7. Limbo Time

Dig out this wild dasheen. Go cook that tonight. Papa, things does change fast when they change. Have signs, if you looking. Like how that ants’ nest getting big as if it overflowing, or how the parrot fly home early. Signs of the rain to come. Rain. Not a lot. Send a trickle ah water rolling cross the yard. Ahh, Rosemary. A sorrow cross a dry heart. Blasted brown skin girl. On m’mind. On m’mind. In town who was looking for signs? Work in the drug store. Play whey-whey, bit ah dominoes in Ram shop. Wasn’t looking for no signs. Writing tunes with Wilmott and DeLeon. Ahh. Foolish fool. Feel y’coulda just turn town boy? Ah, papa, fool die for want of wisdom. Ahh.

Need more twig. Piece ah moss. Rosemary! She was frying fish. I shoulda see the signs. Just a small fire. Breakfast. The girl who did help was outside washing clothes. Juk-juk at the sink. Morning sun. A moth on the table cloth. First sign? Coulda be. Rosemary say she feeling tired. Could ah all be the last. But, so what, eh? Tired wasn’t sick. Woman does feel sick the first months. Went work, carry on me session with the fellas, drink rum in Ram shop. Then she start looking pale, moving slow. Tell her, take it easy. Take it slow. Then she couldn’t come out the bed. Well I notice then.

Ah it catch. Good, good. More twig. Just enough, just enough to… Yes. Father bring doctor. Medicine in bottle. Even send priest. Say all kinda prays. Nothing. Mr Uriah send incense for burning, and shining bush for tea. But she wasn’t taking none ah that ‘obeah medicine’. Ahh. Shoulda take the obeah medicine. Church girl. By the end ah September you gone. Dead. She and m’baby. Ahh. Block the breeze. Lose the flame. Just so. Just so. Life was sweet. Just so turn bitter. Bitter like mauby.

Eh, look the jap-sapania in the spider web. Beating around and just getting more tie up. Hah. That was me, papa. When Rosemary dead. Blasted fire gone out! Where the stone? Eh. Hide under the fig leaf. Hah. I couldn’t hide. Not even in sleep. Close m’eye and was dead face I see. Sit up whole night. And only thought filling m’head. How m’baby didn’t even get chance to die. Ahh, papa. What a thing. What a thing. No chance even to die. How that could be? Why? Was too much. Where the rain to wash way memory? Ah, papa. Grief and pain.

Need more dry leaf. Eh. And after the nine nights… Ah the house feel empty. Silent. Could hear jumbie whispering in every corner. Death. Everywhere. Ah, papa. Didn’t know, didn’t know. M’fate was done seal. Come. Get this fire going again. M’fate was done seal. Come on, catch.

Ahh. Was me and the jumbie. Me and the jumbie. Inside that house. Dark house. In town. What benefit, these memories? He give we that house. Mr Walker. Mr Father-in-law. -Wedding present, my son, he say. Ahh. Yes, Mr Walker. Rosemary still gone. You come to the house. Just a next nail in a coffin. Forget! How forget? Come, bring youself to the house. Ah, papa. Not to rub m’head. No. No. Come cause he hear talk. Nail in a coffin. Talk! I tell you, forget that night! Upsetting the morning.

Cha. It out again! Damn fire! Have to start over. Breeze coming in already. Get this blasted fire light. Jumbie! Cha. Is she do for me. Jumbie! Is you do for me. Sewing lies like she sew blouse and skirt. And he hear. And he sit there. Leave it so! Cha! Ruby sister, Pearl. Leave it so! How Ruby make baby for me. Lie! And I tell him so. Was Rosemary I marry. Rosemary! And we was going and have we own baby! We was to have we own baby. Ahh, papa. I didn’t business with Ruby once I get married. Never. Maybe once. But not so. And she never say… No. That was she sister Pearl. The bitch!

Close that door. Don’t want think them thoughts. Ahh, the fire catch. Throw dry leaf on the flame. Sky getting dark.

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