God Should Have Taken Me Instead
I remember my big sister like she was here yesterday. Sometimes it feels as though she is sitting across the room from me, and smiling at me. Momma named her Claudine Renee, but since I could remember everyone called her Prissy. Her favorite colour was yellow, and her favourite toy was Mookie, the golden teddy bear, that use to belong to me. But yesterday I had returned it to it's rightful owner
The day sticks out in my mind like no other. And now as I sit in her room deciding what to give to the salvation army, and what to send back home to Jamaica, I find myself clinging to one of the sweetest memories I have of Prissy.
It was a blistering hot day and Momma had sent Prissy and I outside, out of her hair.
"Prissy you and Desiree gwan in a de yahd. Buy an ice cream fi you two. And Desy don't spill pon yuh dress. Yer Gramma is gon be here soon." Momma said, and the two of us looked up at the large towering black woman. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. And she had the warmest breasts to rest your head on when you were upset. Her large brown eyes skittered about the room as she tried to make a mental note of all the things she had to do, before the guests arrived. It was a rare occasion when Gramma came to visit. She turned suddenly and we both scattered to move as we got underfoot. She spun around to glare at us, and then smiled a broad smile that lit up her face, she laughed deeply and heartily, then dug into what seemed like depthless pockets, and handed us a shiny new nickel.
"Now don't look like I don't love you." She said, and she smiled. Momma has the whitest teeth I've ever seen on a person not on TV. We both said thank you, and ran out the door.
"I know why Gramma's comin." I said as we raced down the path to the gate. I could hear the ice cream man hollerin down the street.
"Cause Momma's sick." Prissy said. I shook my head furiously. I knew the real reason. We had reached the ice cream man, and we shoved our way into line. Veronica and Percy, and some other kids on the street were already there plaguing him. Prissy bought our favorite, a Rocket, and the two of us fell into step with Veronica back to the yard.
"Cause.....Gramma's birthday is the day after mine. She's coming to stay till the end of the week." I said proudly, and Veronica and Prissy turned to look at me. Prissy shook her head, and they both turned back around. I pushed through them and spun to face them. And at that exact moment, my ice cream flew from my hands and landed in the dirt. Before I could even think of crying I had already begun.
"Shhhhh Desy...if Momma hears your she'll give you the belt just for crying over ice cream." Prissy said, and she pulled me towards her, and clamped her hand over my mouth. And as I fought her, her ice cream flew out of her hands too. And then I cried for her ice cream too. I had been hoping she would give me hers. Veronica shook her head in pity, took a long lick of her ice cream, and then kicked some dirt over mine on the ground. I began to wail even louder.
"And Gramma is too here for my birthday, cause hers is the next day too. She wants us to celebrate together." I wailed.
"Desy, Gramma told me her birthday was the day after mine too. And she told cousin Alice and Deon the same thing. Nobody knows. I even asked Momma." She said. And on that note I burst into a fresh round of tears.
"Sshhhhh....Desy. You're gonna get tears all over your dress. Momma is gonna be vexed." She whispered, but to no avail. "Kay wait here with Veronica. And don't cry. I'll be right back." She said, and she raced up to our house, and through the gate. In a minute she was through the door. I was still whimpering. I had barely gotten a lick of my ice cream. Momma hardly ever gave us money for ice cream. And on top of that I knew Gramma's birthday was the day after mine. She promised. I knew it. I looked at Veronica through my tears as she licked her ice cream. I wanted one too. She was still kicking dust on my ice cream on the ground. Her mother had ironed her hair, and it was straight. I hated her. Her and Prissy were in the same third grade class at Ryerson elementary. And sometimes she wouldn't play with Prissy because Prissy had to take me everywhere. She called me a baby. Well I wasn't a baby anymore I was in grade one. I was just conjuring up thoughts to give her a shove when Prissy
"Here!" She said. And into my arms she shoved her most precious and prized possession. Mookie. Hungrily I snatched him up. I had wanted Mookie since the day he had arrived in a barrel from some Canadian relative. His fur was soft and golden brown. He had a bright red triangle nose, and big brown beady eyes. My tears suddenly dried up, and I clutched him close and looked at her to see if she was serious.
"No more tears?" She asked. And I nodded.
And from that day on, good to her word Mookie was mine. Yesterday I placed him in her coffin, in hopes of mending the rift in my broken heart. She had been like that her whole life. I watched her take the shirt off her back to give to a child when we were vacationing in Mexico. Prissy my sister with the golden heart. God should have taken me instead. I miss her.