Streaks of red, orange and yellow exploded from dark clouds that formed round the late afternoon sun, the sea was calm except for the ripples made by a cruise ship lazily gliding by, small round holes lined its body from bow to stern, yellow glows escaped the holes like fading fireflies on a half moon night. I looked over to me left at the old French fort that stood overlooking the habour the eighteenth century building a constant reminder of the island’s colonial history, I heard the faint sound of music as the police band practiced they calypso tunes, tropical music flooded the air with plenty of rhythm. A seagull flew by and I followed its graceful motion until it settled on the roof of the house on the other side of me yard The yard was three acres of dirt that turned into a sticky mass of mud when the heavy tropical rainstorms drench the island. There was no garden of vegetables like the other houses, deep in me, me arrogance as a self-proclaimed intellectual would not let me work the soil. The only plant life that prospered back there was the large mango tree just to the right of some rocks, its big green leaves swayed in the gentle gusts that whipped through the yard, the sweet fruit, some green, some yellow hung from thin branches occasionally falling to the ground tossing up dirt as they landed. At the back of the yard a thick clump of bushes marked the boundary between me yard and the neighbour’s yard, prickled trees covered with vine leaned over as if protecting the ground from mechanical weathering. I peered into the bushes; it always seemed like a black hole even when the sun is in the middle of the sky. Me thoughts were interrupted when I heard a loud pop, it sounded like fireworks at Christmas, all the bloody dogs in the village started barking, I mean; you would have thought it was the second coming or something. Anyway back to me thoughts, I always wanted to walk through those bushes to see which part of the neighbour’s yard I would come onto but I never wanted to trespass, Mr. Alexander lived there and that man was a grim old fool who would kill any animal that ventured into he yard, bloody old man had a mean disposition, I swear, he had to be the devils prodigal son. There were other houses around, some concrete some wood, but mostly wooden, man I tell you what, some of them houses was so colourful when the sun shined directly on them it could blind god.
I was distracted from me thoughts by the thud of a mango hitting the ground, it rolled a short distance and settled at the feet of little Dexter who was sitting under the tree, he reached out and picked up the large fruit, wiped it on his shirt and sank his teeth into it, yellow juice escaped through he fingers and down his arm. A small bug hovered over him for a second then came to rest on he head and he swatted at the pest getting some of the yellow juice in he hair. He blue shirt was dirty from playing in the dusty roads all day in fact that child was always covered with dirt, mud was caked between he
toes as he swiveled he shoeless feet in the dirt. He finished eating the fruit and surveyed the rest of them lying round him. Then, as if a light bulb went off in his head, he gathered
the fruit into one pile took off his shirt and placed them in it, threw the laddened shirt over he shoulder and walked out the yard with a triumphant grin on he face.
He climbed over the wall and into the yard of the small house to the right of me yard, yelping as he jumped, he mother came to the window and yelled at him to come inside. She started to go back inside but stopped and leaned out the window, the large black wig she wore tilted precariously forward, I chuckled, pondering the idea of the wig falling off she head and into the pool of muddy water under the window. Just as it was bout to slip completely off she head she grabbed it, straightened it, looked round and went inside the white laced curtains closing slowly.
I heard she talking to Dexter from behind the wooden walls of the house she voice carried with the wind out to sea. That woman was usually the topic of discussion when the village gossips got together, some say she did not have a strand of hair on she head not to mention the fact that a local obeah man was the one who put a curse on she. I would always laugh when I heard that story because the whole idea of Obeah and Voodoo seemed real counter productive to me.
I turned me attention back to the sunset, the yellow globe was half way down as if hiding its complete beauty from the world, the sounds of steeldrums playing in the distance them pansmen and them were already practicing, preparing for carnival in August, I tell you what, they sure could play a sweet tune. I closed me eyes took a deep
breath and inhaled, the salty air bit at me nostrils causing me nose to sting a little but boy I loved that smell for so.
Before darkness devoured the daylight and the wonderful sounds that came with it. I pulled meself inside bumping me head on the window frame, this was one of the disadvantages of being seven feet tall me head was marked with bumps and bruises from all the doors and ceilings I bumped me head on. I was grossly under weight for me height, one hundred and forty pounds to be exact, as a child I was the target of every bully in the damn village, I mean, them little bastards would follow me home after school.
“Tall tin an terrible, bamboo in pants,” they shouted they laughter echoing down the narrow streets, bloody ingrates, it was they constant teasing that contributed to the present-day arrogance and disdain I had for the traditions of the island, I mean, I was likened to every bloody folktale character ever though of.
I left the window and walked across the room, a small maple coloured desk sat in a corner covered with papers, I stood over the desk surveying the mess, damn it, sometimes I hated being a teacher all those bloody papers to grade could spoil a man’s eyesight, but I sat down and started filing through them anyway.
It was one o’clock in the morning before I was done with the last bloody paper, I yawned stretching me arms to the ceiling, the rough surface jabbed into the soft flesh of me middle class palms. I yawned again and stretched me legs out me knees popping as I
did then I got up and walked over to the window. The full moon hovered over the sea its crystal light shimmering across the ocean causing the water to look like the sky with twinkling stars, the cool Trade Winds bushed against me face and I inhaled then turned and walked away from the window, I tell you what, the site of me bed was enough to send a wave of relaxation through me. I dove into the air and landed on the bed me body sinking into the soft mattress. I lay there thinking bout the next day, I was a teacher at a small Methodist school in the city. I had good pupils most of them loved telling stories and that is why I loved teaching writing classes. I fell into a light but restful sleep with the images of the day flashing before me.