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This Way to America (standard:drama, 5499 words)
Author: EbayAdded: Mar 29 2002Views/Reads: 1890/1223Story 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 

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