Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chapter 25! Meet Aunty Jaz

Merry Christmas! I'll be posting again Monday, December 27. I'll miss everybody. I hope this is enough to get you through the weekend. I'll be checking back for comments when I can sneak away from wrapping presents.

Hugs and love to you all. You've given me an incredible gift I can never repay. Your support on this journey means so much to me. I treasure every comment. Thank you.

Okay, here's what you've been waiting for . . . meet Aunty Jaz. I dreamed her up years ago when I first thought of writing a sequel to TAKEN BY STORM. It's cool to finally put her on paper.


POEM # ??

Michael drives me to a world
I didn’t know existed on Cayman.
Narrow roads, no sidewalks.
Cinder block walls, corrugated
metal roofs, wire fences.
Fat chickens and skinny dogs.
Laundry outside drying on lines
strung from trees, baking
in the hot Cayman sun.

No manicured resort lawns
and tropical gardens. No beach,
no sand, no ocean.
Jungle-like growth encroaching
each habitation, green upon green
punctuated by scarlet bougainvillea
in rampant profusion climbing
telephone poles, fence gates,
houses and engine-less cars
rusting in the front yards.
Dusty black children play
in the dirt.

Aunty Jazz’s fish shack is truly
a shack. Vines entangle the tiny
structure as if they’ll pull it apart.
Pres. X told us she lives
in rooms behind it.

Michael parks in front.
“Are you sure, babe?”
He looks up and down the street. 
“This part of the island
isn’t what you’re used to.”
A rooster struts across the road.
“I come from a farm full of pigs.
My grandma had chickens.”
He frowns, uncomfortable.
“But every body here is—”
“A different color.”
I frown right back.
“That shouldn’t matter.”
His hand rests on my head.
“I’m not leaving you here
until I know you’re safe.”
I lean over and kiss him.
I climb out, and a small boy
with a huge dog calls from across
the street. “Aunty Jaz is sick.
No fish, lady.”
I cross the street and pat
the mutt’s head. “Hi, I’m Leesie.
I’m Aunty Jaz’s friend.”
His lower lip juts out.
“How come I never see you before?”
The dog growls.
I recall my hand. “I’m a new friend.”
“I thought so.”

Michael won’t unload my bags
until we check things out.
We pause in front at windows
secured with heavy wooden shutters
painted yellow and purple.
And a locked pink door.
“Around back,” the boy yells.

“Keep behind me.”
Michael shields me with his body,
quietly creeping, in case
we’re attacked
the two large, laughing women
we find on a screened porch.

“Don’t make me laugh, sister,”
the gray-haired one shrieks,
“it hurts my foot.”
“Laughing hurts your foot?”
“Everything hurts my foot.”
They see Michael and stop.
“Aunty Jaz?”
She frowns. “The restaurant’s closed
I step out from behind Michael.
“Pres. X sent us.”
Her hands flap up and down.
“Mercy, where’s my manners?
You’ll be Sis. Hunt?”
I can’t help but smile back at her.
“Leesie, please. Can I call you
Aunty Jaz?”
“Only if you come right here”—
she holds open her arms—
“and give this old soul a kiss.”

The other sister opens the screen
door wide, beams and nods.
I got right up to Aunty Jaz,
lean over, and kiss her sunken cheek.
She hugs me to her ample bosom.
Her eyes move from the ring
on my finger to Michael and back
to me. “I bet you got a good story for me.”
“Leesie’s a poet.”
Michael stands in the doorway.
“You don’t say.” She moves
over so I can sit beside her
on the sagging couch.
“I’ll be having that after dinner then.”
A void in my soul makes my head droop.
“I can’t. It’s all lost.”
Aunty Jaz’s shoulders heave up and down.
“Write me more then—after dinner.”

“Excuse me.” Michael disappears,
returns with my bags, pulls
a packet of scrawl covered scraps
from an outside pouch I didn’t notice
when I unpacked.
“It’s not gone.”
He places the scribbles in my lap.
“I’ll leave you the laptop.”
I pick the bundle up, stare at it—
unbelieving, jump up and hug him.
“So I can stay?” I whisper.
He nods. “I have a good feeling about this.”
He turns to Aunty Jaz. “My dad loved
your fish fry. Do I get a kiss, too?”
Aunty Jaz grins and puckers her lips.
Michael kisses her cheek like I did.
She kisses him back. “Sit down, boy.
Sit down and we’ll have us a visit."
He perches on the arm of the couch.
She grasps his young, strong hand 
in her ancient one. "I have a good 
feeling about you, too."


  1. i'm with michael...i have a good feeling about this relationship too. hope that son doesn't show up and create problems.
    have a great holiday.
    will be looking forward to monday's post

  2. Thank you for putting up one more post before Christmas. The way this part of Cayman looks reminds me of when I was in Punta Cana. Merry Chrismas!

  3. I like Aunt Jaz! I have a good feeling about her..she will be good for Michael and Leesie. I keep reading yesterdays post and I cry every time. :) Loved it so much. Thanks for posting today. Can't wait for Monday, I feel like we are in such a great part of the story right now, and I am itching for more! Hope have a very Merry Christmas!!!!

  4. Oops, I meant hope YOU have a very Merry Christmas! :)

  5. I love Aunty Jaz! I can tell she is going to be good for Leesie -- and I hope Leesie gets to rediscover her poetry too.
    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

  6. I LOVE Aunty Jaz! And I love Michael more than ever.
    Except, what does Michael mean when he says, "A different color?" Does he mean that everyone there is black? Just curious.
    Merry Christmas!

  7. ohh wow i have a good feeling about this too.. i like aunty jaz ..
    Merry Christmas Angela ! :)
    & happ new years :)