Ah yes, can I wake up the sun bouncing off the colourful, tropical rooftops. To the white clouds dancing across the blue skies. To the scent of tropical flours in the garden. No concrete jungle, no back firing cars, no hustle, no bustle, just cool runnings. Can I sit on my roof with a basket of mangoes for breakfast, watch the ships come and go, gliding across the emerald water. Yes man, can I just day dream as I walk out into the cold West Virginia morning.
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.
Ras Itran walked back over to she and told she that he had called the Coast guard and they would keep an eye out to see if I had taken the raft out and had gotten in trouble. He stopped talking for a while as a young soldier handed him some papers and he quickly looked over them and handed them back to the young man.
“Now listen, de best ting for you to do is to go back home, get some rest and Ah go call you if Ah hear anyting, cool.” Jane hesitated, it seemed like everyone just wanted she to go home and wait, Ras Itran sensed she hesitation and repeated what he had said, Jane looked at him and he smiled she did not say anything she just got up and walked out of the building, Ras Itran stood at the doorway until she got into the taxi.
Jane got back to me house and sat in the front yard for a second, Ken came up to she, he was still wearing he Sunday outfit.
“You look spiffy today,” She said and he smiled, he sat down next to she and asked she if she had heard anything from me, she told him no and he sat with he chin resting on the palm of he hands.
“I like Mr. Dickens, he does help me with me homework and thing, he even stopped me moder from giving me a licking a couple of times.” Jane rubbed him on he back and they sat there until Ken’s mother called him.
`Jane went inside and went up to the bedroom, she lay on the bed looking round at the room, tears rolled down her face as she mumbled,
“Where are you?”
Jane is on the move trying to find out what Happened to Ian, watch little West Virginia girl, you don’t know anything about the La Diablesse, you don’t kno0w anything about Obeah. Walk lightly, watch your back, because there are spirits you know nothing about. What will Jane find, tune in.
Took a walk to the grocery store, its a cool, crisp, West Virginia morning. Its always great when you live in a city and when walking you can hear birds singing and wind rustling through trees. Later today will go for a drive, most likely in Ohio, just across the bridge. Go on roads never before taken, enjoy the countryside. Hmmm maybe I will even take some pictures, or video. In an adventurous mood today.
Look out ah door, de rain is coming down inna de concrete jungle. Filling de Ohio river, water splashing in de potholes dem. Ahhh yes, rain is rain wherever you are, only here is West Virginia, de rain hit you skin real cold. Like small icicles bouncing off you skin. Child, dis not no tropical rain attall attall attall.
It is cold again in West Virginia, I can feel the cold breeze as it sweeps across the Ohio River from Proctorville, bouncing off the buildings in Huntington, freezing my tropical soul. But I have an advantage, I can dream of my beach, Grand Anse beach, ahhh the tropical sun beating down on me, the heat rises from the sand, hugging me like a Grandmother, the smell of the ocean, the flowers blooming, the birds singing, the calypso musing playing. Oh yes, I am there, join me my imagination have room for more.
I can really go for a snack of golden apples right now. Oh the sweet taste of this tropical fruit, golden, like the sun. Ahhh close my eyes and a little Obeah and maybe I will have them here in front of me in West Virginia.
I worked a lot of hours and I always worked the night shift. Thank God for Mountain Dew; I drank enough of it to fill up a bloody Olympic-size pool. One of the places I worked was an apartment complex on Eleven Mile road. One night I was working when a rodent started screeching in the darkness. I stepped out of the guard hut and saw two yellow eyes staring at me. It walked into the light and I thought, damn, this beast looks like something I’ve seen before. When the beast realized I was walking towards it, the bloody beast charged at me. I turned and ran back to the hut and dove into the small window, landing on my head, my size seventeen feet sticking out the window. For a second everything went black. I dragged my feet off the window sill, my hip bouncing off the concrete floor. I stood up and looked out the window, joints cracking and head throbbing. This strange but familiar screech escaped from the beastly monster, echoing through the complex, sending chills down my spine. It stood on its hind legs looking up at me. Bloody thing looked like it was trying to climb in. I made sure the door was closed, sat in the chair and waited as the beast stood at the window most of the night, taunting me. Every time I looked out, it snarled, showing its rows of sharp teeth. The whole time I thought, “Damn, that bloody animal reminds me of home.”
The next day I told my brother about the incident. He smiled and then told me that he had seen a possum out there. That was the first time I realized that I had eaten the infernal animal. I had heard about people eating them in Kentucky and West Virginia but never realized what it was; back home we call it a Manique. Here I was laughing at rednecks for eating those nasty beasts. Here I am, a man who once feasted on the same meat. In my defense, my father had tricked me into eating the thing. I even used to go hunting them. We used to go to the woods at the back of the prison. One person would have a flash light and the others would have a Bangonet, a long bamboo spear. The person with the flashlight would shine the light into the possum’s eyes as it ran across a tree branch. We would poke at the beast with the Bangonet as another person with a burlap bag waited for the beast to fall into the bag. The point is, we are a lot alike. It is the bloody ideologies that make us believe we are different.
A mountain sunset, over the Ohio river, sandwiched between West Virginia and Ohio. Where country roads can take you home to the hollar, beyond the small concrete jungles, to the green mountains where deer scamper and the creeks run down the hilltop and streams into the Ohio right to settle under the Appalachian sunset.