There was something about the morning sunrise that felt freeing. Although she had no experience of servitude Desire felt as if she had been held in captivity all of her 15 years. Every morning she crept out of the back door, past the hog pen and out onto the dusty red lane. If she stood right there she could see the sea to her left and the road to the rest of the country she had been born in never travelled to her right.
Grains of red dirt lathered her leather shoes in a smooth red coat of dust that she would definatly have to remove before school but this was worth the extra task. Just before the road turned to sand she removed her shoes and tied the two laces together and hung them from her neck before stepping into the golden sand.
Within minutes the dark shades slowly dissovled watching as night turned to day she smiled admiring the beauty of God. Nature begun its morning song and the animals stirred in the pens across the lands. Far away a cockrel crowed signalling her time for departure. Sadly she gathered a palm full of sand and let it flow through her fingers
“One day.” She said with hope .” I will leave this land and walk amongst the richest gentry and fine ladies. They will call me Lady Desire and I shall have women who tend to my every need.” She gighled childishly as she imagined herself inside a fine house adorned in fine threads.
“How will you do that?” Thaddues sniggered.
Looking up at her interuption she frown deeply. In all the years she had been alive Thaddues had found some pleasure in reminding her that life wasn’t the fairytale she imagined.
“Why do you inist on creeping up on people Thaddues” she scolded. “I’m sure Miss Anderson has work for you to do.”
Grinning foolishly Thaddues wagged his finger in her direction and laughed. ” you dont worry about Mrs Anderson this is the fifth time Ive been removed from duty to find you.”
“Nobody asked you.”
“Well if your mother is nobody then I guess nobody did.”
Thaddues watched as her eyes slanted and her tan brown skin flushed red and rejoiced inwardly.
“Dont be smart it doesn’t fit a dummy like you.” She spat. “Soon I will leave this captured land and I will be courting with the Queen.”
Tutting Thaddues smiled “Your high dreams and ugly nature will only bring you misery you wait and see.” Kissing his teeth long and hard he kicked his feet in the sand as he cursed all the way back to dry land.
Thaddues Brown was two years older than her but not as smart. For the past year he worked at Mrs Andersons brown house as a helper. Mama Rose, Thaddues mother, had nine kids to feed and four goats not yet ready for their purpose. Thaddues was the eldest child and Mama Rose at least worked hard to send the three eldest to school while the others waited to learn from them but the school had done all they could. ‘Sone pickney just nuh book worthy” the teacher had offered and Mama Rose took that to the nearest work vacancy and pushed Thaddues into the world of work. All their fathers had left Thaddues was the only one they had ever know. Little Kevin wad happy now he was going to school and Thaddues felt like a man.
Years ago, his face had been the sun and his words as sweet as honey but the older they got and the more proverty she saw the less of a catch Thaddues seemed. Although, he was still handsome his prospects were as dim as his brain and there was no way she would end up bare foot and ‘bruk’ like Mama Rose. Rising she dusted the sand from her sun dress and begun the short walk home, Papa had left for sea earlier and Mama would just be stirring a hot pot of cornmeal porridge. Passing the old hotel she notice the sale sign had dissappeared and wondered who had brought the old building and would they have a family. Passing four more houses she opened the gate at the fifth and side stepped the old mongrel grazing in the morning heat.
Junnie pushed the wood into the fire and continued to stir.
“I said morning Mama.”
“Me hear yuh.” Junnie snapped, placing the lid on the pot she rose and placed her hand on her hips. “T’ree marning straight I wake an yuh nuh dehyah.”
“I was at the beach Mama.” Desire whined.
“I know I sent Thaddues to fine yuh.” Sighing wearily Junnie hobbled over to the steps and sat down. “Mi to old fi chase yuh Desire but I want you to know what ever sweet nanny goat run him belly.”
Desire frowned deeply trying to process her mothers parable with little understanding.
“Go get ready for school, with all your foriegn dream I sure of one t’ing foriegn don’t want no dunce.”
Skipping indoors Desire traded her sun dress for her freshly starch uniform and rubbed her shoe vigoirously until they shined like new. Brushing her hair into a neat bun she placed her sun hat atop her head and admired her reflection. Only she wasn’t wearing her uniform she was dressed in lace and covered in pearls.
“Stop idle and move.” Junnie scolded
A hot bowl of porridge and fresh cocoa tea later she began her walk to school. The three miles it took was shorter with company, but she was late. Every morning she prided herslef on being ready and prepared for the term. School was her way out of this small island, she had bigger ideas and greater plans. Very few people from her parish could go to school so her high fourrune was and elevation she readly excepted without grace. Many of the children hated her and favoured her brother more but she didn’t let that bother her. Wesley was a no hoper with no ambition who wanted to follow in their fathers footsteps. The idea of being like her mother appalled her. Spotting her friends Nancy Clarke and Romaine Dawson not too far ahead she sped up her pace.
“Wait for me nuh.”
After a few yells she finally got their attention and caught up.
“Thank you Nancy.” Desire replied.
“Easy Nancy we only just reach.” Romaine offered in peace before all three burst into laughter. ” Nancy deciede she wants to go to America, did you pick?”
Clasping her hands together Desire grinned broadly “As soon as I can afford it I will be leaving Jamaica.” Desire announced proudly. ” and heading for England.”
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