It also appears to be a voice speaking to those who have had broken hearts and who admit there is no more hope.
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Heart Shaken but not Broken
By Stacy-Ann Vousden, ROSIE ANTONIO
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2013 STACY - ANN VOUSDEN
All rights reserved.
My mother didn't stay at the house at nights or on weekends. I had been staying with my baby sister every day and so I had to get home early in the evening to ensure that she was tidied and ready for bed. I was like the mother for the house. Our grand ma Little Miss lived with us so whatever I didn't understand she would tell me. I had roles to play at the house but it did not specially mean I was mature; Sharon was more mature than me, but because I was not the preferred child, I had to baby sit.
"You keep on working trick and say to people on the street that mom don't like you and we are going to start being responsible for our self," said Sharon. She was more ok than me, and she had the privilege of changing shoes every fortnight when mom got paid and of losing her lunch money which should have taken her through the week, and getting it back.
The shoe makers who did shoe repairs for the community knew my name.
Things weren't as I wanted living with my mom and sisters, so to get out I did everything to get the opportunity to live with Mom's friend in Kingston, which was quite a distance away. My own opinion of her was neutral at one point; I knew nothing about her than for the little mom explained. Bear in mind I was young and inexperienced, but they seemed to be friends according to what I had observed. They had a good social relationship and she always had an eye on me in particular, so I figured it would be good living with her. She had no children of her own, but I imagined that for whoever would go to stay around her, everything would be new; the food would be no problem, there would be adventures at every corner and shopping for clothes every weekend. According to mom she was too good to whomever she shared a moment with; always giving them the verbal impression that they were special. Mom said that most of whom she came across were ungrateful and the privilege they got was undeserved. But some people warned that she could be a danger to a young person. I was never mindful of that; everyone's luck is planted at a different place and what we normally harvested is what we have sowed. I therefore assumed we could share a good rapport and that I could live with her until I was grown—going back to mommy's house only on holidays or on weekends to give her things. Ideas danced through my nutty brain, but all that I had my mind on then was the day I would step off the bus entering into Kingston-the land of opportunity.
Thinking of the future and being there was neither a constant choice nor definite option. I was more like Alice in a wonderland. I was young too. My mind then was racy and to an extent random and as rapturous as most teenagers, but I knew mom's house was not where I truly belonged. I had no freedom there, and since the birth of my little sister, things were worse. I admit this wasn't right but sometimes we do haste our dreams and end up losing the good we have. I saw myself as no good living in this position and there was no way out for me. If there was to be a way out, I would have to find it myself. Then I started to think of how emotional I would be seeing my dreams eradicated because of my choice. I had dreams yes, but generally when we think about the negatives and make it a practice within and think of failure before the task is begun, it does not come to reality. It is as if I was awake but still sleeping. It was like being at a cross road.
There were invariable options that stood before me and they were conspicuous and persuasive enough; but on the dark side there were variable and irrepressible choices. It's ordained in the human nature to want and choose the best. At my mom's house it appeared I was living a no man's life. Taking care of a child and not being able to play with the other girls and boys was like being incarcerated with no hope of visitors. I contemplated whether this journey to Kingston would result in me being a woman or if it would instead be a 'gain what we want and loose the good that we have' situation. Then I erased the foolish thoughts. I would be walking into the land of opportunity.
I surmised that my trip to Kingston could be successful if I stopped obeying my mom Mawyie, and as mid-June danced along and the summer holiday began, I started to plan. The summer wind had me wild yet I remained conscious, knowing that all the summer holiday would be spent away. There would be no girls or boys living in the community to say hello to me. In that season, the high fragrances of the sweet mangoes would make them seem to be more edible than any other fruit.
"I will not let this opportunity go," I mumbled. I couldn't interpret my desires, nor understand why I would leave the country in a high fruit season. It was like witnessing two days in one. However, I wouldn't take care of my smaller sister Evened, who was a baby then, nor take the clothes in off the lines. Little Miss, my grandmother, was going to the market on the weekend immediately after school went on recess. I got on Mawyie's last nerves; I willingly got her irritated. She turned every color a lizard could and if it wasn't for love she would have killed me. To give me satisfaction, she sent me with Little Miss to spend the holiday with Saundra. I had everything planned. I was not going to spend all my time there; what I wanted was space to think about my life. Bear in mind I had to take care of Evened every day. I had to watch her steps and change her diapers while Sharon and Leroy played bat and ball or went on hike with Robot and Pajoe our friends. Robot called me nurse which exacerbated my interest to leave. I did not like the experience I had at mom's house. It was as if I was being prepared to be a mother. Children should not be taking care of babies.
Little Miss went to the market every Friday and sometimes during the weekdays. She was the grandmother who we could talk to about anything. We couldn't say much to our mother Mawyie. Little Miss was everything to us. I spoke to little Miss about spending the holiday at Aunt Saundra's house and she flared, expressing that she did not see it in her spirit. That didn't speak to me one bit because that's what a typical believer would say. I insisted however until no more justified barriers could be found to stop my going. I got real excited and within the morning session at school everyone knew I would be spending the summer holiday in Kingston and might never return. Some suggestions were that I must wait until my brain was more mature to fight things and bear struggles as if any would come my way. That wasn't a possibility and being on the positive side I thought that would be non-existent. Then I started to think about what I would do in my accomplished job in ten years time. Knowledge was attached to my brain like branches to a tree. I told my teachers that I might not be back the next academic term. They thought I was making a fool of myself by going to spend the holiday with someone I had never spent even a day with before. "Lisa you are too brilliant for this; just finish school and make your decision later on in the future because to me you are only hurting yourself," said Miss Williams my English teacher, with a puzzling and intolerable expression on her face. The look I gave her seemed a little daunting to her, but they didn't know why I had to leave, isolating myself from the things and people I knew, "Lisa, please don't let this school lose you. Who knows what that trip can do to your future; it could influence your life in a negative way," said a student to me. I had the opportunity to leave the countryside for better so I would not allow them to contradict my passion for a school in Kingston. To me, children hated seeing their companion doing well. They passed their assertions. It wasn't rude, they were encouraging me, but they were being too negative and there was no sense in it for me. To let such an opportunity pass was inconceivable. The rain poured endlessly for the next two days.
It was the weekend, and most children would have the opportunity to stay in bed a little late. I stayed in bed late the morning thinking. Mom came in the room arguing that I was getting too big and no one could talk to me even if it was about my own good. "Hard ears children must learn the hard way; mark my word!". She shouted using expletives. That morning I thought that life really does not go on the way one really wants it to. I was peeking into the future in a real fanciful and exuberant way. I was graduating from medical school and was pursuing my dreams and men were all over on every side proclaiming that they were the one for me. I didn't want to get married; to me it would do more harm than good. Living a successful life was enough for me. In my imagination I got a position as the head of the science department in a medical institution. People seemed to be warm towards me and the staff had nominated me for an award. They were all over me compelling me to get married because people in these positions normally get married after they have been nominated. My imagination grew until suddenly I had to get up. Mom's voice was all over the house arguing with me expressing in the wind how much I had been misbehaving. It was kind of new to the neighbors, and hearing what she had to say about me to them confirmed that I was definitely not her preferred child. I was even more determined go to Kingston and begin my happy life with Aunt Saundra.
We woke up early in the morning and caught the bus. We went through hell to get there. The vendors who normally traveled with a particular driver over the year had just realized he had a seizure. He couldn't drive us to Kingston and in fact the conductor was unable to take us to our various destinations.
"This maybe a sign that someone must cancel their appointment," said an old lady who was beside us. That didn't touch me because I was accustomed to their ancient myths which never seemed to turn out right.
Little Miss said she would postpone her visit to Kingston until the next market week. That wasn't enough for me. There is always a plan 'B'. I had my portion of savings, so I went behind her in the spread of the crowd and walked three miles away to get a taxi to get to Aunt Saundra. Little Miss was frustrated and everyone was filled with gossips and questions; everyone began to assume the worse.
"Where is Lisa!" She shouted. Then it became a song and everyone was a part of the chorus. "Where is Lisa!!!!"
Little Miss was real excited, they all heard her voice in the wind, she combed the entire place telling the people in the street what had happened and that she would be held responsible for me.
"Ahh," she sighed with her eyes walking through the morning fogs. The place was flowered up with people of mixed credentials. "I can't find my granddaughter, have you seen my Lisa?"
"Have you seen her Lisa?" they replied and it would be like drama.
Then it came to an end when I got there and Aunt Saundra called to say that I was there and that all was well. Maywie argued and was angry. I heard the tears in her voice, but I was already gone. I promised to do my best and that when I came back to the country I would be something good to talk about.
"Something regretful is going to happen to her," Maywie continued.
I took it to heart and grumbled. "I expect anything from her because I am not her chosen child."
Then a sigh of joy overflowed my body and I could peek brightly at my future. On the other hand there were obstacles to overcome and options. The options were transparent, but obstacles were opaque. I wondered about the outcome. There was also going to be hurdles and between them, successes that depended on me. They were trapped in the dark, but when I reached out, they appeared. I was on a battle field and only the best could win. The ones that were conspicuous stood high and to get they seemed only possible with miracles or in a dream. I couldn't see anything then when I closed my eyes; imagination had me lost. I saw a bridge that had only one side, then there was a cross road with five roads to be exact and I didn't know where to go. Then I was in space and the only thing I could see was something on a blank flyer quoting to me in bold red letters. Then I was confused. I didn't know what it was about. At that point I was lost standing there in the house.
Aunt Saundra hugged me saying, "You did the right thing Lisa, you came to live with me and this is where you belong." Then I smiled on the outwards but my inner man was crying. I was upset with myself considering the fact that the woman who mothered and fathered me was angry with me. I decided that I would make her proud. I was going to do well in school. Even though I wondered what all these contrary signs meant. I didn't know then.
I spent the holiday there then it was time for me to go home. She didn't want me to leave. She called asking my Mawyie if I could stay with her until she adopted a child for company. They were on the phone talking and discussing my staying on there. My head screamed, "No ... I want to go back to the life I was living. This place was not for me, this wasn't meant for me, and after all I didn't want to gain the vanities I wanted and lose the good that I had! Please mom, don't leave me here. Come for me!" I shouted, but it was soundless after all.
"I already have you and you are going to stay here," my aunt said, and rolled her eyes. Something told me hell was behind it.
September eighth was the reopening of school. She wanted me to register for school there and before the hour rang that morning for registration, we were there waiting on the principal. I didn't want to attend that school. I pretended that something was wrong with me to the point where the principal told her they did not teach students with syndromes. I wasn't showing the academic interest that would prove I had the comprehension skills to grasp the syllabus. I wouldn't give an answer and shivered when she asked a question.
When we got home I was as tormented as a dreamer; the house was filled with silence and every moment she passed me by she rolled her eyes at me. I didn't know what it was all about; I couldn't say anything and I had to 'mum' my words and be circumspect. I lay in my corner. She didn't give me any food to eat. What I had for dinner was the remains from the cat food. She had a lot of cats who she treated like human and their dishes were clean. After this, whatever my mommy sent for me she would deprive me of it. "Where did I go wrong?" That night I was filled with unanswered questions; some were rhetoric and the idiom used was ironic with irking clichés, but I had to isolate my fears and instead be observant.
"What did I do to upset her?" In the morning when I got up for school, and my stomach was empty and weak. In the day matters were even worse. She didn't give me one cent and I had to stay in the canteen asking the students to allow me to dispose of the little that they didn't want. They were never lucky enough to catch me. Then every now and then I cried when I rekindled memories being with my mom where I would have food in abundance and if she didn't have money to give us in the morning she would let us spend the day at home. I came home from school in the afternoons and greeted her, "Good day Aunt Saundra," she said nothing. "Good evening Aunt Saundra," I repeated. She didn't answer. I would just come home in the evenings, go to bed and wake up in the morning for school.
She couldn't take it any longer ...
"Come here you vagabond. When I call you, please don't let I call your name more than once!" she shouted squeezing onto my neck.
"What did I do?' I asked.
She sighed and drew me by the neck shouting that I was a disgrace. "Whoever you are, I will kill you and that's a promise! At the school you were acting as if am begging you to talk to the head master; you have no idea who you are playing with. You disgrace your parents and come here so I will pay someone to keep you in my sight!" she yelled with a changed face. "What we did today is for your good not mine!" she added.
I said nothing because I got myself caught up in this situation so the most I could do was to bear it.
Excerpted from Heart Shaken but not Broken by Stacy-Ann Vousden, ROSIE ANTONIO. Copyright © 2013 STACY - ANN VOUSDEN. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
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