The sun is slowly making her descent behind the right-leaning coconut trees, as my grandmother and I, are now both in the front of the house. She is crocheting something or the other with her industrious hands and I am reading my book. It is quiet in the house. Suddenly a flash of black fur whizzes in front of me. It is my grandmother’s cat. That cat is not friendly at all. That cat’s main purpose is to catch rats and avoid any interaction with me at all costs. Silly cat-that’s ok. Magic, my other grandmother’s cat, seems to have close ties of love and affection for me.
My grandmother tells me that I should gather my things and leave before ‘night catches me’ -this is my grandmother’s way of saying that: I better go back to my other grandparent’s house before it gets dark. I dutifully pack up my things and quickly brush my hair. My grandmother is waiting for me at the door. She has both hands perched on her hips. Uh oh. I feel a lecture coming on. I am right. My grandmother proceeds to tell me to be good, and that I should listen to my other grandparents and that I must do everything they say and don’t talk back. I must obey them. I am not to complain and I am to study my schoolbooks and I am to help my other grandmother if she needs help…even when she does not ask. ‘Good grief. Is there anything else?’ I think to myself. Must I too look after my grandmother? She is supposed to look after me-not the other way around. Of course, these are my inside thoughts. I smile and nod accordingly. I give my grandmother a tight hug and quick peck on her cinnamon-coloured cheek.
I trundle down the wooden stairs that are on the opposite side of her painted white French doors that lead to the small courtyard surrounded by a plethora of fruit trees- and when I reach the latticed gate fashioned by my grandfather, long dead-I wave goodbye mightily and shout out: ‘bye granny-see you next time!’ She waves slowly and does not close the door-but instead, watches me as I walk away and in the direction of my other grandparent’s house.
Along the way, I see a few stray dogs and plenty goats. I say a quick hello to them but remember that I am not to touch these animals, as instructed. But I really do want to just give them a quick stroke. I do not. There are some boys running past me-I am surprised to see boys running and not perched on a bridge, fishing. But these are different boys. But to me, all boys look the same.
After 10 minutes or so, I am back at my other grandparent’s house on Victoria Road. I open the gate and run up the highly polished wooden stairs. I shout loudly and announce my presence. My grandfather is in his Berbice chair reading. He puts the paper down and smiles gently at me and says, ‘yuh reach home already?’ My grandmother is sitting in her hideous red velvet chair and is sewing something-surprisingly, she is not mending my mosquito net. I am not sure what she is sewing, I make a mental note to investigate later. My grandmother looks up upon my arrival and says, ‘alrite, alrite, not suh loud-yuh gun wake de dead.’ My grandmother is simply telling me that while she is happy I am back, there is no need to shout…I just might wake the dead. Which is impossible, I am hoping she knows this.
My grandparent’s house is impossibly hot. The heat is intense and I feel as though I am near the earth’s core. Good grief. I don’t know how they can even live like this. I walk into the kitchen and grab a cream soda from the fridge and I make sure to grab a glass, to appease my grandmother. I make my way to the veranda where the tile is cool beneath my feet. It is nearly dusk now and the mosquitoes have come out in force. Crickets are chirping loudly as they rub their back legs together and crappos (frogs) are belching out and calling to the opposite sex in a deep baritone sound, in the trench, down below. Bob Marley is making his presence known once again. Bob Marley, my grandfather’s only cockerel, crows from morning to night. It is too hot to be thinking about cockerels. I sit in the veranda and drink my cream soda as the night air falls thick and hot around me. I am glad to be back home after spending the day and night at my other grandmother’s house. I think my grandparents missed me. In fact, I am sure of it.