Meat & Caguayos, short story excerpt, “Mario Jorge and the Muchachitas,” memoirs by T.A. Terga.
The purity of the first nine years of my life in bucolic Julia, Oriente, in the Caribbean island that looks like an alligator reveals itself by neither judging nor questioning, just observing, and in so doing peace rests.
Creo que cuando hay miles de cosas que decir de un lugar nos vamos siempre a las mismas imágenes plantadas en nuestras memorias. “Recuerdo un dia soleado de mayo…”
Corre….corre……correeee…….Teresa corre y corre, dando vueltas la cabeza para ver quien viene cerca atrás.
I believe that although there could be hundreds of memories to choose from about a place and time, we always fall back to the same images and events implanted in our memory. “I remember a sunny and hot day in May….”
Run…ruuunnnn…..run………Teresa runs and runs turning her head from time to time to see who’s coming up behind her.
“I better cut the corner and jump over the ditch,” she thinks fast.
“There, I’m at least half a block ahead, they’ll never catch up with me now!!”
Teresa opens the iron gate stepping inside the safe confines of her home in the bucolic Julia. Still holding the gate door by the top, she latches it shut, and waits to face the mob of kids chasing her home after school unaware of the gate’s marauders.
“Ha! Ha! HA!!!! I Beat you, I won. I am queen!!!!! Look at you, the whole bunch, you are sissies, you stink like rats, you……………………………..AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Ay, ay, ay, ay, ahhhhhhhhh!”
Teresa shakes all over in horror; she stomps her feet and screams at the top of her lungs.
Two lizards who had been furiously entangled on the gate rail, already their light green heads turned black from mere exertion, wrestleling in a fight to death, the reptiles somersaulted onto her chest when she swung the gate close.
“Ha! Ha! Ha! Look at her, look at her, Look at that!!! You sorry, gusana, gusana, gusana. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!” They jeered.
Teresa feels her face ablaze.
The lizards fall off to the ground and she runs inside, curtains of tears dampening her cheeks.
But she remembered not to let the front screen door slam behind her so she pulls a hand back and catches the door in time, just in case her father was home.
Inside the parlor, it was dark and cool. She tipped toed in, checked out who was at the kitchen door.
Seeing no one there, she opens the fridge door, sees the pot of rice inside, moves the lid aside and sticks her 9-year-old fist inside, scooping out a load of cold, white rice she puts into her mouth at once.
It would be a long time before dinnertime and her stomach grumbled. She moves into the dining room and looks behind the china cabinet where the big banana hands were hung. Too bad, they were all still green.
Resigned, she lies face up on the cool tiles.
“I’ll visit Mercedes and her sister after my bath,” she thought.
Teresa calls out to her mom.
“Mami, can I still wear white shoes?”
“It’s still in season, you can wear white for one more month, at least, don’t worry about it.”
After her shower. Teresa pulls on a new dress.
“Mami, why are all my batas yellow?”
“There’s no other fabric color found, when we go to America, you will have dresses of any color you choose.”
“When does the telegram arrive?”
Sighs of the mother and the daughter run deep through the house.
Angelina catches the last phrase on her way in from the backyard dump and sucks her teeth. “Ch.”
That night, well after midnight, Teresa wakes with a start and sits up under the mosquito net. The pounding at the front door was followed by the fast shuffling feet from the entrance to the back door through the kitchen. The mid July tempest slammed shut the wooden sheet making Teresa jolt. Silence. Teresa gets it. She knows where they’ve gone and why. Then door to the back yard opens and she hears the wind swoosh, the door latch and shuffling feet followed by unintelligible whispers. Once more, the shuffle of feet from the kitchen to back door and the swooshing wind followed by silence. Teresa sleeps again.
Not for long, though, for there was another even louder pounding on the front door. Teresa hears the shuffle of footsteps across the living room coming from her her father’s room to the entrance. The front door bursts open and two armed guards in olive green enter the house. Teresa’s mother comes in and sits on the bed with her. Teresa hears voices, the guards enter her room. They look for something under the bed and in the armoire, and then leave.
The next day, father burned the leaves behind the house.