LONG TIME WALK ON WATER by Joan Barbara Simon
Emily Thompson, Rose to her friends, emigrates to the motherland, England, in search of a better life. It will be hard work for the young mother in this rich man’s country; above all she must also come to terms with this unknown phenomenon; di Hinglish dem.
James Dunbar. Jack is what he answers to. Picking his way through the mucky incidents of life, he consoles himself that things will get better.
They happen to meet at a bus-stop, Emily and Jack.
A tale of how the humble live whilst waiting for their dreams to come true.
In the following excerpt, news flies faster than Lester Piggot (a famous English jockey and him small like a squirrel); fast as a shame from the J.A. (as Jamaicans call their country) to the UK.
Martha Brae, October —, 19—
I’m sure everything in England is going fine for you. As soon as I open your letter and parcel, I sit down to write and tell you thank you, that Marlene and Leroy overjoy with the things you send them. You know me don’t have a good head like you, and me is not someone love pen and paper, so I make it short. Marlene draw this little picture for you. She say you must make sure you keep it because when she come to England she is going to look and see if you still got it. The child cheeky as a shame.
You say everything is fine and I believe you, but me also hear bad story them from other people. I hear how black people can’t go out at night and have to fear the skinhead them like the blacks in the fifties did afraid of the Teddy Boys. But because you don’t go out so much you probably don’t get to hear this. And other people talk how difficult it is to get a job or somewhere to live because the white people them prejudice and want to squash you up in a cooby like a chicken. I know you doing alright but I don’t know if I could pick up myself go to a country where people look down at me. Is enough that them behave like that right here in Jamaica without you go abroad for the same treatment and get spit on even more. The black sometimes as bad as the white people them and ignorance spread out all over the world.
We talking about white. Me hear you have a white boyfriend. Is true or is not true? You don’t have to hide it from me. Me hear him is one old old white man you meet at the bus-stop and him pay you fare everywhere you want to go in London. Him was one chaufur, or how you call it, and use to drive the big politician you see in the television up and down the country. Is true? Me also hear him and Richard is best friend. Is how come you don’t tell me the half of what happening over there, Rose? Is how come I have to find out everything second hand? People them asking me if me know this and if me know that, I must know because my good friend in England. I don’t know what to say and I don’t know what to believe when the people them talk. Don’t you think it’s time for you to put me in the picture?
It look like I am going to have another child next year. I don’t need no doctor to tell me I’m nine weeks pregnant. I don’t tell nobody - them will see for themselves in time. Glad him gone. Me did chase him out. Him too little and nasty. One more mouth to feed, I would like to know what the Lord have in mind for me? You know what it say in the Bible, to them who got shall be given and from them who don’t have shall be taken away. Well at least that was a piece of clever thinking you did going to England. Now you move out of the one camp into the other while me still sitting right there as always with no way of getting out. Maybe me fix up myself with one a them Hinglanman come back to J.A. and got a little something in him pocket. Who knows, such a nice girl like me (smile).
Well, this was just a thank you letter and to give you my little piece of news. Take care of yourself and don’t forget that I’m waiting for explanations.
The novel is not a typical story where you know how things will end even before you've even finished the first page. I promise, you won't! Not until the very last words. And it's more than a mere love story. It’s about faith; about loving the life you see ahead of you, in your dreams. And allowing no one to take it away from you.’
(Joan Barbara Simon, interviewed by Lucy Walton for Female First)
About the Author
Dr Joan Barbara Simon divides her time between researching children’s literacy development and writing fiction. Having obtained her first Ph.D. in educational studies, she’s dared to go for her ultimate challenge: a Ph.D in Creative Writing. Of herself, she says: ‘I’ve made it my mission to look more closely at undefined spaces as the best way to resist the temptation and comfort of easy answers. I’m interested in a broad range of language issues. Currently wrapping my brain around the political properties of words as polysemic, liminal entities and the nature of their common borders with the visual arts and gendered realities. That said, I’m a nice girl, so talk to me.
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