Tell me if you hear…
Kamla the cleaning lady tears.
She children get take away from she.
No. Not by death.
No. Not by law.
No. Not by ex-partner, Basil.
Hush, hush, listen…
It happen this weekend gone.
But the tears been fallin’ long before this weekend. The tears been falling long before the January flood.
Start to fall late last year, when she partner choke she, choke she with he rage, choke she with he jealousy, with he tee shirt wrap around she head, with he fingers tight around she neck, squeezing, accusing.
Kamla leave he.
And she auntie Sookie, she good kind auntie Sookie take Kamla two children into she home, a boy, eight years old, and a girl, ten years old. And she give Kamla a li’l shack to live in, not far away.
No child support coming, Basil say he never tell the children to leave he.
No child support coming, Basil ain’t go to court.
Then the flood come, and good kind auntie Sookie move Kamla into another home, a small wood house build on land that good kind auntie Sookie fighting she siblings in court for.
No child support coming, only the January flood come, and Basil get sick and Basil die. He die and he ain’t see Kamla and the children, die and he ain’t say goodbye fare thee well I love you, die and he ain’t leave a will.
And Basil other daughter Maimun...the daughter that he father with another woman long years ago...this daughter Maimun tell Kamla that she can never return to the house that Kamla and Basil live in for fourteen years.
“The children can go and take they possessions, only the children,” Maimun say. And she see to it that the children leave soon and quick.
After that, the children live with auntie Sookie most times, and stay with they mother sometimes. And everybody been happy.
‘Til one Sunday.
Kamla bring Shame into the family.
She sit in she verandah talking.
To a Man!
Shame. Scandal. Disgrace.
Auntie Sookie cuss Kamla, tell she, “Me want you out o’ this house.” And Auntie Sookie gather the children to she bosom, into she home, away from they mother.
Then Tartuffe, son of auntie Sookie walk about, hitting Kamla house post with he stick, hit, hit, hit, like Mr. Taliban Man. “You got to come out o’ here,” Tartuffe declare, “You got to leave this house.”
Saint Aunt Jean who live Abroad, the children aunt, Basil sister, come to the rescue! She come to Guyana for she holiday, and she open up and breeze out she Guyana home. And she take the two children from Auntie Sookie, and bring them to stay with she while she on holiday.
Then Saint Aunt Jean tell Kamla that she gon adopt the children. She gon take them to New York.
Auntie Sookie rejoice. Friends rejoice. Everybody except Kamla rejoice.
Kamla tears fall in the darkness o’ she home, she gon never see she children again or hear from them when they go Abroad. She not sending them!
People tell she, “Don’t be stupid, is for the children benefit, they gon get good life Abroad.” People tell she that Saint Aunt Jean gon give the children a better life Abroad.
Kamla cry and she cry and she cry. And she say okay, she want she children to go Abroad. And she run ‘round town with Saint Aunt Jean, getting adoption papers ready.
[Kamla tell me and me mother that Saint Aunt Jean son, bachelor in the USA, love the children, he li’l cousins. He especially love the li’l boy. He say, when the children go Abroad, the li’l boy can visit he. Only the li’l boy alone, not the li’l girl.
“How strange, how strange,” me and me mother think.]
Finally, the Adoption Board announce, “We are not approving this adoption. You, Kamla the mother, you can look after your children yourself, you are young and strong. You can find more than a two day job and take care of your own children.”
The Adoption Board say that Saint Aunt Jean is in she sixties, she ain’t got no husband, what gon happen to the children if she die or get sick?
And the officer who must have the last word of approval say, “I am never going to approve their adoption. Why should they go Abroad? Why when they have you, their mother, who is better for them than an ageing aunt.”
Undaunted, Saint Aunt Jean run around town, talking to a lawyer. She tell Kamla, “You need to give me money for the lawyer fees.”
”No,” Kamla say, “Me no got no money to pay lawyer fees.”
And Saint Aunt Jean say, “When the adoption come through, you have to find the money to buy the plane ticket to send them Abroad.”
And Kamla say, “No. Me no got that kind o’ money.”
Saint Aunt Jean, she holiday up. She leave in the secret cool of two a.m. She leave in a minibus, and the children who been staying with she, they go to the airport too, in the minibus.
And Saint Aunt Jean give instructions to the minibus driver, “You are to take the children to Auntie Sookie’s home, not to their mother’s home.”
Now Auntie Sookie have the children.
The li’l boy who cling to he mother since the father die, he don’t even want to talk to he mother now. He been home to collect he clothes and he tell he mother, “Me ain’t want to come back here no more, no more.”
”What they tell you ‘bout me son? What they tell you?” Kamla beg. But the boy ain’t talking, just ain’t talking.
Auntie Sookie tell Kamla, “The courts no gon let you have them children ‘cause you no have nowhere to keep them, me want you out, remember? The children gon got to stay with me.”
And Kamla tears fall…
…fall in the emptiness o’ she home.