Unremarkable Vergenoegen

June 7, 2009 at 10:36 pm Leave a comment

Editor’s note: The following was inspired by this blog and was first published on the Seeker’s blog. Be warned that it contains explicit content. If you are easily offended you should not read on.

There is nothing particularly remarkable about the village. Except perhaps the rice dust that blew into everything, food, clothes, water, furniture; or the woman next door, who, every other night, soundly cursed her silent husband. You fucking scunt! You is not a fucking man. You ah fucking jackass. Fuck Fuck Fuck…

This would go on into the night while I imagined that had it been me, she would have been out a long time ago.

There was big, tomboy Tandy-the one with the pineapple jam name, whose mother owned the shop at the corner and was the first woman I knew, who smoked. Son and Chiney with the fruit trees and who allegedly “do it whole day”. Chiney is dead now, I was told.

Baby and her brother Bo.

Which school you does go to? This from Tandy’s mother; a not-so-thin woman, puffing on a cigarette.

Das good man, Das good. Approving nods, smoke wafting over her face.

On hot days, the black water trench in the middle of Vergenoegen was a soothing place; where the dirt and dust from the rice mill could be washed away as you dived through the cool dark water to emerge cleansed and refreshed, if you didn’t hit a hidden post somewhere, of course.

There was football on the sandbar at the Essequibo River and sand mountains that could in no way be termed sand-castles. In a way, it was a bit ironic because it was here that I finally retired from cricket, after being hit hard by the ball, one too many times. There is still a bump on my knee from the day I quit.

I spent two years in Vergenoegen and most of my days were filled with silent anger; a teenager, who disliked everything and everyone and spoke in grunts and gave one word answers. My solace was me, and my Walkman (it was still popular then) was my loud companion. Everyone said I would be deaf by the time I was 20. I did not care. As Eminem soundly cursed his world, I did the same to mine.

Scars resulted from climbing the coconut trees in the yard; but the jelly was never enough. The stunted mango tree was a half-dead weakling, under attack from wood ants and maybe only sustained by the nearby latrine, which filled with water during the rainy season. It rarely bore mangoes but when it did, the fruits would be green one day and ripe but bat-eaten the next. The puny genip tree, I suspected was a male, but one year it bore little genips.

However, in Son and Chiney’s yard, there was a grand genip tree, located close to the fence and when I thought they were sleeping, I would climb on the roof, sneak over the zinc sheets and pick from the bountiful overhanging branches. Son would be looking from the windows but never say anything and I did not know.

While I sneezed and cursed the dust and Baby pleaded with her screaming mother to stop throwing stuff and stop saying fuck this and fuck that, Son and Chiney, if my brother was to be believed, were having the time of their lives, doing it “morning, noon and night”. Several years later, when I was told that Chiney had died, I wondered.

And when the bicycle was damaged and it was no longer possible to fly down the streets, the breeze slapping your face, I had to walk. In some ways it was good because then I could eat the biscuits and cheeze sticks from Papso’s (or is it?) shop and not have to share with the spoiled brats that were my nephews. I did not feel sorry for them, when their dog Sheba died, having been struck down by a car. Sheba was a stupid, spoiled dog that deserved to die if she was dumb enough to run about crazily on the road.

Vergeonegen. I learnt there that you have to be careful when going to a latrine in the rainy season; that strange, aggressive insects lurk in coconut trees; that women smoke AND curse. I learnt that no one can ever do things exactly the way you want them to and that is why I am the best ‘clothes presser’ (ironer?) in my family. It takes years of practice to achieve perfection. And if I ever get a lung disease, I know which rice factory to sue.

The village was also where the best tailor man, the one who made your clothes just the way you wanted them, lived. My worst ever birthday was there and it was also the place where I was introduced to alcohol. Here was the last time I swam in a black water trench, stole fruits, and played games on a beach.

Maybe it is a remarkable place after all.

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Entry filed under: Abt Vergenoegen, Buildings of Vergenoegen, Businesses in Vergenoegen, People of Vergenoegen, Sports in Vergenoegen.

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