Will You? (For Julie)
Sunday | May 18, 2008
"Ah whe di gal deh?" I thought I heard someone say. Actually, I'm sure I did.
I am awkwardly cringed behind my neighbour's small rusty stove and clench my towel close to my chest. Amid my sobbing, I try to grit my teeth, bend my toes and hold my breath.
"Yuh nuh hear mi say whe di gal deh?" they screamed at Miss Aunty.
"Lawd Jesas! Di blood of Jesas upon oonu!" she hollered, "Di blood of Jesaaaaas!"
All now mi cyan believe say ah it dis! A so mi a go dead God!? Ah it dis?
These are the 'last moments' I've heard about in movies and read about all my life. I'm sure you've heard people say during your last moments, your life flashes before your eyes, or, time stands still. It's both.
Oh God! Mi cyan believe dis a happen all now! Oh God!
I just want one more day to make it right; one more day to say my thank yous, I love yous, be more motivated, love myself more, dismiss friends who should have been only for a season, but I stuck with for a lifetime.
Will I be one of them to burst from the graves when God comes again? And where do I go from there? I just want to really ... live this time.
I woke up this morning thinking it was going to be a good day - a day I'd make a few errands, visit one son and collect the other. A day I've lived 10, 585 times before. A day I would do all over again.
I think I woke up around 6:00 a.m. It's usually the time Miss Mavis' cock crows, so I think that's the time.
I got up and took a shower. I tip-toed along the elderly creaking wood, back to my bedroom because I didn't want to wake Miss Mavis who lived on the other side of the house.
I lotioned my skin and looked at myself in the mirror. I didn't see what others saw, a round, dark brown face, with 'coolie hair', as they said, and a stout, short body.
I saw someone with large playful eyes, a smile that looked more like a grin; a woman who'd survived near-death beatings, broken bones and a half-wrecked spirit. I was a survivor.
Just then, I heard a loud 'boom' on the veranda. I went to look.
"Browning, ah you we come to enuh," a strange face with a smirk said. I ran down the passage to the back door.
"Woi! Help! Murdaaaah! Help miiii! Heeelp!"
In my desperate frenzy, I didn't remember the trench in the back. I ran and jumped.
I've been running all my life. I'm tired.
"Julie, a wha happen? A wha 'appen to yuh hand and foot!? Julie!" bawled Miss Aunty, who was sweeping her back yard.
I couldn't answer. I hopped to the first place I could hide.
"Help mi Miss Aunty! Help miiii!" I hear myself shout. I have no idea why I did that; what was she going to do: beat them with her broom?
"No mommy, step ova deh so. Dis ah nuh fi you," I heard one tell her. They say I "know" too much.
I've taken so much for granted. So many have taken me for granted. I don't think this will make it to the papers.
If it does, I don't have high hopes that my 29 years inelegantly perched on sorrow will be more than 10 lines. Isn't that what we all are - 10 lines waiting to happen?
I bet it would read something along the lines of: "A woman was shot and killed in ____ district, Hanover yesterday morning. Dead is Julian ____, 29. According to CCN reports, about 6:30 a.m. three men entered ____'s home, where they attacked and shot her once in the arm. She fled into a nearby trench where she broke her leg. _____ managed to drag herself into a neighbour's kitchen where the men pursued and shot her several times all over the body. _____ was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. The Lucea police are investigating."
Maybe, they'll have my picture too, but I doubt it. The country's full of rice, cassava and gas woes.
I'm a mother, an aunt, a niece. They drag me, feet first, from behind the stove.
I cry out from the pain in my broken leg and I dig my nails into Miss Aunty's red polished tiles. They aim at my hip and fire.
I am a cousin, a sister, a daughter. I feel something pierce my belly.
I'm the soul no one saw when they looked straight at me.
They aim at my face. I'm 10 lines who lived inelegantly perched on sorrow. I close my eyes.
"Please! Please! Pl-pleeea-se," I cry, stretched out like an already sandy past.
Maybe they'll change their minds. Maybe they'll see a cousin, a daughter, a sister, a niece.
Maybe they'll see me. I lie stretched, begging for a lifetime; this life; this time.