Literary Arts - Goodbye, Marjorie (Part 2)

Published: Sunday | August 9, 2009 Comments 0

Wandeka Gayle, Contributor

"Michael?" Granny Gene's voice intruded. Michael looked at Marjorie, her eyes wide with fear.

He sprang to his feet and went to the door and opened it slightly. "Granny, I am so tired, I will see you in the morning." He kissed her cheek.

"Ok, ok," his grandmother croaked. "I will wake you up at five o'clock. Have a good sleep, mi son."

Michael turned around but he found himself alone. The curtain fluttered at the open window. He went to it and watched Marjorie squeeze through the break in the fence. When she reached the veranda she turned and looked at him. He stared, helpless. Then she disappeared inside.

Strange encounter

Michael woke to his grandmother's gentle shaking. For a moment, he was still in a fog, and then he remembered his strange encounter with Marjorie. Had he dreamt it?

Michael looked at the clock beside him which read five thirty.

"Why yuh never wake me up earlier?" he said, shooting out of the bed.

"Is like trying to wake the dead!" his grandmother replied testily. "Brother Mitchell soon come to pick you up to carry you to the airport."

Soon he could hear the car horn of Mitchell's red Volvo. He lugged his luggage from his room, stopping to look back. Then, his eyes rested on the brown package Marjorie had given him. He smiled, picked it up and walked outside.

His grandmother crushed him against her huge bosom. Michael looked over her shoulder to see if Marjorie was on the veranda. Instead, Nathan sat with an unlit cigarette in his mouth, watching.

"Mr Williams, Majorie inside? I wanted to say goodbye," Michael shouted across at Nathan.

Nathan shook his head non-chalantly and swatted a fly. Michael's shoulder sunk.

"Mama, yuh going to be ok?" he said with a wry smile, turning to Gene.

"Yuh gwaan," she said with a smile. "Just reach in one piece."

Michael looked through the window, straining to see if Marjorie was looking through her window. There was no sign of her.

Gene stood akimbo until the Volvo was a red blur.

Soon, Michael was being ushered to his seat: 28C on Air Jamaica. Then, he slid his hand into his jacket and pulled out the package. He rubbed his hand over it, a smile flittering across his face.

She liked him.

He ripped open the brown paper and looked down at the worn book. With knitted brows he pulled out the tattered copy of 'Beka Lamb'. He wasn't sure what he had expected but he couldn't make heads or tails of it.

He was looking at it even as the flight attendant was showing the exits, even as the pilot was promising prompt arrival at Pearson International, even as the plane began to lift off.

Back in Balaclava, a woman's wailing pierced the morning air.

"Woy! Woy!"

It was Angie's familiar wailing.

"What happen? What happen?" Granny Gene was shouting as she lumbered up behind Angie, who stood gawking at a curious sight at the back of the house.

Marjorie's body

Gene covered her mouth as she watched the cotton nightgown fluttering in the wind. She forced herself to look at Marjorie's body, hanging limp from the branch of the breadfruit tree, dangling by her neck from the rope.

"Oh God," Angie screamed kneeling down in the ground. "Mi sorry. My sorry..."

Gene bent to hold Angie as the bawling worsened.

Nathan ran around to where they knelt.

When Angie's bloodshot eyes found him, she leapt to her feet and began pounding him with limp fists. "Mi never believe it. Mi never want to believe har. You dog! You did touch her. You rape my likkle girl! Now look!"

Nathan turned to look at Marjorie whose pasty face was partially covered by her long tresses. He stood stonily looking at her body.

"Cut her down!" Angie shrieked.

Soon people began to flood the yard and not long after the shrieking of the ambulance could be heard.

As he scanned through the dog-eared book, Michael noticed two sentences in the first chapter had been highlighted in yellow by a careful hand.

"No wake had been held for Toycie, not even one night's worth ... Beka felt that a wake should be held for Toycie, at least a remembrance in the privacy of Beka's own heart."

Gene covered her mouth as she watched the cotton nightgown fluttering in the wind. She forced herself to look at Marjorie's body, hanging limp from the branch of the breadfruit tree, dangling by her neck from the rope.

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