Ivy came out of her house and exclaimed, “dis day so hot and steamy!” Then, she sighed and faking a faint, she set her sights on the open road. She thought to herself, no child in the neighborhood would dare run on this burning road without slippers today. It was late in the afternoon on the island of St. Croix and unless you were sitting near the beach or waterfronts on either side of this tropical island, you would not feel a breeze bless your cheek nor forehead right now. Even the candy lady, Ms. Bernadette, down the road ran out of lemonade as well as soursop ice-pop! With even the slightest of movement, beads of sweat would rise upon the thinnest skin in places to give pause…
Here comes Big Marjorie, walking down the road with her large brown purse, silver hoop earrings and can be seen from a distance with her colorful display. Her updo and waterfall curls with her bangs were swooped to the side. As she marched downhill, all of her extended belly and curves bouncing as she hasten her steps. Ivy met Ms. Mary on the porch of her house. With a scowl on her face, Ivy said, “Whey she tink she goin’?” As Marjorie came closer with footfalls as heavy as a mighty juggernaut, you can see her pink and yellow “Sunday’s Best” dress shuffling in the breeze…
Ivy couldn’t help herself, she said to Ms. Mary, “Buh wait, whey da breeze come from?” Swiftly, Marjorie passed the neighbor’s houses on both sides of the road.
Again, Ivy blurted out to Ms. Mary, “Meson, she lucky no minibus was passin’ ‘cause she tek up the hole road like ah float in ah parade! She woulda geh bounce down foh sure. Marjorie ain geh no sign on she sayin’ ‘butt meh down please’!?!” Ivy laughed loud and hard. Ms. Mary only look at Ivy over her bifocal glasses, nodding her head.
Marjorie continued on her way to her destination, a big bright smile on her face, her lips were cherry red. In truth, Ivy nor Ms. Mary could guess what was the final destination of Marjorie this summery evening. They sat on the porch most days to “pung melee” or gossip about their neighbors around them. They would mostly make up tales from heresy or create their own curry to the mix. This evening it was to make up a story behind the mood of Big Marjorie.
“Well, she look well swell in she dress, mama. Maybe someting goin’ on down de road we don’ kno’ ‘bout?” Ms. Mary began. “Maybe we ain heh ‘bout it?” She offered to Ivy. Instantly, Ivy frowned. She was still wearing her sleep bonnet on her head, she frowned hard with her cigarette butt hanging in the right corner of her mouth. Then her lips pursed hard now as she took another puff from the ciggie. Ivy’s chestnut eyes turned dark and narrowed, then she cusssed. “Deh bettah not be havin’ no party I wasn’t invited toh, cause I neeeeeeeeeeeed toh be dey. How she more importan’ dan meh!”
Like a cyclone, Ivy whisked her way into her room for 10 minutes. There was all sorts of sounds that come from it, such sounds a small storm would make. When she emerged, she was wearing her long red thin strapped sundress, hugging her slim figure. The bonnet hid her thick and long brown, sun-touched locks. Those locks now drizzled down her shoulders and back. On her narrow feet, her gold sandals shone as though they were from mount Olympus and her smile, though her teeth slightly yellowed from her constantly smoking, were straight…her lips painted with bronze.
“Aye-Aye,” Ms. Mary croaked. “Yoh ain geh meh ah chance toh come out.” So she ran in her own house as quick as a mongoose and sprint back 3 minutes flat with a short pixie-cut wig and an eggshell colored daring pants suit. “I ready!” She bellowed out. So now, both ladies hurried down the road wondering who was having fete without them. They both were vex but excited to see who is going to want to dance with them. In their own minds, they fantasized about who else will be there. If they will have cruzan rum or Hennessy to drink with they coke? They even wondered who they will cuss and fuss at for not inviting them. Ivy let out under her breath, “is ah dam shame!” Then, her mimic, Ms. Mary squeeze out through her missing teeth, “Issa dam shame, foh true!”
They both hot on the pursuit of Big Marjorie and this party…but lost Big Marjorie’s trail. Then, they both found themselves standing in the middle of a cluster of several homes. Ivy looked at Mary, Mary looked right back at Ivy…there was no way for them to figure out which house Marjorie duck in and out of sight! This made Ivy’s face turn red with embarrassment. “She gave us deh slip!” They then walked by all the houses in the area listening for music, not a jam in earshot!
Both ladies were vex, roaming along the road, sneaking from house to house…eventually, they quietly moved through the now dark street and came upon a small white house. It was so tiny, but there was faint soca rhythm sounds filtering through the air. They followed and got up really close to the house to listen. The soca music grew louder the closer they came to the front porch. Ivy started excitedly swinging her hips already in anticipation, Ms. Mary started to get on bad, throwing her hips and wide bottom in a swaying motion. “Dis is it!” They both thought. They were working up their waists, following the music and advancing up the white steps onto the porch. The door was unlocked, so they both swing on through, their eyes tightly closed and faces in passionate expressions while they worked up and danced. They came in the house bawling, “PARTY!” and then opened their eyes to now find Big Marjorie naked in the living room on top of a very old and skinny gentleman. “Oh shit!” Ivy and Ms. Mary bawl out in unison.
Thank you for reading this short story. It was inspired from my upbringing in the Virgin Islands and my Caribbean background. I wanted to share a bit of our dialect with the world. Please leave comments and constructive criticism or critiques.
This original blog post and short story was written and copyrighted by Juana M. Gumbs. All rights are reserved by her. April 2020(C)