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Election Day


A fictional series

Last week:

Four years had come and gone since the day my principal, Mr Otley called me into his office to inform me that I had come first in common entrance. I had been in the newspaper and received a scholarship to help me with my education costs….

…When I started going to Kingstown High, I felt like a vagrant at a royal ball; but rather than hampering my progress these feelings of inferiority became like tiny, single minded formula-one drivers, in the seat of my determination….{{more}}

…Every term I stood proudly in assembly and listened to my name being announced for first place. Every achievement propelled me to greater excellence…

…My cousin Karen invited me to church….

…We stood outside but we could hear the vigorous clapping and the hearty rendition of ‘Jesus is the winner man’….

“Kita yo shouldn’t be standing outside here, yo ah visitor. Lemme fine a seat fu you.” It was one of the ushers, Miss Jones, who lived just above us on the hill.

…As I was about to follow Miss Jones into the church, I heard someone calling my name. I turned around and all the sounds faded and time paused… I couldn’t believe my eyes….

The television is on but I am not paying attention to the panel of experts discussing the projections and the actual election results as they come in. It’s not that I am not interested in what they are saying; but listening is jangling my nerves. I decide to switch it off. I will know the final count before they do anyway.

As I pick up the remote I hear them talking about the intelligent vote – the astute minority who are able to understand the issues and make a wise, informed decision. I shake my head. It’s funny the way we think. We tend to put little value in simple things and we measure wisdom with the yard stick of educational achievement.

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.” Those words have stayed with me over the years. The first time I ever heard them was that night about twenty years ago when I was standing outside the Adventist church.

It’s strange, when I had turned around and seen a seventeen year old Christopher, I had felt like the earth had fallen off its axis; yet every detail had been carefully catalogued in my mind – even the scripture from Corinthians that was being read on the inside.

I had stood looking at him – not really knowing what to say and suddenly feeling like every flaw on my being was magnified.

Do I have ‘nampy’ in my eye?

Did I remember to cream my foot?

Normally I was not that self-conscious. I had concluded that love was a no-win situation for me: I was never interested in the boys who whistled after me and the ones who I really liked were always far out of my league. Plus I did not want to be distracted from my school work.

Now, suddenly, here I was looking at a tall, extremely handsome Christopher and it was just all too much for me to process.

“They have a seat in the middle there,” Miss Jones announced as she tapped my shoulder with one hand and pointed with the other.

“Thanks. Give me one moment please.” I replied as I walked toward Christopher who was standing over the church wall, by the roadside. He was smiling.

“I can’t believe how pretty you’ve become.” Those were the first words he said to me and I wanted to say I can’t believe how tall and cute you are; but of course my mind blanked out and instead I had stared at his Nike shoes.

“What, so after I come all this way to see you, you not going to give me hug,” it was so weird hearing him with a base voice and a slight Canadian accent. I remember a very awkward embrace.

“So how did you know I was here?” I had finally asked.

“I went by the house and Hezron told me. Boy he is a big now man eh?”

“Well so are you.” I replied….

I never got to crusade that night. He walked me back to the house. I had so many questions to ask: Why didn’t you keep in touch? What is Canada like? Are you still in school? Do you have a girlfriend?

Unfortunately I was too shy to ask anything at all; but he seemed to have read my mind a little, I’d thought, as he’d apologised for never calling or writing.

“Canada was rough man. A bit of a rollercoaster experience… I think my head is still spinning from the ride,” he had said as we approached my house. “I can’t remember you being so quiet,” he had added.

“I’m sorry… I’m just…. really surprised to see you.”

In response he had studied me intently.

“Kita, I had to come looking for you,” he had sighed deeply and gazed out into the darkness. “I am in big trouble and I need your help…”

More next week….