NOTE: Story dialogue is written in Jamaican Dialect or Patios, it is not bad English it is also not using the formal and official Jamaican Written dialect. This is informal. If you have any concerns contact or leave a comment. Thank you.
I looked at the different cans, each dazzled with the intricate design if not its loud colors. Red, yellow, purple, blue, green, white, brown if I was not an educated man, I would have assumed I was in the rainbow section. If rainbow was for sale, how much would it cost, though? I had to shake my head a bit at that one, rainbows, I was thinking about rainbows.
“Honey, are you ok?”
I looked at my pregnant wife, her invigorating eyes shot at me with my slight but concerned brows.
“Oh I am fine, no worry bou me…..hey weh jun…”
Before I could call his name, my little son sprinted through my leg almost making me lose balance. I swung round and called him, he kept running in haphazard circles in the aisle swooping his airplane through the air. He kept running till he reached a human obstacle and turned around as if to avoid crashing, swooping down low and soaring up like a spaceship and came running imitating a consistent barrel roll move with the plane.
This boy….”Junior come here!” I slowly shouted.
Junior started turning in the opposite direction. Was this boy ignoring me on purpose?
“Junior sweetheart, come here” sedately expressed by my wife beside me, it was almost a whisper.
Nevertheless, the boy ran to his mother with the plane in tow, she picked him up seamlessly and hoisted him to her face. I was genuinely pissed now, I looked at the other items on the counter. My face was not like other people, it always revealed how I felt, I could not prevent it. What I felt was akin to embarrassment.
“Keith, I cannot find that soap in here…think dem stop carry it” She said as much to herself as to him. She positioned herself to his left and peered straight into the corner of his face.
“Could you try the other supermarket and see if they have the Venus Soap preferably Silk Blend…I really need that soap”
I did not turn my body, only my eyes turned to stare back with begging commiseration.
Her answer was firm and debilitating “The other supermarket is just on the other side of the plaza, pass the O’kelly store and next to the pharmacy can’t miss it, oh take Junior with you, thanks babe you’re a peach”
She laid the boy on his feet and almost ran from the scene of the crime. She left without even waiting for his rebuttal, if she even knew it was coming at all was a question only god could answer.
I shrugged and resigned myself to the common certainty of my life. The power of men were easily subdued by a woman’s gentle voice I came to learn that.
I looked down to see my son now eating the plane if this were some other time I would have shouted my displeasure. I was too lazy at the moment to be a proper father as I already loss the pre-requisite papers needed to be a man.
I held junior’s hand firmly as we found our way out the building, I heard some poppy music but I ignored it. I knew my son well, for as soon as we reached three stores down he tried pulling from me. Through the corner of my eye, I realized there was a lot of people congregated near this fast food store with music blaring distantly.
Try as he might he could not remove his hand from my clutch and I was not going to let him. I was not in the mood to run behind him all day. Considering my mood, I was sure going to have control over one aspect of my day.
I walked briskly with my son Junior in tow, it seemed he had given up on the misadventure of that fair and now was fondly following with enthusiasm to go the other supermarket. The other supermarket was Maize Supermart, I knew in my heart his son’s enthusiasm came from the fact that this Supermart had a section that was filled with an immense amount of toys that got his blood flowing and his feet moving. Unfortunately for me and the employees of the Supermart it moved like thunder and destroyed just as viciously. I was not going to fork out $4000 on damaged toys this time around.
The numerous stores were lined with various clothes of various sizes, I saw a dress jacket that did not look half-bad, maybe I would buy it one of these days. Usually when we went shopping my wife had to buy something new for her closet and it had to something unique and new. If it was foreign fashion and it was never seen before she was determined to get it.
If the version she saw did not fit her she would track down one that looked good on her. I used to tease her about it saying at her at her rate she would buy every fashion of every culture. She would grumble at me not to say that she was just trying to find nice clothes. Well as far as I was concerned nice clothes are a nice expense to add to the budget.
I realized I passed the O’kelly store, the strong tag on my arm was noticed also. I wonder if that pharmacy had tranquilizers for children. Going through the wide self-opening door of this large building, I had to appreciate the magnitude of this supermarket. Maize was the biggest one he has seen up till now and had a vast collection that put the supermarket to shame.
The shelves were half as high as the roof and roof seemed to end at 50 feet. It almost reminded me of when my parents took me to the National Library in crosswords. But even those large, traditional shelves were babies to these mammoths. Lined with foreign and local goods, every shelf was filled to the brim with options. Milks, snacks, clothes, sheets, canned goods, bread, fruits, drink and ice cream, most I never sampled before. I was very particular about the stuff I eat.
My wife could lament to you stories of me rejecting certain brands and restaurants, I have no resistance to eating anything, I just wanted to make sure it tasted of good quality. Anyways, good quality you usually have to search for, just because it looked good does not mean It is of good quality.
“Oh, almost forgot…….almost forgot what I came here for, that soap, what was it’s name again?”
Digging out the back of my memory for dare life.
“Oh right Venus, that was it, I should get the Silk Blend flavor, she said she wanted that one…always switching it up everytime….swear…”
“Normally talk to yourself?”
I looked behind me to my left to see a young woman of dark complexion stepping up to me. Dressed in a black jacket zipped up half way, positioned over her dark brown blouse and clean dark blue pants with matching black heels to boot. Her curled afro hairstyle and square rim glasses exuberated this mad scientist appeal.
“No.” I said quickly
Her stare had me feeling hot under the collar. I glanced ahead of me and looked back to see she came up to my shoulder.
“Well sometimes…not often, I was just trying to remember something”
Her eyes and smile indicated she laughing at me, if but in her mind. She averted my eyes and stared straight. I almost looked away thinking that the conversation was over and we would go our separate ways.
“It is sometimes think it is good to talk to yourself, I think it is therapeutic.”
I shot back a look, she was straight almost pristine in her stance.
“Therapeutic huh….then I am probably the most relaxed man on the earth”
This got her laughing out loud this time and before I could add to my first attempt, my arm was being viciously tagged. The boy was trying hard this time, Junior looked like he was fighting Hurricane Gilbert and losing. That is when I noted the toy section to my right and Junior was determined to get his due fun on. While I was due to slap this boy upside the head if he kept pulling my arm.
“Looks like he wants to play, your brother sir?” she said with that mischievous smile.
“Oh.” she nodded her head and looked straight ahead her face was tense as if thinking hard on something.
I needed another topic to talk about, something, anything. I did not want the conversation to end and for her to walk away, anything to distract from the tagging arm.
“He is just like me, him go after anything he want”
A smile appeared “Well that is good, not many men can say their son is like them”
“Maybe but I do not think my arm is likely to survive my mini-me”
She laughed and then said “Should have had a mini version of your woman then”
I mused over that possibility and realized I passed the beauty section where I would find that soap. I will get back to that later, besides I did not want the conversation to end. Junior was pulling down on my arm this time, I looked at his face he looked weird and seemed very agitated like he really wanted to not be here. Then stepping astride me, he switched between looking down and away in quick successions and then almost jumped to look behind him.
“What’s his name?”
“That is a nice name”
This boy must be losing it I did not have the time for his mannerisms, especially this weird adaptation of it. We had stop at the pastries section where she was picking out from among the delectable cupcakes. All the pastries were in plastic packages on the top of waist level tables with thick glass walls. She was noticing my son’s discomfort and started giving him some attention, talking to him and the like.
This part of the supermarket was crowded as someone bounced on my back I turned my back to hear this woman ask my son which one of the pastries he would like, he was trying to stretch up his arm to try pick a pastry in the glass table. icked up my son and held him forward overlooking the glass top he started stretching out his hand to point at the twist, a type of pastry that consisted of two snake-like portions going around each other till they met on both ends. As I took him away he started trying to reach down and make grabbing motions with his hand. He almost slipped out of my grip, this boy…
Picking up my son and held him forward overlooking the glass top he started stretching out his hand to point at the twist, a type of pastry that consisted of two snake-like portions going around each other till they met on both ends. As I took him away he started trying to reach down and make grabbing motions with his hand. He almost slipped out of my grip, this boy…
My female companion was laughing uncontrollably.
“Ok I will buy that for you little sir” with a sublime smile.
Junior just smarted at me and started shaking himself from my hands, my moved my hands downward and let him land on the ground. She left to go and get the treat. His reception of was cold at first until he held it, he turned into a warm soft teddy after that. At least he was docile and quiet, the only sound being the plastic as he held onto it for dear life.
I stopped and picked up that Laurinet soap my wife always liked on the way. As we were about to cash our purchases, waiting in the line she was looking at something on her Smartphone, my curiosity got the better of me as I opened my lips.
“What’s your name?”
“Oh its Reina” She said with a quirky smile as she looked up from her Smartphone into my naked face.
She stepped back to the right side to let a woman pass from her left, as their eyes locked. “Did you get all you were looking for?”
“Give me the Twist, so I can cash it”
I reached down to my right side and grabbed the package carrying the Twist from my son, I heard a variety of sounds from him that sounded like he was making sounds in the back of his throat. As I gave her the package, she placed it next to a carton of milk near the front of her pile, she then separated a couple of items near the back from her pile, guess she did not want them.
“Did not know you have a particular taste in soaps”
“It….was for someone else”
“Oh” she shook her head in understanding tone.
Junior looked up at me with some form of contempt, I scrawled at him. He then proceeded to stretch out his tongue at me. This was not a competition I was going to get drawn into, I pushed him forward from my right with my leg, closer between me and Reina. He reacted sportingly by making some baby like gurgle sounds. I would laugh if I was not tired, I swear.
“You know you picked up the wrong soap though right?”
I shot back a stern look at Reina who was smiling mischievously, I searched my mind then I looked in my hand at the soap, now that I thought of it this soap’s design was not familiar to me. Damn this was not the soap I was to get. I turned to Reina and my face almost hit her hand, it was outstretched and it held an object in it. A Venus soap, Silk Blend version, I was shocked and I think my face showed it so much she snickered.
“You ok, your fa…”
“Two thousand, three hundred and fifty-seven dollars “ Reina turned to quickly draw the money from her mini-purse and pay the woman at the cash register. I slipped my hand on the bar of soap in her hand and took it. I threw the Laurinet soap into one of the vacant handcarts at the top of the roller.
After we both came through the gates of the cashier stations I gave back the Twist to Junior, only to see him unwrap it the same time and start nibbling at its sugary exterior.
Watching Junior with the corner of his eye, both hands cherishing the treat, relishing every nibble of the Twist knowing this boy enough. He would stray when he was fascinated by something, last thing I needed was to end up searching the whole supermarket for him.
Hit by a rife thick heat, the bright sun illuminated us with a welcome I would run from. People came out passed us as we stood beyond the door wreathing open at a person’s behest.
“Thanks for the company….oh dear do not even know your name…”
“Well little sir, I will be going now, nah give ya father nah trouble ok?”
Junior stood motionless as she said that, his answer was a grunt and a nibble on the Twist. She laughed at that.
“You asking for a miracle right there man” I said
“Anything is possible if you believe and work at it” The thought of asking for her number ran through my mind, then she moved forward turned her back around at that same time so she was facing me as she moved from me , I opened my mouth and stalled. She wet her lips and spoke first “Take care of your boy and yourself” with a fluttering wave of her hand to match she turned and walked to the car lot.
I was beside myself but I let it go and walked my son along the crowed roads of the plaza grounds. Thoughts on the woman, what we talked about came so vivid I was not walking properly almost ran into a pole and a random young boy. The tag on my arm brought me back to my senses. On my immediate left was the fair again still going strong.
I decided to go over and check it out much to my son’s joy. Junior tried some of the rides while I got free food samples. We did not stay long but Junior did get a balloon, stickers and a star painted on his face. Though the lady wanted to paint the all solar system on his face, I advised her not to.
When we reached at the first supermarket, I saw my wife’s stone face which hid some emotion as she stared at her son. When I came within talking distance, I only heard that’s why under her breath.
She opened her mouth but shut it just as quickly, she seemed bemused at him.
“I can see you guys musi have fun….shoulda never let them do the face, I swear.” With a bewildering smile.
“I found out him de a get a face touch-up half way through it”
You half way inna trouble with me right now, come on lets go, me wa go home”
Walking from the building among the rows of cars she swung round at me, I almost ran into her. “Oh you have de soap?”
Giving it to her she held it and smiled shaking it and placing it in her handbag as she flicked around and made rolling hips motions like a school girl.
“You actually get me exactly whe me want.” More to herself than to him, but he knew that was not because of him, but he decided to take praise for it anyway.