In Part 1, April and Jake had just divorced. April decided to spend time with family in Port Antonio. She has a secret.
Now, Part 2 of:
I Am No Mountain
“Ree-Ree, I lied to him, told him my tubes were blocked.” I cringed at each word.
“Shhhh. Mind yuh mek Mummy come in here. I didn’t want to become her with the double chin and . . . arms. Yuh know how hard it was to lose sixty pounds? Couldn’t imagine getting pregnant after that.”
“Where’s your conscience, girl?” Serita whispered loudly.
“I . . . I don’t know. Why does saying it to you make me feel guilty and stupid?”
“Because yuh guilty and stupid. Yuh tell him the truth yet?”
I shook my head and rested it on her shoulder.
I had always declared myself to be like the Blue Mountains—immovable, majestic and proud. Proud of me.
Well, I tried to be proud of me. But then Raquel and the circle of divas managed to give my wishy-washy conviction an entirely different meaning. We juiced because we were health-conscious divas. We wore hair and eyelash extensions because we were diva-fierce. We walked in a pack because we were had-each-others-backs divas. We wore designer everything because we were independent divas (if we ignored the fact that half of us didn’t work). We did what we did because we were mighty and too self-assured to be vain.
But who had I been fooling? I was no mountain. I was a mound of insecurity.
In our last, big blow-up, Jake had shouted that he would’ve still married me if he’d foreseen our marriage ending in a wreck. At the time, I thought he was high from the one swig of Red Stripe beer he’d swallowed and dismissed him altogether.
The smell of oxtail and butter beans was making my tummy growl. I could almost taste the thyme and pimento in the rich, brown gravy.
Mum was pinching dough from a bowl and rolling spinner dumplings between her palms. She was throwing them directly into the stew-peas pot. The stew peas had salt beef but no pig’s tail. I wasn’t decided yet on what I was having for lunch.
Ricardo, Mum’s new assistant, kept stealing looks. I beat the scallion stalks for the rice-and-peas pot harder with the knife handle to show him what could happen if he ever laid a finger on me.
“April? . . . April?”
“Mummy, I’m right here.”
“So why you don’t answer mi when a call yuh?”
I quietly kissed my teeth. One year of Mum was driving me up a wall.
“Yuh can pay two bills fo’ mi?”
“Where are they?”
She rinsed her hands, reached into her apron pocket and drew out two rolled up, white envelopes.
“This one,” she said, chewing on whatever cud was in her mouth for the last 10 minutes, “this one is the JPS for the house.” She stopped to straighten out and read the bill like it was the first time in her life she was seeing it.
“Mum, hurry up nuh.”
“Wait nuh man. . . This is the one for the house,” she said, shaking it in the air then handing it to me. “Pay off all of it.”
“This one now . . . ” She straightened out the other envelope and squinted and mumbled at it.
I rolled my eyes.
“Yes . . . This one now . . . is for here.” She handed it to me.
“How much should I pay?”
Mum paused and squinted into space as if squinting refuelled her brain to think faster.