3rd Place Warup Days

It’s 8am and the sky is a tumult of black, grey and blue water colours. I take a short cut, driving through ‘the Bronx’.  I don’t sweat it, I know this neighbourhood well. I pass the house where I grew up. It’s still a ramshackle but ahh those days of backyard cricket and kup-mari were the best.

I see a group of five rowdy young men walking up ahead. They wear bright sulus and white singlets.  One of them carries a wooden drum. It’s slender, hourglass shape reminds me of Aunty Lulu’s hula girls. I drive past and see their faces in the rear view mirror. They look like Uncle Henry’s boys.

Shards appear on my windshield then the heavens open up. Bloody hell! I worry about that drum and its delicate stretched snake skin. I spin the car around and pull up beside them.

My window glides down and their faces light up when they see that it’s me.

‘Sista!  You got second life.  We was just talking about you!’ says the boy with the drum. He means to say I have ‘long life’ but I don’t bother to correct him.

‘Where you boys going?’ I yell above the rain.

‘Over to Aunty Tilda’s. We having dance practice.’

I remember Aunty Tilda. She passed away last year. Wish I’d gone to see her. I knew she was sick, but didn’t know she was that sick. They will be preparing for her tombstone opening.

‘Get in,’ I flick them a look to the back seat. ‘And bring the warup in front,’ I say to the boy with the drum. All five pile in, weighing down and filling my car with instant humidity. I crank up the aircon. My car takes off like a slug and I think what this is doing for my suspension.

It’s 9am and I am super late. I pull up my Mercedes ‘C’ class in front of the gilt gold and marble hotel and rush inside. I toss my keys to the concierge – he knows me – then into the grand ballroom that has just erupted to the announcement of my name.

I straighten up and step up to the podium. It’s the annual Businesswomen’s breakfast and I am the club’s new president – the first woman of colour in the club’s thirty year history.  As I survey the sea of faces I’m reminded of what the brother said earlier: Sista you got second life! And I smile to myself.

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