So my God-mother came to live with me when she arrived here, in America. Although I felt honored, the decision was not mine. On Thursday afternoon, I received a call from my mom. When I answered, “Hi Mellie, how are you?”Yes, this is my Mom’s nickname, which I gave her. So, after a brief pause, she answered me.
“Listen, get ready to pick up your God-mother. She’s arriving here from Haiti tomorrow afternoon, and she’ll be living with you.”
Mind you, I was living with a “husband.”
Yes, I said a “husband,” simply because we were legally married. Need I say more?
“Ok!” I answered my mom. “By the way, thank you for the extended notice.” I think if she knew how to say “My pleasure!” She would have. Instead she answered, “Good, call me once she arrives!”
My childhood memories with my God-Mother are nothing less than pleasant. So I was looking forward to seeing her. Therefore, if it meant for me to sign a divorce paper, I would have gladly done it, considering the bumpy phases during our relationship, divorce was already projected.
Unfortunately, he did not object when I gave him the news. In fact, he only made one complaint “You could have given me enough time to get drunk one more time, without having an old lady staring at me!”
Mind you, my God-Mother lived in a Town about forty-five minutes from the City. During the Duvalier Regime, they had running water, electricity, beautiful waterfall; I even recalled a nice aquarium. Unfortunately, when the “Other” regime took over Haiti, over the years, they had managed to sell everything our country owned to foreign investors. The civilized neighborhood have to rely on their diesel inverter. Therefore, for the majority of the villages, the people could not afford this commodity.
By the way, keep in mind, my childhood nickname was “Foufoune.” Somewhere in one of my post, I told you guys what my nickname meant. Believe me, no child would wish for a nickname which stands for “Virgina.” So My god-mother calls me “Foune” instead. Thank God for mercy.
I on the other hands, call her “Ninn” For God-Mother.
I arrived at the airport with great excitement. From a distant , I saw a pretty round face, dark skin old lady walking toward me, with her hands over her eyes. I recognized her by her fair long grey hair. Once she saw me, for a brief moment, she stared at me, she hesitate before she said.
“Oh, my Foune, is that you “Pitit-Mwen?” Meaning “Is that you my child?” All along, both her hands were hovering over her eyes, as if she was annoyed by a midday-sun.
“Ninn, yes it’s me! I’m so glad to see you, been over ten years.”
“Yes, my child. Been asking for you, but no news. So I called another child your name. I often tell her, “You’ll be my Foune number two, just so my heart wont’ continue to bleed!”
All along, I couldn’t help wondering why her hands was still covering her eyes, so I asked her:
“Ninn, why are you covering your eyes!”
“Can’t deal with all this light, Foune. I almost went blind when I stepped out of the big boooom.”
As she laughed, she reminded me of the little old lady from the “Looney TunesTweety Bird.” In fact my children said the same thing before they started calling her “Ninn” as well.
“Ninn, what is the big boom, are you referring to the airplane?”
“Yes Foune. The big car. I saw the sky while I was inside. “When they told me to get out, I thought I was going to walk in the cloud. Look at all this light – why don’t they send some to Haiti?” Oh my God, look at this!”
“Ninn remember we had electricity in Haiti when I was younger!”
“We had what? What is tri-City?”
“E-lec-tricity; we had light, even at your house.”
“Oh! Yes, we did. But now, we only see the light when lightning strikes. Yap! We’re going backward! No water either, all the rivers have dried up, now we have to buy some fish, and the plantains look they suffer malnutrition.”
“Wow, Ninn – that’s unbelieable! Why are you stopping Ninn? This is called an escalator; try to step on it, and it will take us downstairs. Just stand on it, don’t walk.”
“I am not stepping on this stuff!”
“Ninn, you have to. Just step on it, and stand. Don’t move.”
She answered, “Now, folks told me about those crazy stuff in this country, but Foune, I’m over a century old, Am not about to step on this crazy thing, moving like a river, but don’t see no water; can’t fool me! I’m over a hundred years old now.”
Nin, you are not over a century old, Gando was older then you. You are probably in your seventies now. And try to stare at the light for a moment, they won’t hurt your eyes.”
“Yes they will. Many people came back to Haiti, wearing some brown or black thing over their eyes. Because they said, the light from here, caused them – There you go! You see that woman over there, she’s wearing one of those stuff.”
“Oh, you mean the sun glasses Ninn!”
“Sun? Why they call them Sun?”
“It’s a long story Ninn. Let me just give you one pair to wear.”
Thank God I had a pair of sun glasses in my purse. After she wore them, she started to laugh.Yes, my Godmother was wearing a pair of Sun Glasses at eight O’clock at NIGHT, because of the light.
“Now look at this! The whole world is dark now! Those white folks sure know God, to invent something like this.”
“Ninn, by the way, those glasses were probably made by a black man, working in the factory.”
“No child, can’t be. This thing must be from the white man. Just like the big Boom and all the cars in Haiti was made by them.”
“No Ninn, in this country black people invent things too. Anyway, let’s walk on the escalator.”
But, she was too busy turning in circle, with her eyes upward, starring at every light. Myself and everyone else could not stop laughing. Just when I though I would look for an elevator, a young Haitian man CARRIED HER down. She held herself like a little baby, while all along she was saying, “Now son, don’t you drop me. Am about a century old now, haven’t fell not once!”
People stood still, to listen to my God-Mother telling me, “There is no way in this heavenly Country she was going to step on something that just slides like a river, but she could not see the water. She would have felt much better riding on a donkey instead!”
I could not stop thanking the young man who carried her down the escalator. With a smile he finally answered me:
“Trust me, I’ve been there too. This was my first trip to Haiti because I wanted to meet my Mom’s family. My grand-mother made me eat, drink and bathe me with so many herbs, by the time she was done, I thought I was a tree!!!
To be continued