Martin's literary efforts - fooled you! A friend of NC's is entering the Commonwealth Short Story Competition and is offering a sneak preview of draft one. Deadline is in May so suggestions for revision are welcome!! NC is preparing her own entry - sneak previews may be available in the event that it is ever finished!
The rain poured bucket a drop, on the galvanized roof of the tapia house from an endless, grey sky. White rain never stopped, black rain over in a minute. Anil peered over the top half of the wooden back door and watched as the rain collected in the gutters and poured off into a steel barrel at the side of the house. The droning clatter of the raindrops mesmerized the boy into a reverie, “What was he to do?” he thought. His father gone, his mother struggling to make ends meet selling roti and he was now the man of the house, He longed for the days he used to wander freely to the river and catch crab and crayfish and keep them in a rusty old paint pan and play marbles after the rains, the smell of wet mud wafting through the air.
Now daily, he and his mother selling roti, the bustle of people coming and going was a blur, oily head children, uniforms creased, going to school, sucking on salt prunes, an he have to help sell roti. How he envied the children passing by, the schoolbags weighing them down with books while he had to fight and bargain with ah ole grizzly, bearded man. Yuh cyah even give me $ 5.00 for a chicken roti? Like yuh trying to skull meh, meh money Mister, yuh have to give meh , more money dan dat? Whey de other dollar? But a -a yuh feel yuh big, little boy , why yuh not in school ? yuh want to end up like me?
Hm dat man doh know I done tired already for de day, dat I had to get up 4 o’clock, cyah even see meh foot, sleep still in meh eye ,stubbing meh toe in de dark, dreams still attached to my head, an I fulling water in a bucket in de pitch black ,steups, he eh know. Now, he want to rob me my dollar? He eh know meh mammie pull meh out of school cause I too big, an meh father ups an gone? Steups dese ole people is tears, yes? No, I doh want to end up like you, Mister?
But what I doing? I here looking at rainwater collect in puddles making a making more work for me in the morning too, he thought, to clean up that muddy back yard.
It must have better days that this, yes. Didn’t the old people say so, everything happened for a reason? The rain continued in the usual noisy, droning clatter, fat drops plopping away on the galvanize. Yes, he thought, I going to have a better life and I go take care of my mother and get a good job. I doh know how but I will do something.
Suddenly Anil noticed that the rain had stopped and was now falling in a light drizzle. A weak sun was peeping through the clouds. Hm. He thought, what a funny thing, only in the Caribbean could the rain disappear as fast as it came.
“ Anil what yuh studying, so boy? Like yuh have worries? Only ole people does prop up so, and have long face. Look, let meh make some hot sada roti and fry plantain and yuh go wash it down wit some green tea. What yuh say to dat?” Anil smiled, Yes Ma, ah would liked dat. Yes things must get better.
Ma, he said, What about I go back to school? His brown face and eyes were so earnest, how could she lay her burdens on him. She couldn’t do it – “We go think about it eh? We go think about it. She smiled and turned around and flung the wooden shutters open and the sunlight streamed in onto the wooden floor. Anil felt a change stirred in his world.