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Bread & Coq

Bread & Coq

posted on Wednesday September 29, 2010 | in Crik Crak,The Basin Jamet | 4 Comments

Grandmother’s hands full of empty, full of wrinkles opened to me with 50 cents, five tot-tot bread she said, you better be back before my spit dries.  With glee young me picked the money out of poor Mum’s hands, grabbed the basket, grabbed Lila, skipped away with bare feet on clay ground.  The earth is moist; the trees green and pungent.  Mangoes; gold, yellow and maroon, dance on branches causing envy.  Monsieur Sun is strolling toward the horizon, his back a parasol the color of mandarins, over his head a sky like the one at the Lady of Fatima Church, blue, pink, yellow and green.  Life is a frolic in the river, the first bite of a sweet Mango Julie, black pudding on Christmas day, ice-cream after church, hot bread and butter; life is a joy.

Coq is a joy.  He is my age, a young coconut, not sweet enough to cause sensations yet but pure enough for liking.  We sit on the bench next to each other near the golden-apple tree.  We do not touch.  When he isn’t looking I stare at his face in adoration and I think of Mum’s spit drying on the big stone at the front of the kitchen.  I have an excuse though!  Mr. Boy’s sheep got stuck in the bush and it took soooo long for him to get it out that he started making the bread too late and so there was a line…

Me, Lila, Coq, Cobo, Gros-Tet, Ansha and all the other children play.  We play hide and seek.  Coq is it.  He hides behind the cinnamon tree and counts,  yon, deux, trois all the way to twenty.  Ready or not here I come.

I’m hiding in the pwevitte, of course I know that he saw me, I wanted him to.  He catches me first and we are both in the outhouse.  Though it is dark I can feel the roaches all over the walls.  There are white ones too.  A big mabouya scurries away.  I look at Coq in the dark and I drink the young coconut; I close my eyes.  I am a young joy-juice tree in full bloom, peach with fuzz.  Outside the wind is blowing through the mango trees, wooooof, wooooof.  I am blown with it…

Suddenly the door to the pwevitte opens, we block our eyes, before us Monsieur Sun is falling asleep.  There’s a roll of laughter and in the distance I hear the squeak that is Lila’s voice, “I telling Mum for you.

Shala Monroque (all rights reserved)

First published in Issue 9 of Kilimanjaro Magazine

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  1. pamela shepard (Reply) on Wednesday 29, 2010

    this is a perfect recount of a perfect moment.

    such lovely snippets about family and home!

  2. Debra (Reply) on Wednesday 29, 2010

    The life of a lil island girl. To be that carefree again. The story and picture struck a chord. Thanks for leading me down an unpaved road surrounded by plush vegetation and zinc rooftops. Its surprising how the simplest things can make one so happy.

  3. safs (Reply) on Wednesday 29, 2010

    Beautiful read Shala!

  4. Eunice (Reply) on Wednesday 29, 2010

    I love how there is a Gros-tet in this story. It recalls so much memory of the vacation I spent as a kid in haiti, there was a gros-tet among the kids :D. Aside from that I love the flow of your writing in this story. It made me feel laid back and calm.

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