Taken from Buxton Spice:
"In the crook of the house was the big fat Buxton Spice Mango Tree. So close-up to the house it could see everything: through the upstairs windows, the window on the landing, the kitchen, even into the bathroom and toilet. So big I couldn't climb it. Was one tree I didn't like. Walking down the stairs you could feel this thing knowing what you're thinking. Your head gets to level with the window and there's this thick, black and green arm, just there. It knew too much. All the bickerings in the kitchen, the whisperings in the bedrooms, even your private toilet-seat thoughts--a damn mango leaf always scratching on the outside of the frosted pane."
"Up a tree"
When I first recalled this story, I couldn't remember what I had done. But there I was hiding in the big tamarind tree in the front yard, long legs and arms wrapped anaconda-like around a thick branch, hoping the woman with the belt below wouldn't see me.
She circled the tree looking up occasionally, but I must have been too far up to spot. She didn't appear to see me. She called my name several times in that cool even voice that promised an unforgettable ass-whupping should I be stupid enough to answer. I hugged my branch tighter, and prayed.
From my spot I could see the tops of my sisters' heads on the veranda. My crime must have been unspeakable enough to draw their rare sympathies, since neither of them seemed to want to aid granny in finding me. She circled the yard and then came right back to stand close to the tree, hands on hips, belt dangling. She suspected I was somewhere nearby. My arms and legs started to betray me with numbness and I stretched slowly, soundlessly to ease them. One outstretched leg hit something and it fell softly to the ground. I turned my head around to see what it was, and nearly died. I had dislodged a marabuntas' nest.
Before I could say "ah coming granny, ah sorry," the angry insects had my head and face surrounded. And when I opened my mouth to let out a scream louder than two truckloads of pigs on their way to the abattoir, one or two of them flew in and latched on. At first I thought a good windmill action with my arms would chase them away, but noooo! They wanted blood! I had to escape. With one long slide down the tree that took skin with it, I landed on the ground close to my grandmother and the dangling belt, still battling marabuntas.
I don't know how long the attack lasted, but finally it was over and I lay there shaking, bloody, and swollen, wondering if I was going to live.
My grandmother, who had watched the entire thing without raising a finger to help, walked over to me, looked me in the one barely seeing eye and said, "It good fuh you. Now go and untie your sisters from that chair on the veranda before I cut the rest of yuh ass."
© 2008 c.d.valere signifyinguyana.typepad.com