Early married life in Guyana, I come from a culture that loves to laugh

by Samantha Bacchus McLeod

A writer sees the world like a kaleidoscope of events, we don’t work our way from point A to point B, instead we happenstance upon little vignettes…

A series of events happened in Guyana, and then we were married. Two years later we moved back to his parents’ home, in Canada. Did I mention my husband was Caucasian Canadian? Keep that in mind for later. This was when shit got real. The honeymoon was over, but hold up I am coming to that in another post titled My Mommy-obsessed Husband.

Back in Guyana, my job was to manage the home, the husband, my daughter and my siblings. That’s a lot for a 20-year-old. But at that age, life truly is an adventure and everything can be overcome…if we want to triumph that is. I passed my days watching from the sidelines, I was a like a sponge fallen upon the sidewalk of life, soaking up every drop of life going by.

Our five-bedroom home overlooked the Atlantic Ocean on one side, –  well to the left of the balcony we could see the roiling muddy waters of the Atlantic Ocean. On the right, we had a good view of our Garden City. Our house was high up enough to see over the rooftops of our neighbours’ homes. From our vantage point we could gaze at the tall swaying trees of our sadly neglected city fighting an almost hopeless battle with the voracious jungle aiming to reclaim what was stolen. Georgetown is that fertile strip of coastal land overran by busy-loud people.

Guyana has many beautiful places to visit

Our respectable suburban neighbourhood, specifically the street our house sat on, had the façade of respectability but the shenanigans that went on around us kept us entertained for days. This was pre-internet, heck even cell phones weren’t invented yet, and on TV reruns the only shows, back then, were slapstick sitcoms of badly-behaving white people, or (gasp) some poor sod trying to live above their station in life. Boring to people like us who were all very much used to everybody around us living as they pleased with not much thought to the expectations of others.

From within the confines of our sprawling “mansion” – with our security guard at the gates charged with keeping intruders out, and opening and shutting the gates for us to drive in and out – we were supposed to, according to my Canadian husband, (a) glide about gracefully, (b) ignore the neighbours, and (c) show utter disinterest in the colourful characters in the neighbourhood.

Hahaha, pause, hahaha…we are Guyanese, we love to be entertained by real life. We were not Canadians, we were Guyanese.

A writer sees the world as a kaleidoscope of events, we don’t work our way from point A to point B, instead we happenstance upon little vignettes over time, and at some point, those vignettes bang about and form their own seamless storyline in our mind’s eye.

Take for example, the building 2 houses to our left…a lovely pristine white building with Caribbean-blue windows, and an ebony front door behind an intricate wrought iron gate.   

Cars and motorbikes came and went from dusk to dawn – middle-aged men usually driving by with young pretty ladies beside them in the passenger seats, or side-saddled behind them, they would enter the building and a few hours later exit looking slightly dishevelled, and for want of a better word, quite depleted.

This notorious building was a short-term hotel smack dab in the middle of our “respectable” street. These couples came and went quietly and constantly, but it was not until one evening at about 6pm that it all came together. This was when a black sedan screeched into the street, skidded to a halt, backed up and rammed into the white Land Rover that was parked there just 5 minutes earlier. An elegantly dressed woman, quite beautiful, in her mid 30’s, hopped out of her car, and looked around to see who was watching. She then calmly retrieved a 2 by 4 from her trunk, walked up to the Land Rover and inspected it carefully before placing the first blow. She swung her weapon, like a cricketer would for a home run, and smashed through the rear window, she then strode around the car and lashed out her blows at well placed intervals. The windows went first, then the lights, next she worked on the windshield and rear window, before moving onto the body of the vehicle.

After she was done, she replaced her weapon into her car trunk, dusted her hands, placed her left foot on the running board and removed a chip of windshield from her red stiletto heel.

She then smoothed her hands over her sleek hair and turned to the front door of the hotel.

Her mellifluous voice rang out, “Hello love, I hope she is worth it!”

The man’s shaking voice came from within the doorway, where he was safe behind the wrought iron gate, desperate to sound commanding but his words betrayed him, “Is na wha yuh think, she is meh friend woman, please!

Is she now, and your friend, which friend is this?

Is Peter Laurie, he deh upstairs.”

Peter is at home with his wife, who do you think told me where you were?,” she said this as she leaned over to check her lipstick in the side view mirror of her black car.

There was genuine fear in his voice now, “Nah, yuh lying. Just, ahm, just go home nah woman? Go home and I gon come explain everything…

She straightened up and laughed, “No darling, you do not have a home. And to the young lady in there with you I have one thing to say…this loser is bad news.”

She then got into her car, did a 3-point turn and left our street.

My coffee was empty and I was too interested in “what happens next” to even think about refilling my cup.

A long while later, a taxi sidled up the street, hesitant and unsure, it finally stopped at the hotel’s door. The young lady (who had gone into the building with the Land Rover driving man) stepped out, she strode with confidence to the cab, her head held high. She swung the door open and got in. There was a shout and then the man emerged from the ebony door. I had not noticed him earlier, but now I tried to soak up every detail of him, I was fascinated with his tiny stature, his comb over, and his wheedling tone as he begged the young lady to wait for him.

The young lady slammed the door, peeked over the half rolled down window and said, “Uhuh, you ain’t coming in this taxi. You shaming me like duh in front of everybody? Yuh wife right, you is a damn loser.” She flipped her wrist as though swatting a fly, turned stiffly to face the driver and said, “Taxi man drive nah. Tek meh to the Pegasus hotel.

They drove off. The little old man slowly shuffled back into the hotel, probably to drown his sorrows. And the beaten-up Land Rover emitted a deep sigh as a tire gave out and it canted to its side, it seemed to settle into its fate.

Read about women who need our attention here.

Beautiful Guyana

Check out Iwokrama International Centre for your trip to Guyana, while you are there, check out Bartica.

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