Special Feature
December 10, 2010
Election Day

A fictional series by Ava Browne

Last Week:

“Why are you sitting in the dark listening to that nonsense?”

The baritone voice echoes around my sparsely furnished living room, startling me upright from my reclined position on the couch.

“What are you doing here?” a question with an accusatory tone.

“We need to talk,” he says as he plops down beside me.

“I thought we already did that Christopher. We decided that you were never going to come here again. Yet yo waltzing in, unannounced, like yo own the place…”{{more}}

“… Kita, I came because I wanted to ask you again; why are you doing this?

…I am not saying for one moment that you should not contribute to your community. But this whole prime minister thing is…” he sighs deeply.

“Is what Chris… too big for me… too far our out of my reach? Is not for a woman? Yeah I know, I shoulda been focusing on finding a man and settling down…. I should be patiently waiting for you to leave her…. Are those more realistic goals Christopher?” The question hangs between us, suspended on a strand of paused eternity…

In Kingstown this morning there is a rastaman and his wheelbarrow. No sound, except the crunch of pebbles and discarded leaflets beneath moving wheels… and the whistling of a nameless tune….

The streets are silent now, tired, like the rolling hills and valleys behind her…. All exhausted by the rage of the masses; who, for a season of weeks, were electrified with the power…. the power to believe for a moment that in this big world, where each new morning brings a new crisis… where the pillars of financial security and prosperity are folding like plastic straws…. where the grind is grinding hard… to believe that they have the power to grab a hold of their destiny… to recast their futures with a an X-shaped chisel….

So they congregated in the valleys to echo their voices throughout the land and marched through the towns. They sang their declaration to soca tunes…. They danced to the new rhythm of their empowerment…. They fought with witty coinages and cleverly concocted slogans and friends, who used to sit in the yard and laugh as they ate hushy cakes and just-baked banana bread, found themselves on different sides of the battlefield…. They threw stones and bullets…. They debated and accused one another of all manner of evil…. They battled with unbridled passion, enthused with an almost tangible desperation….

But right now… there is a quiet pause…. A rastaman, his dreadlocks slightly swaying to the nudge of the early morning sea-breeze… a rastaman whistling a nameless tune as he pushes his barrow through the still sleeping town…

I sigh as I remember him from the view of my office window where I had been standing much too early this morning. Now here I am, at a radio station waiting to be interviewed… my very last message.

I have done all that I could possible do…. walked through the villages, even in the remotest parts, holding the people’s hands. I have sat in their houses and made promises…. I have stood on the podiums and delivered messages of hope…. I have asked them to have faith in me… with only my word as evidence….

Some accepted me with open arms and offered me plastic bags full of yam, eddoes and plum-roses… some cursed and spat at me and made me wonder what I had gotten myself into…. Then there were the children, playing by the river and this one little girl in a stained too-long- for-her t-shirt… sitting on a stone in her own little world…. She… reminded me of why I had to see this through…

“Kita how yo doing?”

I am so deep in thought that Lucky Larry startles me.

“I good you know,” I reply as we shake hands.

“Well we ready for you now.”

As I settle into the chair beside Larry in the small studio; the old nerves return and I inhale deeply.

“So listen up people, Lucky Larry is back and ah did promise and yo know ah does always keep me promise. So yes I have, sitting beside me here in the studio, the lovely Kita Bridges….” he clicks the applause button.

“She is here today to answer some of the questions you have emailed. Kita, girl, we have hundreds for you to answer. We go have to see how many we could get in. But the very first thing I want to ask is… how are you my darling?”

“I am great Larry, very excited about tomorrow.”

“Well Kita the people want to know, are you confident UNLDP going to win this election tomorrow?”

“Lucky Larry I believe we have this in the bag, you know why?”

“Tell us why Kita.”

“Because I’ve been all over this country, listening to people and what is clear is that they want and need someone who does not conform to the old code of practice; who will deliver an alternative to the blind, ego-driven type of Governance that people are traditionally accustomed to. I think they understand that we need a visionary and a woman’s touch and I think they know that I am the only one who can deliver that right now. That it is time for a woman to be prime minister”

“Strong words but Kesta from Georgetown feels that women have no place in politics. That’s his statement and his question is why and how did you end up running for office?”

The journey question… the one that I had been contemplating in those early hours in my office… I remember my conversation with Christopher and the sacrifices I have made to be here… I remember the beginning… the very first step of that journey that was taken on that fateful day at Ride-on river….