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Election Day

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A fictional series

Last week:

School had begun to play second fiddle to my relationship with Christopher.

..It was my sixteenth birthday and he took me to Rooftop and afterwards we strolled down to Bottom Town… he had suddenly drawn me into a close embrace.

…He had sprung up from his seat as if he had been burnt….

“Kita I can’t do this to you. I care too much about you… I have son in Canada.”

His announcement ended with a firm full stop that crashed into my dreams and hope….{{more}}

…It had been a sad end to what was supposed to have been an exciting evening. He had taken me home …I had said goodbye to him in my heart.

…After he’d left I’d gone walking…. I had ended up outside the Adventist church where the crusade was still in full swing and the voice of the preacher was echoing past the boundaries of the church.

“I know there is somebody out there who is tired of fighting… broken!

…His words hit a pause button and I stood in front of the church entrance surveying my life… tempted to run away and equally… tempted to walk inside….

Two more seats!! Oh my goodness I might actually win this election. Then what?

A few elections ago the UNLDP had won with a marginal but clear majority. However, the opposition leaders had refused to accept defeat. They had ranted and raved and whipped their supporters into a frenzy. Almost daily they had marched and protested in Kingstown. One day in particular, their demonstration had escalated into a violent attack on the court house.

Finally UNLDP supporters got fed up and decided to retaliate. The result of course was the Great Kingstown Riot. Ten people died and the damage to our fledgling tourist industry was irreparable.

What would I do if something like that were to happen again?

Kita, can you be a good leader?

I throw the question out there into the universe. The response is an echoey silence. The truth I suppose is that only time has the answer to that question. Only the slow progression of the clock will tell whether I will be transformed into a power-hungry fiend; whose only aim is to advance my own agenda or my actions will be motivated by the deep love for my country and my people.

“You have to sell your soul to the devil to be a politician…” my brother had said when I’d first told him I would be running.

I examine myself and whether I had made any such transactions….

In the end my brother had supported me; but he believes that it is not possible to be a Christian and a Politian. Does he have a point? I am still trying to find out. After my campaigning experience I am beginning to think it is a camel and a needle eye scenario.

It’s strange… it was actually active Christianity that had sealed my decision to run. That night, on my sixteenth birthday, I’d walked into a church and put my name down to be baptised. A few days later I arose from a watery grave, ready for a new start.

I was still in pain… still bombarded with the never decaying memories of the river incident… of Christopher… of my brother… of my mother’s abandonment…. still trying to digest emotional roughage that my mind could not process or release…. But I had found a new purpose. I got back on track with my school work and balanced it with my church work.

I became Sabbath school secretary and joined the community outreach group. I would accompany them into the village to visit the sick and the poor. Although I myself was living in squalor; I gained a new perspective. I was only sixteen, but I suddenly realised, in a very profound way, that life could not just be about me and my problems. Back then I helped in whatever little way I could; but I made a decision that one day, by the grace of God, I would make a real difference.

I continued to excel at school. I tried to ignore Christopher who had now joined the ranks of the high school elite and was dating some big man’s daughter. He had tried on many occasions to repair our friendship; but I had continued to give him the cold shoulder. It was one of the hardest things I had ever had to do; but it was the only way I could keep myself from succumbing to the depression… the grief… the by-products of the heartache he had inflicted.

I was glad when high school was behind me. I had done myself proud with 9 ones. I received regional recognition for my achievement. At that point I was desperate to get out of St.Vincent. I wanted to go to university in America; but I had no money for that – so I had to go to sixth form.

I was determined to get an Island scholarship; but as always, things get in the way. In this case the ‘thing’ was just over six feet tall with curly hair and heart-melting smile….

More next week…

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