My older brother is a rare character. By the time he was eight, he was already immune to the belt, pinch, slaps, and shoes, pots swinging or swirling toward him.
My mom had secret agents from different background, tracking his whereabouts, on a daily basis. Therefore, whenever I saw the merchant of rice, beans, or even the milk lady who often said, “Now that boy of yours was with some dirty feet little boys, and they tried to drink all my milk.”
I was reassured, he couldn’t have been too far away. Perhaps, ten miles cap. So the ten P.M. whooping will be mild.
But, if the report came from the mango, banana, cow or goat merchants:
“Mmm! Saw your boy running the river, with some dirty feet boys, good for nothing!”
I knew he was in DEEP trouble. He must have traveled to the country side where my grandmother lived. I’m talking about over twenty miles away.
By the time he finally came home, after midnight, he would find my mom sitting on the patio with the belt.
Although I was about five, I was not able to sleep until he came home. Because, I always felt a sense of duty to plead on his behalf.
Whenever he was finally getting a whooping, I was always in tears, screaming my heart out: “Please, please, don’t hurt my brother!”
But wait until it’s my turn. Do you know what he was screaming, while he jumped for joy? “Don’t hit her where she can’t die Mamma. “Hit her right there, behind her head. In the back of her head, MA! ”
I recalled the night he showed up with a large bag of pennies. When my mother asked him.
“Where did you get this bag from?” He replied.
“From the cemetery!”
His tiny ear almost got chopped off by my mom’s nails. She was pulling it so hard while she said, “YOU GO BRING IT WHERE YOU FOUND IT!”
He answered back, “But, it’s too late Mamma, the zombies might be up by now!” (LOL I made that one up, he didn’t really say that)
Anyway, later on I heard my mother telling a neighbor the story. The woman in shock exclaimed, “Oh my God! An evildoer probably did a ritual against someone with hose pennies, and the boy went to touch them? For sure now, bad omen will follow him!”
I was playing with my doll on the patio. I couldn’t stop laughing. I felt like saying, “Yeah right! Like the devil would hurt his own son! BUT, since I had just got a whooping for smart mouth, I kept my mouth shut.
Now looking back, I think my brother was just being a boy. Well! An unusual one. I think even the priest felt the need to intercede on his behalf 24/7.
At one point, my brother thought it was funny to run off with the bag of communion bread, simply for a good laugh. I think God must have graced him, since he was an altar boy.
My intercession on his behalf started as early as I could utter my first word of prayer. The fact is, for the most part, he was a good brother. I don’t recalled him hitting me even once. He bugged the nerve out of me. Killed my dolls, ripped their clothes. And while I was eating, he also enjoyed running off with my meat, or the whole plate of food, although he didn’t even like to eat. I recalled times when he protected me as well. But the day he grabbed my little brother’s bottle from the crib, and drunk all his milk, not even my prayers were able to help him out.
Yes, this is the truth. In fact, to replace the milk, he attempted to feed my brother a bottle filled with water instead. But, my brother kept on crying. Then, while he tried to grab the large can of powdered milk from the cabinet, the whole can fell off his head. Imagine my mother’s face when she walks in, to find my older brother, leaking the milk from the floor, with the empty bottle lays on the floor next to him, while my baby bother is screaming his heart out of hunger.
As my brother got older, he developed a great sense of humor. I recalled the period when he thought he was, “The ladies’ man.” He had a birthday celebration every week. Beautiful girls while they brought him his birthday gifts, kissed him on his lips, would say, “Happy Birthday honey!”
Surprise, I would answer: “Who’s birthday?”
Then, he would give me, “The look,” like saying “You better shut your mouth!”
Before he answers, “Oh baby! What have I done to deserve you?”
I often felt like answering: “What has she done to deserve you?”
Yap! This is my first older brother number one. Has he changed much?
Well, I love him too much to tell you the truth! Besides, he’s a working progress. In church every Sunday.
One day when I asked him “Why he was such a faithful church attendant?”
He answered, “I can’t afford not to Sis. I must seek forgiveness now, for my pending sins. ”
There you have it! This is older brother number one.
On the other hands, my second older brother who now lives in Colorado, was the complete opposite from my elder one. He seriously had no sense of humor, although he was the kindest among my brothers. The only two things which mattered to him were me, and his food. My older brother was scared of him too, because he knew, he had no problem slapping him. Everyone knew not to bother him.
In fact, he was always so serious, I think his lips were glued with the Letter “U.”
I love my third brother who now lives in North Carolina. Although for a while we all wondered about his true nationality.
Working for the airline company, he traveled extensively. Therefore, whenever he stopped here in Florida, I often overheard his conversation with the ladies.
One morning, he might be from Jamaica. Don’t be surprise if by the same evening, he was from Trinidad instead, and spent his whole life in England. Lastly, although I lived in Florida, before he leaves, I might have relocated to France. During another visit, I may just find myself living in Africa!
So imagine whenever he says “Baby, I want you to say hi to my older sister!”
“Hello!” Wow! You live in Africa?”
“Yap! Wherever my brother wish me to be dear; since I never have to pay my relocation expense!” Is always my answer.
There you have it! The stories of three of my brothers.
Father Pierre closed the book to say: “With that being said, I have an assignment for you both to complete together.”
“TOGETHER?” We yelled. “BUT THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE!!!”
“Sister Marie! He said in a firm tone. “Open the book on 1 Corinthians, verse 13, and start reading!”
“Yes Father, she humbly answered.”
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.”
After she read the first sentence, she slowly closed the book, hung her head down. I could see her body posture sinking downward, while she remained silent. Meanwhile I was swinging my legs, while I whispered Father Pierre’s sentence, since I thought it was a nice one to engrave into my memory: “With that being said! With that being said!” But Father Pierre glanced at me for a second, and I knew exactly what that look meant, so I stopped. Instead, I grabbed the little statue of Saint Claire which was on his desk, and kissed it. Then I whispered, “I love you Saint Claire, but I also love Mother Marie too. Immediately, I turned to glance at the picture of Saint Michael’s painting on the wall, to my right. I tried to imitate his facial expression, while I whispered: “Annnn-d, I love Saint Michael, and Saint Rose, and Saint Altagrace, and; but Father Pierre gave me a stern look, this time I shut up completely. Just then, I could not help but question in my mind: “I wonder what it would be like to get a butt whooping from a Priest?” I had never heard anyone one of them whopping a child before, it was always the nun who were mean.” But as I was thinking, I heard a noise. When I turned to look at Sister Marie, I noticed she was crying.
“What’s wrong Sister Mor, I mean Sister Marie?”
Instead of answering me, tears gushed down her cheeks, like a river rejoicing from the rainfall. So I got up to grab a tissue from the box which was on Father’s desk, to wipe her face.
“Please don’t cry Sister Marie. I promise, I will never call you “Sister Morte again.” (Which means Site Dead)
But she did not respond, instead she kept on crying.
“I will wear the white sock you want me to, I promise!”
But, she kept on crying.
“I promise Sister Marie, I promise. But you have to know, the only reason I don’t wear the uniform sock is because my stepmom didn’t buy me a white sock. She only brought me “one pair of navy sock, one blue skirt, and one white shirt to wear for the school year. I told her you didn’t want me to wear the blue sock, but noooo – she refused to listen to me! But, If you stop crying, I won’t’ wear any sock at all. Because, I sure don’t want to see you crying again!” I kept on wiping her eyes, but somehow what I thought were comfort words were causing her to scream instead. By then, Sister Marie was not just crying, but she was howling. I think the whole school could have heard her. She even got up to grab more tissue in order to wipe her face. So I slowly got up from my chair, and walked toward Father Pierre, and whispered in his ears:
“Father, I think you need to sprinkle some holy water on Sister Marie, so Count Dracula may leave her alone!”
Father answered “With that being said” let’s try to sit down quietly for a few second, so the Lord may continue His course in this session.”
“The Lord? Where is He Father?”
“You can’t see Him Yet, but I’m sure Sister Marie can sense His presence as well.”
“Wow!” As I kept on turning around, to see if I could spot where the Lord was standing. But I did not see him. So I concluded, it was because I was too young, and went back to sit down. When I turned to look at Sister Marie, I noticed she had stopped crying. In fact, her whole demeanor had changed. Although I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what had just transpired, I had enough sense to resume: “Whatever it was is beyond my league of understanding.” But, Father bent over, and whispered: “It’s not tangible my child.” I guess he was able to see through my inquisitive mind, also understood the fact that, I was too young to pinpoint the presence of conviction, and the zest of remorse.
So after he recited a prayer, he said: “I want you ladies to prepare a theatrical play on the theme of “Love, with this scripture. The other children may participate, however I want the two of you to play the role for the major characters. Meaning, each one of you will share your input about this scripture before the whole school. Then he turned toward me, “Angel, I will notify your parents. For you will need to meet with Sister Marie at least twice a week after school, for the rehearsal.”
Sister Marie remained quiet, while I thought it was the opportunity of a lifetime. But when I realized the play was about love:
“Father! You want us to write a play about love?”
“Indeed my child!”
“But, how could we do so, when I’m but a child, who’s never been in love; and sister Marie is going to die, just like an old rag, who’ll never get married either?”
Father took a deep breath, shook his head, and then smiled.
“I know you are a little girl, and Sister Marie has never, and will never be married. But, I guarantee you, “If you search deep within your heart, you will discover the type of love I’m referring to. And, I know you have more than enough of that precious love, to share with the whole school.”
I smiled, even blushed for a couple seconds. After I thought for a few minutes, I replied:
“Oh – I seeeeeeeeee! “But, Father, what color is that love? Is it also red?”
To be continued.
We were left both astonished and inspired by Smartgirl -Americannow story. We had laughed so much, our laughter reservoir had dried out. When we were called for dinner, let’s say my auntie had prepared enough food to feed the whole population in Haïti. Between four to six plantains, plus some veggie, and a bucket of rice for each one of us. Those of us from the city were not accustomed to eat as much. Our dinner usually consisted of a small salad, a plantain, and some rice. But when she realized we did not finished the whole tray of goat, she had convinced herself that we all needed a laxative; which by the way she gave me that same night prior bed; I had diarrhea till I filled up the four corners of the world with…
The following morning during breakfast, she mentioned how I used to dream when I was a little girl. “If we even sneezed inside our bedroom, Foufoune you used to dream it,” she said. Then she asked my father, “Does she still dreams?”
Papy answered “not as often, but quite often she will be pre-warned me of upcoming danger; like a car accident we just had.”
Then auntie yelled “Titletales, go fetch some herbs, make some tea – Foufoune’s dreaming angel is not well – “Don’t know what happened to her gift? But, will fix that for you too my girl!”
“Do you still see angels Foufoune? She asked me.”
“No auntie, I see demons now.”
“Titletales, get some herbs, she’s seeing demons now – don’t know what happened to the angels!” Then she called me toward her and said: “Now you’re still pure aren’t you?”
“Yes auntie, still pure. “
“Got to keep that closed up, till you get married, here me? Know, you city girls think differently, but OMG! Do you remember Secret’s story? “Hope you learned from her!”
Then she turned her attention toward my father. “Gineer, my girl was but five years old when she kept on telling me, “Auntie, I see Secret holding a baby boy, right here under this mango tree.”
“Not possible my girl!” I answered her. Because I knew Secret ain’t know no man yet, fact we were looking for a husband for her, but she had bad luck. Just gave her some tea a few months ago. But, my girl would not stop. She kept on telling me bout the same dream over and over, saying: “Auntie Mangotree, I saw Secret with a big baby boy. And, you were calling her another name too!”
“So I thought to myself, Secret has been getting heavy lately! Although I thought it was the effect of the cleansing tea I was giving her to clear out her bad luck. But, low and behold! That same afternoon, Secret legs were wide open. “Heaven was shitting! Yes, heaven sure was shitting, when she popped forth a fat baby boy! Imagine how shocked I was? So I almost fainted. then I said: “You ain’t pure no more child! Now, we changing your name to “Secret – It’s-all-over!” Afterward, had to drink some tea to heal me from that shock. But thank God, the baby papa married her, so she wasn’t lost after all. So her name was changed back to Secret again.”
Papy said: ‘But why did you guys called her Secret anyway?”
“Because her Mamma was just eighteen when she had her in secret too – and she never got married after that either!”
“Foufoune come to auntie so I can examine you. “Turn around and let me see your ass!”
After I turned, while she was touching my butt, she said:
“Now my girl, you can’t go around with your Papa’s ass; flat as an iron! You’re a girl, and you need a little chunk of ass – “No man is going to marry you if you have ass like your Papa’s – You knew that since you were five years old. You use to turn your new sax into ruffles and sew them in the back of your panties, and dresses. “Gineer, we couldn’t hide the needles from her, they were her best friends. “Remember for my Mamma’s funeral, we were dressing her up, when she finally open her mouth to speak again. She had stopped speaking since the day Mamma died. “Auntie MangoTree”, she said. “When I walk I want my butt to say: “Vip-Pip-Vip-Pip – Doum-Boum-Doum.” She sure did Gineer! Then Foufoune walked all the way to the cemetery, with the lace ruffles half sewn in the back of her panty, hanging behind her chubby little legs. And she was shaking her butt, while talking to Mamma: “Look at me Great auntie – Look at me! I’m shaking my butt just for you! All along she was repeating:“Vip-Pip-Vip-Pip – Doum-Boum-Doum! Vip-Pip-Vip-Pip – Doum-Boum-Doum!” And, shortly after, everybody started laughing – So much so, we forgot it was a funeral. Foufoune had even the priest laughing. Then I said, “She was the last one who saw Mamma alive, and she hadn’t spoken since. But Mamma made sure she brought our girl back to us. “Yes, Mamma wouldn’t have it any other way, for humor was Mamma’s gift!”