November 1990: Orange, black, orange, black looking out of the not so clean window of the cab, finger prints and smudges and a little white grey splat at the corner of the window (What is that splat?) I fear what my mother has told Aunt Cece on the phone. Trees, orange, black trees, orange, alone in the back of the cab the driver smokes his cigarette with his window half way down. That sweet smell of cigarette smoke I really love the smell and how its untouchable form lingers in to my nostrils. The splat is bird poo. Sitting here in the fog I just remind myself of my first attempt to smoke on my mum’s cigarette. She used to leave them in the living room whilst she would go to the toilet. She left one lit once and as I was sitting in front of it, sitting in it’s glass ashtray with its hair of smoke fastidiously dancing higher and higher towards the crystal chandler, my hand tingles and I begin to stretch it out. Taking it hastily into my hands and trying to maneuver it the way she did, holding it in between my thumb and index finger of my left hand, “Up yours” fingers up, stick the butt part in between, close the legs and bring to lips. Holding it to my lips I assumed the smoke would find its way into my mouth and as I blew out, I realized I had to suck on it, I coughed and she called out “Rogue, what are you doing, you’re really quiet?” jumping up and waving my hands in the air franticly I ran out and up to my bedroom, she came out the toilet and looked at me run up the stairs, I looked back to see her at the door, the same door that looked like Greyson’s. So glad we moved from that house, no more doors to hide.
Right the cab has stopped and I see Aunt Cece and the window, she has noticed the car is out side, “Fiver, please mister.” The cab driver demands his payment, this time I didn’t pretend my mum hadn’t given it to me, I just handed it over as he honked his horn. She looks down at us, face seems solid, left eyebrow cocked right up, she begins to smile and laugh. Walking towards her doorstep seems like the longest mission, hallway light turns on and shiver runs down my spine.
“Hey Roe, come on. Giving your mum trouble again are ya?” standing in a black dress with sparkles on her shoulder she doesn’t seem as pissed off with me as she has normally done in the past, she seems merry. Getting up to her house its obvious why, have empty glasses and those white paper rolled cigarettes she smokes, litter the ashtray. She seems happy so I might as well be happy, for now. “Gonna take you to Aunt Geegee’s tomarra, you can spend the day with Abel and them lot, yeah?”
“Yeah, ok.” I whisper cautiously, just because she’s happy doesn’t mean she won’t switch on me if I’m too loud.
“Christella is upstairs, go watch a video or something.” Holding onto the doorframe of her living room she begins to dance with her back on the frame. It’s not only her in the room two other ladies and a guy, a very handsome guy. They all say ‘Hi’ to me as I walk up the stairs I only pass a slight hand wave. Her she-devilish laugher soothes me, knowing I’m not in for the telling off of my life tonight. It’s only 7:30pm.
“Hiya Chrisy.” Slouching my body round the corner of her bedroom doorframe. I take my shoes of and place them in between her room and the passage, I have a rectangle bump in my sock no need for it now.
“Roguey!” She jumps of her bed in excitement. She takes out her hearing aid and it makes the most annoying high-pitched noise probably known to man. She adjusts it and all is normal again. Her room is filled with the scent of flowers, flower perfume from one of her over combed, dreadlock looking baby dolls. See if I was Christella’s mum I wouldn’t let her go any where near them dolls, they would just be for show, to look pretty. I mean the way she hacked at them with her combs and brushes it was like she was taking out her anger on the poor things as she didn’t have anyone else to take it out on. Aunt Cece, used to cornrow her hair so tight, right at the back just under her hair line she would have these little white spots and sometimes when Aunt Cece hot-combed her she would get shiny bits on her fore head and around her ears. Hell I be damned if I was a girl, no one would ever be coming to me with no hot comb, straight off the cooker’s flames, sorry no, not I. I’m glad my mum cut my hair that time, I should have never gotten bubble gum caught up in it. “I got a new dolly, look it.” As she walks passed me to go to her dress where normally all her dolls are I wish, hope and pray and even dig my nails in my clutched hands for the doll not to have plaited hair. Just the thought of Aunt Cece seeing me undo another one of her beautiful, white cigarette influenced, construction made me cower. She brings the doll round and it’s a hairless doll, all plastic it has hair but it’s all made out of plastic, thank the heavens. The laughter downstairs soothes me like a baby and I climb onto the top bunk of her bed to go to sleep. Pulling the duvet over me I close my eyes and the pink hue of the light-shade makes me sleep. Stretching over to the shade I tap it lightly and looks down, Christella has already fallen asleep with her toes hanging out of the bed, please don’t snore tonight. To and fro I watch the light-shade sway towards me and back, getting slower, slower, slower. Even the bed smells like flowers.
Woken out of my sleep in the morning, not by any loud noise, but the curtains being drawn was noise enough to wake me. The smell of bacon, sausages, eggs and toast greeted my nostrils begging me to go down to devour them. “Roeroe, time to come down, breakfast is ready.” She seems chirpy, well Aunt Cece always was in the morning. I walk down the stair case, pure white paint and I’m careful not to touch the walls as I walk down. The sun fights it’s way from behind a cloud through the window piercing the glass vase with one dead flower and shines in my eye. Lucky it’s not summer I would have been blinded. Turning down to my final length of the stairs I watch the shadows of the two of them in the kitchen pass and phase through each like a ghost through walls. I notice the living room is spotless and in there right above one of the windows in the corner an incense stick is lit, giving the house that Rasta smell (It’s nice but not my fancy.) “The you go.” Placing two boiled eggs in front of me with toast, Aunt Cece give me the look, the look that adults give to children, when we’ve done something wrong. “You’re gonna have that and me and Chrisy will have the wicked breakfast. Don’t think I forgot what your mum told me on the phone. Roguey how could you mash up the teacher like that?” waving her hips and right hand finger like she’s about to Chaka Chan dance all over the place.
“He hurt me, they all did, look.” By then the bruise that the short wearing teacher had left on my arm had faded. Teachers got way with a lot when it came to darker skinned children. Never did I see three or four men, man tackle a white child to the floor, holding their legs apart and putting pressure on their chest. Maybe white kids weren’t bad. Or maybe it was just me.
“Well, I’m not saying your lying my Roe, a marble egg? Really?” Christella looks up at me from the corner of her eye, yeah she’s younger than me, but she knows what’s going on. “Any eat up, no treat breakfast for you. We’re going to Aunt Gee’s in a hour or so.” Great stuff, I can hopefully teach Abel how to make smoothies, I saw that on Blue Peter one day.
Bath time, don’t touch the Imperial Leather (That’s sacred) use the Lux, brush teeth, get ready in Christella’s room, Close door don’t want her looking and my willy. I make the bed I slept in and carefully place the box of matches behind one of Christella’s dolls on her dresser. Right we’re all the way to Aunt Geegee’s house and it’s freezing. The walk is lengthy, walking down Millfields road is so long. The houses are nice and the area is so quiet, who knew that this was the place for people to die and the hand of a screw driver, a beating up, a gun or the hand of their deranged boyfriend. Zebra crossing, cross, turn right and up toward the car tyre shop. Ooh, I hope were going to the sweet shop with that massive white Wrigleys chewing gum box at the front, penny sweets are like money around these parts and although I’m like one of these ghetto superstars, it’s quite obvious that I’m not. I still getting dressed like the Prime Minister’s son. I can’t wait till I’m 10 I can buy my own clothes then.
“Hello Aunty Gee.” I say with a smile on my face as my sister’s cousin Elvin answers the door.
“What you can’t say hello to me?” he says with a stern face, he grabs me by the head and pulls me in Christella walks be hind and then Aunt Cece. I walk in through the passage, the downstairs of the house is always dark in the day, no lights like Aunty is saving electricity, spooky much. I pass the stairs and to my right is Abel’s and my hide out place (We both hid there especially if I didn’t wan to go home yet)
“Yeah I heard about you, come in here… Now!” Aunt Geegee isn’t so happy and sounds like she has something in store for me. Chores no doubt, chores her fucking children should do, I don’t know how to wash dishes or wash clothes. Big time adult getting the kids to do what she should be doing. “So what happened huh Rogue?” as I walk into the kitchen and look at the brown cork material wall paper where all our pictures and art work was (I love this wall), she turns round from the cooker, cleaning chicken, holding the red guts from inside her hand and a small knife in the other. I like the look of guts and blood, it make me feel like I have some control of my own life.
“Well me and Georgie had a fight and the teachers all proper ganged up on me and the hand me on the floor and carried me up the stairs and Ashlley…” I stop and quickly try and deter my slip “And I was sitting in the Head teacher’s room yeah and…”
Interrupting me Aunt Geegee injects “Who’s Ashlley? Don’t matter go on.” Okay so she’s not so bothered
“Erm, well yeah then the I think I throwed, I mean threw the egg at the P.E teacher.” Aunt Cece looks at me then at Aunt Gee.
“What you mean you think you threw it at him huh?” Her voice rises, “Go in the hall way and sit down for ten minutes and then you and Abel can play upstairs or where ever.” She turns round and begins talking to Aunt Ce, I walk off with my head held down, Elvin laughs at me as he walks up the stairs but my rage would dare come out now, not ever here Aunt Geegee and Aunt Cece would demolish my Cooli arse. So I slide down the wall trying to will the clock to go faster. Thudding noises start, first like they are from outside, then getting louder and louder the pain increases and I throw my head back harder and harder. I know what I’m doing and almost don’t want to stop. I don’t want to stop, this is the only way I will get out of this blasted position if I bring pain to myself. “What’s that noise?” Aunt Gee, questions and Aunt Ce lets her know it me. The fast paced stamps start and end in front of me. “Stop, you stupid boy, you tryna hurt yourself.” I start to throw my head harder against the wall the painted white wall, the white sharply spiked iceberged shaped painted walls. The sting on my cheek flows to my eyes, I start to see quick flashes of black and rushing red. I open my eyes and continue to throw my head back. “Cece, stop the boy, look at him, he’s gone mad.” Aunt Cece gets up from the table and I stop, only because one of those spikes has got stuck in my head. Slowly placing my hand over the back of my head trying to feel for the spike Aunt Cece look behind me. “Gee he’s bleeding you know.” I take out the spike and look at it, pink and dark red no white at all.
“I want to blood you.” I say in a quiet voice looking deep into the eyes of Aunt Geegee. She grabs me by the shoulder and pushes me up towards the stairs telling me to get Abel and we could go out to play. Her face was a face I’ve never seen before, I can’t explain what she looked like, just a weird look on her face.
“Remember when he used to tease Abel when they played together saying his name wasn’t Rogue, but it was Ashlley? Do you think…?” That’s all I heard Aunt Cece say, the rest was mumbles as I ran up the first flight, second flight and lastly the top of the house the fourth flight. This house is so big but there’s only one bathroom, the size of Remo’s kennel.
Walking passed the bathroom into Abel’s bedroom Vern is there sitting down on the floor making a lego model, he loved playing with his lego.
“Abel… Abel I’m coming up.” I shout up at him, he was always the last to get out of bed in the mornings but, it was no longer morning so as to why he was still in bed I have no clue. He’s fully dressed and isn’t under the covers maybe he’s just being a little lazy.
“Come up then init.” He stretches his hands out for me to climb the bunk bed and I climb up.
“Wanna play a game?” He nods but before he interrupts I carry on with the excitement also reflected in his eyes. “Ask you mum if we can make smoothies later on today, because you know what? I learned how to make them on Blue Peter. You have a Blending thing. You know those things you put food in and it turns into like a drink?” He nods and jumps off the bed. Before I could stop him he runs down the stairs, me after him He’s on the second flight while I’m still running on the fourth. Down in the kitchen I hear him tell and ask Aunt Geegee if we can make smoothies and how it was my idea. So if it all goes wrong, guess who gets the blame? Me. But it’s his house so I’ll let him do every thing. I just remembered the box of matches behind the doll I hope Aunt Cece didn’t find them before we left. To my surprise Aunt G says yes. She’s not a bad witch I want a house to fall on after all.
© 2010 - 2011. All rights reserved N P Rogue Laudat-Scott 'Mind of Rogue' and 'Memoirs of Marbie'
© 2010 - 2011. All rights reserved N P Rogue Laudat-Scott 'Mind of Rogue' and 'Memoirs of Marbie'