… time to check out ‘Georgia Lights’ a multicultural short story based in London, available on Kindle. This is the story of Georgia Ellis a West End milliner, a woman of mixed heritage and about her struggles in trying to understand ‘life’. This is a little quirky, well more so than usual lol, as it’s both a love story and it isn’t at the same time. There’s a lot of stuff going on in this one, from exploring mixed race identity, to the influences of culture, belonging, sexual desire and womanhood. I hope you’ll check it out and have a little fun along the way. Peace&Love
“One-night stands, spent away, at swanky London hotels mostly. I never brought anyone back to the shop. The exclusive dating app’s premium service covered all the layers of anonymity and shit I wanted. So it was easy to dabble slots and sandwich urges between spells of celibacy. Wham-bam thank you ma’am. The types I’d dealt with treated me well, but … no expectations. No cuddles. No afters. No interest in getting-to-know. No falling head over heels or sudden shifting of prospects from weary lust to passionate love. No starry-eyed, butterfly-bellied jitters. Just a cold, be it cordial, half-arsed – ‘So … umm … check you laters, yeah?’ Luck of the drawer I guess, but most were pretty weak on conversation too, bordering on dumb, so I was kinda glad they didn’t … call that is.
I thought it would be empowering or somin. That I’d been approaching from a position of strength. That’s what I’d told myself. And the secrecy was initially exciting. The arrangements. The when and the where. What I would be wearing and what he’d have on. Adrenalin pumping. Swish lobbies and soft music floating. The hook-ups? All but one had been disappointing. The one? Well, things with him were progressing nicely when I had this premonition he was married. I’d shut it down after the first kiss. But my hypocrisy still burnt. So that was that. I was taking a time-out from those dealings.
Maybe it worked for some but after a stretch I realized my mental wasn’t dealing.
I liked proper beginnings. I loved romance.
And I hated trying to excuse the antics of lame-ass dudes who then wanted you to pay for their shit. I was done, done acting gnarly, done beating myself up about my age too, or likelihoods and the lay of the land. If only mum’s fixation on my relationship status and her metaphors for life could undergo a similar diminution. I was tired of her disparaging jokes of comparing my shelf life with crop staples like a browning banana or aging cassava.
Food for her wasn’t just for eating, it was animated, imbued with memory and fabled symbolism. I had too many memories of market day and mum.
Whenever she used to bump into her friend Cheryl down Brixton market, I saw a side to mum I didn’t normally get to see. Cheryl hailed from Barbados, Vincyland’s island neighbour. After the usual greetings and asking about so and so’s health, or I ain’t seen him in a while … not been to Church. The usual gossip. We’d be waiting in line at a fruit and veg stall and they would start rapping. Mum would lift a yam, and examine it, talking about how the texture of Vincy yams and edoes softer ‘n creamier dan dees here. The Indian trader overhearing, but busy with another customer, would look none too pleased. Or, you call dat banana? Mum would continue. Yuh kant get banana like Vincy banana, and don’t even start on dis plantain. Cheryl would nod, jumping to breadfruit and sugar cane … I can’t believe he wantin money fuh dat lickle piece a cane. Mum would cup her laughter with one hand, as Cheryl would shove her back to listening. I used to go right up inside dee fields and steal big piece a cane to suck fuh free, free, free, man. Mum would cackle, muttering you know, dees prices bare foolishness, fuh true.
How yuh mean? ‘N look wha he wantin fuh dat coconut water? Cheryl’s shoulders would rock, her smile wide, while I stood silent, empty basket in hand, watching these two mix it up like a pair of griots.
Mum’s land, a place where anything grew, where dee mangos lying just so pon dee ground, falling from laden branches. Verdant volcanic slopes and valleys, scents like allamanda, frangipani, lilac and ganja, lush rivers, fields of abundant crops, the sea teaming with flying fish. Don’t talk ‘bout dee snapper? I yi yi. And fried dolphin?
Girl stop already, you got me hungry. Cheryl would tease with a sweep of her stomach, her small breadbasket as she called it, unmoved, evidently not in such a hurry to have her belly full-up. Cause she would take her time, the convo moving to talk of her elderly mother’s garden. We got mango tree, ackee, avocado, coconut, five finger, sugar apple, dunks, guava, soursop, Bajan cherry, and lime. Mum would coo, her eyes ablaze, while I rolled mine thinking of the sewing I could be doing. Next, a slither of bad news. This time about some nasty African snail invasion and her poor mudder don’t know what to do. Dees snails bad, man, deh wanna eat up half dee garden. Got old mum hollering fuh murda.
Mum would be nodding away, looking ten years younger, the usual depressed veil of ‘getting-by’ pulled back like skin, every expressive aspect of her face momentarily operative and aglow, every ounce of concentration invested. It was in moments like these that I saw my true mum. I got a taste of how different life had been back then, how much she missed her island, turquoise water, vibrant coral reef, yellow sand, iguana, parrot in palm, swaying casuarina, and Soufriere tree with hot sun beating down, how much she longed for the way things used to be. It was in those moments I could feel her pain.
Still, her food metaphors, like her iguana soup, you could keep though. I was tired of being compared to a bloody staple.”
Text Copyright © 2021 L. S. Bergman