I tried to forget how uncomfortable I was by looking past the tinted windows, small wooden houses painted in red, yellow, green and blue flashed by even they tinned roofs were painted in a rainbow of colours. They all had big wooden doors painted in bright Caribbean colours; I tell you what those doors were the biggest things on them houses. Manicured flowerbeds surrounded the houses a testament to the pride that the islanders took in they humble dwellings, the scent of the flowers permeated the air as the warm wind rushed through the bus, yeah man, that breeze felt real good. At intervals I saw the ocean, man I tell you what, is like the ocean was everywhere you go.
We were close to the little city now I saw the habour ahead and the banana boat with its green and white body stood among countless smaller boats bobbing on the waves. When I was a boy me mother took me brother and me to the docks to watch the bananas being loaded onto the hull of the massive ship, as they disappeared into the dark hole, I would wave goodbye to every box then I stood on the edge of the dock and watched as the ship disappeared into the horizon. I always wished that someone on that bloody ship would take me with them so I could see some far away place. I was still looking at the boats when I thought bout the police and the blood in the gutter, I wondered what the hell could have happened?
I was jolted back to reality when the bus narrowly escaped hitting an oncoming car and I winched in pain as needles and pins ran through me legs, damn drunken fool, was he trying to break me legs or something? The men on either side of me rolled and bounced yelling obsinities at the driver. I was grateful when we finally stopped in the market square and I unfolded meself from the seat and stepped off the bus landing in a puddle of muddy water. I made me way through the mass of students rushing to their respective schools.
I stood across from the school building waiting for the stream of cars to go by, the old structure with its gray walls gave the impression that inside was a sad and dreary place but really, it was a happy environment. A couple of me uncles had gone to school in this very building, back then it was an Anglican high school, now the Methodists had bought the building and started they own school. There were no windows on the walls facing the street thus blocking out the noise from the constant flow of cars. I crossed the street and opened the big doors they squeaked real loud echoing through the school, students in they chalk white shirts and blouses, brown pants and skirts stood round waiting for the bell to ring. Some of them were talking in whispers and stopped talking when I walked past them I hung me head and negotiated a path through the cluster of bodies and made me way to the teacher’s lodge.
I walked into the small room and sat at me desk and lay me head on a pile of papers trying to compose meself, what a night, what a frigging morning. I sat up and surveyed the desks that lined the room, piles of papers were on each desk waiting for the teachers to grade, I tell you what, them snobby bastards were sure messy I closed me eyes but the image of the woman in white lingered in me head and I felt real faint and me body was as cold as ice. There was a big window on the other side of the room so I got up and walked over to it, man, that sun felt real good. The Methodist church stood a little ways down the hill its steeple pointed up to the blue sky its stained windows sparkling in the sun, seagulls flew by their loud squawking filled the city with a strange melody that drown out every other sound. I heard a voice behind me and turned round, it was Mr. Hopson.
“What is the matter with you?” he asked, with that fake British accent, he hazel eyes piecing through me. His hair was neatly trimmed into a large Afro and thick long sideburns, he was bout forty-three years old and his hair looked like god had sprinkled salt all over it, he chin was a hard square line that usually accommodated his equally well-trimmed goatee. For some reason he and I had a decent rapport so I decided to tell him bout the woman in white, he had moved and was now standing over his desk gathering he books for his first class.
“I would like to talk to you about something,” I said hesitantly. He turned round and looked at me.
“Last night round two in the morning I saw a woman in white standing in my yard, a strange feeling came over me and I could not move or speak, even now as I talk to you I can somehow feel she presence.” Mr. Hopson said nothing; he just looked at me as if waiting for me to say more.
“I know that this sounds stupid, but on my way here this morning I thought about the old folktale about the woman in white and how she seduces men.” Mr. Hopson stood expressionless at first then a smile erupted.
“Mr. Dickens, why are you telling stories especially now,”
I looked at him surprised at his answer I thought that he would have at least been frigging objective.
“Have you not heard? One of them communists got shot last night he was found dead shot in the head, some of the kids saw him laying there with a big hole in his head and parts of his brain seeping out.” I sat looking past him to the window, so that was the pop I heard last night; Mr. Hopson was talking again, “Listen, you have students who look up to you and they need you to be strong for them, look, all them communists are trying to steal their minds from us but we can not let those ungodly demons corrupt their minds so pull your damn self together because they need you right now.” I walked over to me desk and sat down me face felt as if someone had dipped me head in a bucket full of steaming hot water. Mr. Hopson turned back to his desk that bloody man was always telling us younger teachers how to do we work.
“Surely you don’t believe you were visited by one of them La Diablesse phantoms?’ he asked, he lips twisting in disdain, I did not answer him I just sat there feeling like an uneducated fool, Oh hell, why did I let this bagawire make me fell like a damn fool? Still he was right, I mean, all those years of colonialist schooling and I was still somehow being taken by the islands folktales. Mr. Hopson looked at me with that arrogant smirk I saw on the faces them politicians. I sat at me desk with me head in me hands then slowly I got me books together and walked to me first class.