|This Way to America (standard:drama, 5499 words)|
|Author: Ebay||Added: Mar 29 2002||Views/Reads: 1854/1196||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A stressful day in the life of a family as one of their son tries to get a visa to come to America.|
From the outside, in-front of the dust covered metal green entrance door with the falling #98 in big black prints and the vines covered wall that had a little lizard running for cover while an older one bask in the sun, one can never imagine the quiet storm that fell on the Kallon compound (or the Compound as it is known by everyone in the neighborhood). A place that gets so loud at all times during the day and well into the night. It had become the lounge for adults and the teenagers alike. The later came because it was more comfortable than their place, where there is always something cooking or cool to drink-- one of the few houses with a refrigerator that actually worked--and above all else five beautiful young ladies called it home. As for the adults, they simply came because Pa Kallon was the oldest in the neighborhood and therefore was the unappointed leader at whose place all meetings took place. The alter: Marriages are arranged in the Compound, and when it is time, where the white sheet of cloth is wrapped around that sweet innocent virgin as she sits to the sound of drums, dancing feet and warnings/threats about not disgracing the family (by not being a virgin when truth comes to be told) before she is then taken to her next, and very likely permanent, home. Maternity ward: pregnant females in labor crawl to the Compound where the eldest Mother Kallon plays a mid wife and with her medicinal hand help them bring forth that crying new born. But sometimes (more often than many would like it be) that baby makes no sound when he is pushed out the womb. Funeral parlor: Death is in the air when that first sob is heard either from the room where a young cry was expected, or from the outside coming in, but when the cries are comforted with more cries, then death is welcomed, showered before he is wrapped in all white, tied in three places (the neck, the arms, and the feet) and lifted up and carried to the final destination. But in between these major stops, the details of life are also celebrated: it is where fast is cut every evening for a whole month out of every year; a place where young couples come to have disputes settled, and young wives to have their bowls filled with ingredients they need to cook for that young husband who is having problems feeding himself and his young wife; definitely where that young husband comes for some advice and a guide to a mean of providing for his family. Every morning house-heads make a stop at The Compound to say their good mornings before heading out to the heart of their once little village that is constantly becoming one of those villages they see in moving picture boxes. And they call them cities. They come with a lot of smiles (no matter what) and they are welcomed with smiles that are as bright as the heart from which they stem. Every morning they come to pay their respect, and if time permits, break a piece from the French bread that is always lying on the table, pour a cup of tea and chat a little with Pa Kallon or any of the Mother Kallon's. At night, the crowd still came. Families--parents and children alike--come to take their place in front of the television screen that extends the size of the wall. "It's a film," they would say, "It's like going to the big cenima." "I wish my father had one of these in our house." "Father said he is going to get one when I get bigger." Then The Compound plays pavilion to the singing voices that swirls around the walls and are taken away above the limits of the two-story main house and are given to the pigeons that play on the tin roof and they turn it to sweet songs and fly with it over the lagoon into the waves of the Atlantic oceans. It dwells music; Music of distress, joy, disappointments, celebration of all life's happening. Because life is loud, the Compound is therefore always loud. But that mid May afternoon before the raining reason when the sun seems to be lower than ever, the compound was uncharacteristically calm. Pa Kallon did not go to the store on this day. He sat under the shade of the little thatched house in the east corner of the compound. With the nearby radio tuned to BBC he talked softly with Kareba. Occasionally, they'll laugh, but for the most part, it seemed like they were having a serious conversation about something that was bothering the both of them. Away to the west end of The Compound, in front of a small two-room cottage, Ciray sat back to the leaking smoke that reeked out of one of the rooms. She had an onion in hand and few others in the basket that sat in front of her. Ciray hates everything about the onion, the taste: the hot spicy taste that hardly lets go of your mouth once it comes in contact with it. The look: The shinning smooth face that reminds her of a menacing kid masquerade in an innocent childlike face. The feel: slippery, the way some of the skin hangs on stubbornly to the bulb. But especially the fumes: the cruel invisible things that refuse to be anywhere but in her eyes, and relentlessly make tears roll Click here to read the rest of this story (395 more lines)
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