Arrow Man and his 'ningy ningy' wife
I insist that my efforts to stifle my laughter were valiant. They were not, however, enough to appease the good Mr H.S. Archer, long-suffering husband, part-time welder and farmer extraordinaire as he and I spoke in Port Maria, St Mary.
"It not funny, man!" he snapped. I told him I agreed and that he should continue with the story.
'Arrow Man', as he is called by fellow residents, told me he was feeling burdened by the expectations placed on him by his quarrelsome wife. He seemed as if he needed to get it out, so I offered him a listening ear. As the tale unfolded, however, I found it hard to keep a straight face.
"Like when mi come home inna di night, mi want to eat mi dinner and relax likkle bit. Watch news and dem ting deh. But would she allow mi fi do dat? As mi come in she telling mi bout mi must go bathe. Yuh ever see anything like dat inna yuh life? Big, big man lakka mi," Arrow Man said.
I asked him how long he had been married. "Wi married bout inna must be 1971," he said after thinking about it for a while.
I wondered how it was that in all that time he had not adjusted to living with his lady love. It seemed Arrow Man guessed what was going on in my head.
Mi caan badda
"She never always so horrible, yuh know," he said. "She go England go live fi four year and when she come back she just start ningy ningy inna mi ears every night. Mi caan badda," he said.
There was a small bar across the road from where we were standing, and I noticed Arrow Man staring longingly at it. I asked him if he was thinking of drowning his sorrows in liquor.
"Well, mi would have a drink yes," he said. "But from the other day every time mi have a one drink this woman mek up noise. And now she tek up dis habit fi ah smell man like she ah police."
I told him it was probably best to stay away from the booze anyway. Since there was apparently no solution in the works he would be drinking a lot and probably for quite a while.
"Well, is true yuh talking still. Right now, mi buy a bread and mi know seh she siddung at di yard waiting on it fi eat wid di bully beef, but mi not rushing home at all, " Arrow Man said.
I tried to change the subject by saying how beautiful Port Maria was looking. It had rained the day before, I was told, so now the air was fresh and the roads clean and inviting. I joked that since he was planning to stay out for a while, at least he had a nice place to kill some time.
"Hee hee," he laughed. "True ting still. Port Maria nice and ting. Sometime when it get crowded it nuh so nice, but when yuh have space can walk and look 'round, den yuh alright. When di car dem pack up di place it get noisy but right now anything better dan di frustration at home," he said.
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