“Look, look!” I exclaim. “She still fresh, a li’l bit grey here and there, but clean in most parts.”
Just before World Cup cricket this year, the mountain-mama statue of Queen Victoria on we courthouse lawn get a thorough scrubbing. Young fellas with long handle brushes work on she, up and down and in between the folds of she robe.
“Heh, I wonder if she did like it…wiggle, giggle…oooh, boyyyys, nauughtyyy.”
As per normal, my mother ain’t boonks on me…that is, she remain impervious to my [delightful] chatter. We walk on along the corridor of the courthouse, looking for the room where we must be.
What a change, what a glorious change. Up to a couple o’ years ago Poverty been weaving cobwebs in greasy corners, flinging thin dust on them walls, peeling paint and nibbling at wood beams. Now, the whole place look like somebody take a broom and swish hard, make Poverty haul up she bony tail and drab dress and go lurk somewhere else.
Now, them corridors got long rubber carpet, ole people can’t slide if rain manage to lash in. Several feet below, the lawn lush and manicured, dew-moist grass glistening in morning light; smooth-paved driveway got places designated with white paint-lines for vehicles to park. The whole court, ye colonial-British architecture in wood, got paint and polish. The grace and style of she lovely olde self shine through again.
“My word,” my mother exclaim to a clerk passing. “You all did such a wonderful makeover to this place I don’t even recognise it.” [And you think I does exaggerate!] Clerk smile.
I peep through the glass of a door, into a courtroom. “Look, look, that fella them girls been talking about some months ago, the one they say is handsome but is a dawg, he don’t know how to talk to people.” I drag my mother unceremoniously to peep too.
Embarrassment all over she face. “Man, I don’t want to see.”
I gape like curious visitor to a museum at ye handsome dawg. Flap, flap, flap, he mouth flapping-flapping to three lawyers. Though he ain’t wear he robe I can sense that he is a vampire, but he ain’t got to be afraid of sunlight, he head is in a dark place. Flap-flap-flap, then he raise he hand and point he finger like them preacher-men on tee vee, poke the air, jab, jook. “Oh, he is a pointificator,” I say.
We move on, searching for we court room. We had a case going for eons, somebody owe somebody who owe – that kinda tale. Me bahind didn’t get corned waiting today though. We lawyer – a patient, kind fella who always show plenty respect to me and ma - turn up very soon. He explain that the case get put off, the somebody who owe somebody ain’t turn up. Court give we another date. Ah yes, to some things return, turn, turn…turn the calendar over for another year, another month, another week, another date, churn churn churn the same ole trubbles, year after year.
We go down to the foyer. I swear that crusty olde cigarette butt on the floor been there last year. Smoking in the courthouse ain’t verboten in we wooden building, and funny…not funny haha…funny strange…eye never spy fire extinguishers or red buckets o’ sand. One time, a lawyer been smoking in front of me, in a courtroom. I cough. Asthma, I explain. The smoker shift two inches off, as if that token gesture was a big deal.
Me and ma sit in we car. “Look!” I exclaim. “The Big Lawyer for the somebody who fighting the somebody who owe we.”
I does always remember what a security guard of a bond tell me about he. Last year I meet this guard after she ask me not to park in front of the bond gate. I move the car to the next spot and gone me way. Later, when I come back, the guard tell me thanks. She say trucks with goods does use that gate, and she bosses does give she hell if anybody block the entrance. She say one time she ask this Big Lawyer not to park in that spot. He shout at she saying this is public property.
“I know that, Sir,” she say, “but I’m asking you kindly to park in the next spot right near there.” And she say, “What you would do if somebody block your entrance and exit?”
He tell she they dare not do that, he would know how to deal with them.
This lawyer is one o’ them prominent ones. He instill fear in people by just being. There. He big like a ox, got a face like a furious owl. But now, slow, slow, he becoming a doddering olde farte. He don’t walk as thundering as he used to. As I sit in we car watching he fumble over the six-inch high concrete hump at the doorway, into the foyer, I had a vision of he lying in bed, helpless, in nappies; a stranger, a not-wealthy woman, cleaning he poo…and he mind still sharp...so he fully aware.
Oh, the wonderful things you can see when you look, look, look. Sometimes I see with the eyes of a true, gloomy Cassandra but sometimes I see like Pollyanna sipping ice-cold swank...ice-cold sour lime and sugar and water drink...in the shade on a hot-hot day.