Monthly Archives: January 2018
Hush lil grandchild
Don’t say a word
You found grandpa
but no sounds could be heard
Images flooded your eyes and mind
Surly this was not what you expected to find
Silent questions with answers that made no sense
You stand in the church, nausea grows intense
There’s a sweet aroma of an unusual incense
The one you least expected has again broken your innocence.
Who is friend, who is foe?
Baby girl back then not even I did know
Being frozen has become habitual
You lock off to reality
To shut off the brutality
Of the obscene works of profanity
Questioning your virginity
Hush my lil dookie
For I am to blame
Again I didn’t protect you
I’m so sorry I feel ashamed
I am you and you are me
Trying so hard to not induce in you fear
That freezes you so all you can do is cry out with flowing tears
You are loved I promise
A love that is pure and real
In years to come you will realise its Jesus Christ
Until then dry your eyes
block out their illegal touch
Hush now most beautiful Dookie as its all too much.
Please forgive me.
I was told we were going to Trinidad, dad, mum and I. The excitement I felt was that I was going to see my grandparents who I loved dearly. They were the typical looking grandparents, granddad had the whitest hair and the longest beard, grandma was a cute small framed woman, both very loving.
I remembered them from my holidays when I was little and remembered granddad had a church in his garden and he was a preacher. I had a great idea when we were told in woodwork at school to think of something and make it… I was going to make a granddad a book rack to rest his bible on.
It was great being back, the smell of the humidity when the plane doors opened was just intoxicating. The drive was always early evening so the air was always filled with cooking from the doubles stalls, restaurants and homes.
The capital is Port of Spain, and that’s where we stayed, well where we were based as we had lots of family and friends to visit. The day came for us to travel down south deep in the countryside to visit my grandparents. They were just as I remembered. I proudly presented the varnished book rack to granddad and he loved it. It was the first thing I ever made in woodwork.
At the back of the house was land as far as my eyes could see, filled with coffee bean and cocoa trees and it all belonged to our family. There was also chicken and duck pens (I thought they were pets!) It was quite humorous brushing my teeth and rinsing my mouth out the window and watching the ducks and chickens quickly ran to gobble up the minty water…quite disgusting actually, there was no sink! The house was a board house and we washed in the yard surrounded by galvanise. The toilet…well… it was what they called a latrine, a galvanised little space with a boxed seat to sit on. It stunk to high heaven, I’m sure the excretions from my forefathers were in there. In the night time you had to take a flash light. As soon as the light shone in there its like it came alive with movements, cockroaches, lizards moths and other unknown insects scarpered everywhere. That was it for me, as big as I was I used the bed pan to urinate and mum or dad took it outside to empty it in there, for love or for money I wasn’t entering there again. My stomach froze for any bowel movement, I didn’t go for a week.
Sunday, the best day as Sunday dinner was like Christmas dinner and my grandma had the sweetest hand when it came to seasoning and cooking. She asked me what i’d like for dinner and I said ‘chicken.’ Grandma said chicken it is. I was looking forward to going to the supermarket with her as I was hoping to get some rhubarb sweets also.
I waited and waited so went to see what was taking gran so long to get ready. There she was in the chicken pen with a long cutlass in her hand. She grabbed a chicken and put it on the sale, obviously not pleased she let it go and caught another one. Pleased she came out of the pen. I was still clueless to what was about to happen I just thought it all comical. Then the bucket was over the body of the chicken with its head and neck sticking out and before I could think the next thought the cutlass came swiftly down and there was a bloody headless chicken running aimlessly around the yard, Well I screamed with my mouth opened for the longest while catching flies. Grandma why did you do that whyyyy??? She laughed at me as she thought my reaction was quite comical and said ‘ but is you who tell me yuh want chicken,’ Well I didn’t mean for you to kill one of your pets I thought we were going to the shops,’ gran replied still chuckling, ‘so where the chicken come from in the supermarket?!’ What a revelation that was. I watched grandma soak it and pluck it, wash it down with lemon and seasoned it with fresh seasoning of herbs and spices. The smell soon made me forget the trauma for a while. Her cooking smelt so delicious I was so hungry and couldn’t wait.
Dinner was ready and I was told to find granddad and tell him. I looked everywhere, finally I found him in his little church. Something felt so wrong as I saw a woman laying on top of a table on her back…naked! I couldn’t move. He was dressed in a white robe and rubbing her down. He must’ve sensed me there and came from behind the see through curtain which resembled a mosquito net, I mumbled in a low voice ‘grandma says dinner is ready,’ He said thank you, don’t be frightened, i’m just giving this lady a spiritual bath to cleanse her ( well I guess that made sense, she was naked, he’s a preacher, he smelled of fragrant oils)… ‘Come and give granddad a kiss’ his arms held out, I smiled and walked towards him, I just loved my granddad and didn’t question what he said. He leaned towards me and thinking he was going to kiss my cheek, I raised my head up and he went to my mouth and stuck his huge tongue in it and twiddled it around. I near jumped out my skin and ran out the church for dear life. I could hear him calling out ‘it was just a game, grandpa only playin chile.’ Playing!… What the heck… GRANDDAD!!!! MY BELOVED GRANDAD
My world crashed, the feeling has stayed in my mouth even up to this day. I went under the house, sat on the bench and squeezed the tears in and rocked with my hands folded around me squeezing in the sounds of my innermost sobbing. How on earth was I going to tell, who was I going to tell?? Who would believe me? My smile vanished, my happiness left me. Gods eyes didn’t see this little sparrow, He didn’t watch over me. The song in my spirit fell silent. I was alone.
I sat at dinner my appetite gone and I just played with my food. Trouble is mum was a stickler in children must eat all our food up, she hated waste. Darling grandma stuck up for me and said she gave me too much and to leave de chile alone. Granddad approached where we were eating and I quickly asked to be excused. How could I love him again, Thankfully we were to leave the next day I couldn’t face him again.
As we got ready to leave my parents kept prodding me to go give granddad a hug and a kiss goodbye, they couldn’t understand why all of a sudden my countenance changed. reluctantly I gave him the quickest hug and said bye. I explained I just felt unwell, thankfully mum put it down to not opening my bowels for just over a week. Thank God. My grandma joked that she promised to build a proper toilet just for me by the time I came back to visit, that made me smile. But the last thing I wanted was to come back. Life was not good, at 13 years old it was dark, horrid, ugly, filthy and lonely.
Moving to Banks Ave was the best. There was no park behind our garden fence, just a maze of alleyways which soon turned into our playground. The adjourning streets joined at different points that made play-times and exploring fun.
There was a vast difference between this area and Greenford, it was like we moved to another country… The Caribbean! From living on a long road where you could count the black people on half a hand, to an area that you could count the white people on one hand, Oh yes talk about culture shock! Our family lived just two minutes walk from the main road with all the shops you could possibly need.
Not just shops but banks, the launderette, buses and friends, oh my goodness so much friends and all my colour, that was so weird. There were more than sixteen families on my street alone with kids my age and we were all friends. No longer did mum have to find people for me to stay by in the summer holidays and half terms. All she had to do was knock on the neighbours door and let them know I was home so keep an eye out. I was thirteen and capable of staying at home on my own. My sister and a couple brothers had left home but came around often.
Mum had strict instructions, play outside after all my chores were finished and stay where neighbours can see me. Everyone used to knock on each others houses asking to play out on the road, we played skipping, athletics, hopscotch, blind mans bluff, roller skating, skate boarding, cycling and playing ‘Had’ running in and out of the alleyways. Life was good.
Mums instructions were strict but the number one rule that was not to be broken was NO BOYS ALLOWED IN THE HOUSE. Mum was such a stick in the mud as that rule stood even if she was home.
The younger children had nothing to worry about as we felt safe having the older boys around and a few older girls, they looked out for us. Myself and my friend use to race around the block. As we approached where the older boys congregated we always slowed down to say hello, they’ll ask how we were and felt great as they remembered our names and knew where we lived. For some reason it felt great to be remembered. Anyway everyone knew where everyone lived to be honest.
There was a forest near to where we lived and a large group of us used to walk there and have loads of fun playing hide and seek, blackberry picking for mum to make blackberry jam. There were some steep hills that we navigated down to a group of trees where we etched our names on. The grassed hills is where we had fun rolling down the hill and sliding down on a piece of board when it snowed heavily. The air was forever filled with laughter. Life was good.
One of the older boys showed me extra attention, I felt special and all gooey inside but I was just a girl of thirteen and thought he was just a flirt as I didn’t think I was pretty enough to be girlfriend material. A day came when there was a knock on my front door whilst my mother was at work, it was the summer holidays and I was looking after Cams daughter. We just came in from playing outside and my niece was tired. It was him. ‘So can I come in? I won’t be long just want to chat.’ He shone a smile that seemed to hypnotise common sense away from me and threw all caution to the wind. My niece said hello and smiled and did the biggest yawn, I said to hang on a minute I’ll just put her to lay down. I took her up stairs and as I took her upstairs He came in the house and quietly shut the door. Coming down the stairs I saw the door shut and thought he went. I walked into the living room and there he was sitting on the sofa smiling beckoning me to come sit down. Inside of me was in a panic, it was late in the day and mum would be home soon, about an hour or so and there’s a BOY in the house. Oh my gosh I felt so clammy.
He told me to relax and that everything was okay. So I went to sit next to him, his smile melted any anxiety I had, he came up close and kissed me, then his arms moved up and down my body. I froze. My mind frantic, screaming inside yet frozen on the inside. Do I like this or not, I was confused… happy for the attention of a boy yet scared of what was taking place. I literally zoned out as still as a mannequin. He continued to touch me whilst reassuring me it was ok. I couldn’t say a word I could just about breathe I had not realised the zipper of his trousers were down and he slipped my panties to one side, he flipped me around and held me down, I got frightened, very frightened but I was pinned…’ssshhhhhhh its okay, you can’t get pregnant and you’ll still be a virgin if I do it like this’…dumb me! Was he really going to do what I thought?? YES he did I felt this pulsating very warm mass going into my back passage. I unfroze in the greatest panic, I fought my way from underneath him and told him through my teeth LEAVE ME ALONE…my niece was upstairs, what on earth would I do if she woke up to see THIS??? He smirked and said I’m just playing with you, it’s just games. He tried to grab me back but I looked up and shouted MY MUMS HERE SHES PARKING…I was lying but he didn’t take the chance, he jumped up fixed his trousers and ran out the back door, over the fence and down through the alley. Fifteen minutes later mum really did come home. I felt sick and dirty, his words lingered in the air, he was playing, and it’s a game, so he didn’t really like me, I wasn’t girlfriend material I thought. Who was I fooling? Someone like me? No he used me to abuse me.
That was the start of my boiling hot baths; I ran hot baths and slowly oozed myself down in the water. I needed to be clean and only scolding water can help cleanse me in my mind. I also walked the four miles to school. The breeze would blow on me and blow away the dirt. My thoughts made no sense but made sense to me.
If the shame and filth wasn’t enough, that day my niece awoke when my mum came home. She was always such a brat with me when mum came home. She turned to look at me and smiled as she said ‘Grandma, I fell asleep when the boy came around’ what was the point trying to explain? What could I say? All I heard was shouting; all I felt was licks; all I could do was cry. The tears were more from the dirty experience I had just only half an hour ago endured. Mum beating me was null and void. Life turned ugly and dirty.
Growing into teenage years
the past is set behind me
longing for life to be kind to me
longing to not be lonely
Lots of friends on my street
now we play a kinder child friendly hide & seek
innocence is mines again
a target I seem to have become
‘Touch her, caress her, she won’t say a word
A voice like hers is seldom heard.
Lets learn how to big boys
And there, innocence lost again
I’m really beginning to hate men
out of all the girls playing hopscotch and double dutch
Its me, its me, always me they illegally touch
Sad thing is it wasn’t just strangers
maybe that’s why it hurt so much
I loved you, looked up to you, adored you
Obviously you I never knew