He fumbled with the weed in his hand.
Me: Over a year now you fe give me this story.
Gangsta : me fraid crissy. A don’t know can happen cause me hold all a this inside a me.
Me: you dont trust me?
Gangsta: of course, just that me no want left you with this burden.
Me: I already live with a burden. I am the observer. I am the messenger, the prophet. You don’t ever want to see this place through my eyes. The eye of the intellect. Those sociologist and anthropologist a UWI need fe spend a day inna this yah fe know the burden weh me carry. Trying to change the world one manuscript at a time.
Me: I ask myself many times what is my purpose in this chaos, do I run or do I stay and fight?
Gangsta: I can only imagine.
Me: I have chosen you Bird as my muse. Me: Your story is like shotta just more modern, grimier… More profound. Crime is not only about money and needs. It’s about social acceptance, peer pressure.. A host of variables. A yardstick for masculinity. Me: it’s movie worthy. Me: in life there are no accidents. Me: We growing up together, being my friend all these years, guarding my success from the perils of the underworld.
I lifted my hands.
Me: no accidents!
He shook his head.
Gangsta: weh the book name?
Me: There are no accidents just like the book, the Bunna man is no accident that I met him, that I wrote a book about an abusive relationship from a first person narrative… It’s like a dominoe game… This and this leads to that. Life is one big road with lots of signs…
Me: when I first met him, I knew I would write a book about him? Just didn’t know it would be an epic story with a couple thousand reads.
Me: all these years, I know you are a murderer. I’ve been afraid of karma and how life has a way of balancing things out, making me pay for knowing people like you and looking away with indifference. I know you are reformed. You are intelligent, the books have helped you. I just need to tell the story. It’s important to me. It’s important to all of us.
Gangsta : me anno murderer . Me did just young, stupid and evil. I have taken lives, and wish me did give them another chance.
He lifted the rum and the weed.
Gangsta: this keep me sane crissy, you a ask me fe go back down that memory lane.
Me: yes. Cause you’ve told me this story before. I just need to record it. Me: I went to the public clinic the other day and peered into the eyes of the boy babies and wonder if I am looking into the eyes of my killer.
Me: The mothers are women like our mothers… They all have the same stories. What if we could change that???
Me: when me and you dead. When our flesh goes back to the earth and our blood to the sea. When we are nothing but a memory…this book ago live on… There is no immortality in the glory of a gangster life. A nuff bwoy bout yah wah kill you and take you stripe.
Me: Steppa has a subtitle… Life is meaningless, death is glory.
Gangsta: you no easy eenuh crissy!” Gangsta: you a really the messenger!
I pointed to my household.
Me: see. There are four generations of women living in this house. My grandmother, my aunt, me and my daughter… Amma teach you a thing or two about signs. Me: My mom doesn’t speak to me much. She claims that they said that I was a jacket… Now the same child that they rejected… Disowned, is the greatest thing to come outta them family…
Me: the same grandmother that told her son not to own me, loves me more than anything else and I am arguably the only grandchild that cares about her enough.
Me: it’s not that I don’t understand the stance my mother is defending. But she left me. She did. Now am stuck between choosing between the woman who gave me life and my grandmother and the father who helped me survive.
Me: we all have our stories. Most of us have similar stories. I want yours.
Gangsta: Stone weh the builder refuse become the head corna stone.
Me: like my child’s father in the beginning who never want me… And now I am the only woman he will ever love…
Me: There is a bigger picture here. I am someone who is often forced upon people. Rejected in the beginning. Then my value is realized later. From me inna me mother’s womb. Even in my relationships… A life of rejection. It shouldn’t mean anything. But an esoteric mind like mine can’t help but see the reality of my existence in my meditative hours.
Me: just like my relationship with unoo area don. It shouldn’t matter… But am a thinker… So I see the forest for not only for the trees but creeks, the animals, the birds, flora and fauna…
Me: And I think everything weh happen in my life has brought me to this moment. Me: just like you. All your childhood friends are dead… There is a reason why you are still alive…
He grinned, gaped at his children sitting on my step. A twin. A boy and a girl. Three years old.
Me: How me live my life. Is that as long as me no dead, me good. A cudda even prison me go a mawning, me house coulda bun down and mi haffi live under a tarpaulin, even if me get rape by a dozen men. Me still ago press on.
We saw a mongoose. It ran across my driveway. It bumped into my neighbor’s aluminum fencing. This was an omen. Deja vu. I’d seen this before.
Me: me is like that mongoose. Me: trying every hole until me reach the other side.
He shook his head and stared into my eyes. I saw love.
Gangsta: Crissy me just feel say you no fe deh yah! Gangsta: yah so anno fe you. Gangsta: that youth suppose to teach you say them young youth yah no have no sense. Them no have no heart.
Me: I know but who is gonna tell the story of ordinary people? Me: You see nobody important a come down yah! Me: The politicians them not even biznez with we. Me: It’s my classmates wish fe me stay yah and dead with unoo! Me: but me no think a no greater risk than wah the teacher, pastor or the social worker a do. Me: me, the lumpen advocate.
Gangsta: You know you too brave though?
Gangsta: Gangsta girl!
Me: Pen is mightier than the gun…
Gangsta looked at the evening sky. Bird my hero in my story titled “Steppa!”
Gangsta: Go get yuh book and pencils. Gangsta: Promise me one thing Gangsta: If me dead a mawning? Gangsta: Left yah Gangsta: Run!!!!
Author Note The Novel Steppa Crystal A. Evans Copyright © 2015