Those were our things!
But how did they get there? Why were they there?
When I got closer, I realised in horror and confusion that there were men emptying our entire house and slowly putting the contents in the middle of the tiny street.
I hurried into what used to be our yard, but before I could get in the gate, one of the boys who worked at the mechanic shop opposite our house came up to meet me.
“Y’all being evicted, girl,” he said.
“Why?” I asked him, but I already knew the reason.
“The man want he house,” he answered. So he knew too.
“Yuh grandmother say to tell you that she gone to get a moving cart.”
I nodded and pushed past him, but there were men coming down the stairs, bringing out clothes, shoes, pots and pans, dishes. They walked past me, and I turned around and watched as some of Mammy’s bras fell to the ground, but the men still kept dumping item after item of our belongings in the middle of the street.
The doll I wasn’t allowed to play with, that came out next, the man was holding her upside down, showing her pants to everyone. As he came down the stairs she fell out of his hand, and into the dirt at the bottom of the stairs. So even the doll could not escape the humiliation.
“Them went to get yuh grandmother from school because the new owner brought a bailiff with he,” the apprentice said knowingly from behind me.
I didn’t answer.
I didn’t look back.
I stood in my spot at the bottom of the stairs.
Nothing was packed in boxes, everything was being brought out and stacked.
I noticed them bringing out some glasses, they put them on the mattress that was already lying in the street. At least they weren’t going to get broken. Next, came the desk I did my homework on, one drawer escaped as they brought it down the steps. Lots of books and papers fell out, some flew away into the dirt in the backyard. I went to get them but the man wearing the white shirt and black trousers, who was carrying the note book, said we weren’t “allowed to step on the premises.”
But I was on the premises, wasn’t I?
At last they said they were finished, but we weren’t allowed to go back in the house to see if everything was removed.
What are we going to do? Where’re we going to go?
Mammy came back with Edwards, dragging Franc behind her. I walked out to meet them. Mammy said she had met Edwards in the street while on her way to get the cart. Edwards leaned her big, black Raleigh bicycle against the mechanic’s fence, put her arm on my shoulder and told me not to worry.
“I inherited an old house from a relative,” she said. “It’s unsound and broken but it’s somewhere to stay. You can’t live on the street.”
It was then that I started to cry all the tears that had been piling up in my eyes. I cry a lot in secret usually, but not like this. My eyes seemed to be made of heavy grey clouds that just had to break loose.
Edwards wasn’t joking about the house. It was literally in pieces. The front steps were broken down, but were still surprisingly hanging unto the house like a very loose front tooth. Some of the window panes were gone and the toilet wasn’t useable. Thank God there was an outside latrine in the neighbours’ yard that they kindly let us use. We were all thankful, this wasn’t a dream house, but it was shelter. And, best of all in was in New Amsterdam, this meant that my journey to and from school was cut down by more than two thirds.
My Dear God
You know how Mammy says that you’re punishing her by making her take care of us? Well I know that is not fair. I know you do take care of us. When that man threw us out, you provided this place for us. I dread to think what would’ve happened if Edwards didn’t have this house, or even if she wasn’t on the road at that very time Mammy was. I know you always take care of me and Franc and keep us safe. Every day, I read the plaques Mammy keeps on wall. They say; “In all thy ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy path.” And “God is thy refuge and strength a very present help in trouble.” I feel like they talk to me and will never forget them, no matter where I go.
Don’t ever let me not believe this, because if I do that I will surely die.