Sigh. Comebackee phoned.
[I must, I must get that caller’s i.d. thingie.]
After a civil conversation Comebackee launched into a tirade against her nemesis.
[Nemesis is a woman who has achieved in the business world; she’s gotten praises for her work in academia also.]
“Why don’t you like her?” I asked. “She’s someone to admire. Respect. I’ve learnt so much from her,” I said.
“You. Like. Her. Because. You. Hang. Out. With her,” Comebackee spat.
“I speak to people I don’t like either,” I said.
“You! You! Are. A. HYPOCRITE. I. Never. Speak. To. People. I. Don’t. Like!”
Ahhh. Women, women!
Got an email from my aunt who works at a university in the USA.
“Why don’t you write about the immigrant women who come to these countries? Write about their lives, their sorrows, their joys? If you talk to Auntie S, she can tell you some horror stories of what happen to women who do housekeeping for the rich princess women. And just because they don’t have their papers they get really abused.”
So…here goes…the story of Guyanese women abroad.
Carmen used to work for a Canadian couple in Toronto. For whatever reason, I ain’t know what problem them had, them tell she to leave. Leave now, right now, get out!
Snow falling. Place cold so til even you blood freezing before it reach you heart.
Carmen stand up in front of the house. She ain’t know where to go. She ain’t know what to do.
She tears freezing on she cheeks as fast as they dropping from she eyes.
She ain’t have no family, no friend she coulda turn to…was in them days when people did just, just leaving here to live abroad, and plenty people didn’t know anybody then. Is not like now when all of Guyana over there.
Suddenly, the front door open. Is the people them li’l son, about seven years old. How that li’l boy did like Carmen.
What you think he do?
He wait until he parents gone upstairs and he go outside.
“Come Carmen, come in quietly.”
Soft, soft, he lead she to the basement. In the corner he did make up a bed.
“Carmen, sleep here until tomorrow morning,” he whisper.
Auntie S. is not really an auntie. But you know how we does call everybody auntie and uncle out of respect. Apparently, when Auntie S. went to the USA, she didn't have she papers, she had to put she money in a shoe box in she closet and hope nobody ain’t go in she apartment.
Anyway, she survive…I think she manage by sheer will power and sense of humour…and finally she get she papers.
She work and work at all kinda jobs, ‘til recently, she start baby-sitting a li’l baby. How this baby like she! She does spend the whole day with he and she does spoil he bad.
Well, last year January they had a lot of snow. Snow pile up high high at she door. As she step out to go to work…bradaps…she fall down.
She false teeth fall out o’ she mouth.
But anyway, she pickup she false teeth, she dust it off, and put it in she bag and is gone she gone to work. When she go in the house, the mother did holding the baby. Auntie S. stretch out she hands to take the baby, and she smiling up with the baby.
AND the baby start one screaming, the child screaming, screaming, hollering.
The mother bust out one big laugh.
“S. go and look in the mirror,” the mother tell she.
When she look is the false teeth missing. She did forget to put it back in she mouth and the baby ain’t recognise she.
Auntie S. send for all she family, one by one, as soon as she get she legal papers. One o’ them was she niece, Vi.
As Vi land in ‘merica, she cousin them find work for she.
Now, Vi come to ‘merica straight from Countryside, Guyana. She ain’t know one thing about big city. She cousin them tell she that she gon have to learn to get around the Big Apple by sheself, y’know, learn to find she way to work and so on by sheself. They tell she how to get to work.
They describe the way, where she must walk, where to stop. They tell she that she gon have to take the train underground. She gon have to go down some steps and wait underground for the train.
Aiyy. If you see how Vi dress up for she first day of work. High heels, nice skirt and blouse, lipstick, perfume, costume jewels and so. She traipse down the avenue, walking pretty, pretty.
She see the hole in the avenue. It got steps leading down. She go down the steps. All she know is that is a set of steps leading under the ground.
When she reach down, she wait.
The place smelling funny.
Not funny amusing.
The place dark.
Suddenly, a man appear in front of she, a white man.
“Madam!” He voice sound shocked. “What are you doing here?!?”
“I waiting for the train.”
"Madam. This is not the train station. This is a manhole, the sewerage!!!”
Up to now Vi and she cousins them laughing.
Ain’t life great when you can laugh?
Have a good day gals, and celebrate the goodness in you!