whispering to myself,
“Oh yes, she tink she smarter dan me, well I go show she.” I was so relieved I was giggling uncontrollably by the time i had the bedroom door opened. I was not going to escape the spanking, but i sure was going to put it off as long as I can. I pushed the door open, leaned in and looked inside, she was not going to trick me by waiting in there. I stood there for a second trying to decide if this was the best hiding place when suddenly i felt a stinging sensation on my bum. I hesitated to look back knowing what i would see. I slowly looked around just in time to see the belt above mommy Charles’s head then closed my eyes and clenched my teeth anticipating the next lash. That damn belt, I had hidden it a few days ago, but here it was, reappearing like voodoo magic, gracefully swinging through the air. I rushed into the bedroom, Mommy Charles stood there for a second as i danced and jumped rubbing my bum with my hands. I tell you what, I learned my lesson, i never back talked or skinned my bam bam at mommy Charles ever again.
Last night was bitter cold. My teeth were chattering so hard it reminded me of days on the beach when the tropical rain poured down and I was swimming. The ocean was warm, but the bloody rain hit my skin like small pellets of ice. It is 2013 and yes, I am still living in The Wild and Wonderful City.
My dream began with me standing on a narrow street, engulfed with a thick grey mist. At first it was silent, but slowly, the sound of voices filled the air. I looked around but saw no one. The voices grew from a murmur to ear-splitting screams. The grey mist turned into a thick fog that seemed to stifle me. My eyes felt like they were on fire and my throat felt like someone had his fingers wrapped around it, squeezing. I stood up and started walking away from the voices. I had no intentions of waiting around to find out why they were coming towards me. I had taken two steps when I stumbled over something, landing on my knees, but I felt no pain. I brushed tears from my eyes and looked down. There was a young lady lying on the road. From the uniform she was wearing, I knew she was a student. I crawled over to her and lifted her head. There was a large gash on her forehead; blood drained into her eyes, causing them to look like pools of crimson red. I looked around; the mist had disappeared and I wiped the tears from my eyes so as to see what was going on around me. The sun was shining so brightly that my skin burned. It felt like someone had dipped me in water at its boiling point. She mumbled something, but instead of words, blood spilled out of her mouth. The red gush soaked into the white shirt she wore, red in the middle of the stain and pink on the edges. The sun went dark as I almost fainted; bloody girl’s eyes were rolling back in her head.
Suddenly the screaming voices stopped and a shadow blocked the sun so I turned around. There was a man standing over me. I saw no face, no mouth, and no teeth – just two red eyes glaring at me. I moved to get up as he screamed like a man who needed to be exorcised. The look in his eyes was one of pure hatred, and he had that expression that made people look more like beasts than humans. Then his arm raised and the blue skies behind him turned grey, then black. Once again I was falling, the faces of people I used to know flashing in the dark, pale florescent images floating around me. The screaming was unbearable, but slowly it disappeared and I plunged into the darkness.
I sat up in bed; the room was so dark I thought I was still dreaming. A Harley Davidson bike roared by outside. It sounded like an airplane flying low, about to drop a bomb. I got up and stumbled to the bathroom, turned on the faucet and splashed cold water on my face. I looked at myself in the mirror; my eyes were the same color as a fire engine. I wiped my face with the towel hanging next to the shower, turned and walked over to the window.
Here it is 2013. I am used to people not pronouncing their T’s. I know that a penny is one cent and not two cents like on the island. I am now versed in Hillbilly slang, well sometimes I still do not understand. Lately, black slang and white slang have crossed lines and all people are starting to sound the same. Country music is no different than rap, all pop music. I still have people thinking I am Jamaican. I am still single. The only difference is, I don’t think I am not good enough; I just refuse to sell myself short. I have kept my accent; thank God ‘cause an island boy with a Redneck accent would make me sound like a bad Disney character.
Ahhhh another crisp cool morning in the hills of Eastern Kentucky. I instead of going to work, I would rather walk along this dirt road, past the pond with the ducks, down the hallo, through the grassy field, into the green forest, up the hillside, all the way to the top and watch the horses gallop in the field of blue grass.