Bernie Toucan and Doo Doo Chickadee are sitting on their usual spot by the junction of Fortification and Judgement Streets, having a bit of tea. It is a lovely afternoon and the long time friends are enjoying a lighthearted chat when they feel the wire dip. Both of them look over and give shrieks of surprise.
“Milli!!!! Millicent Audrey Avocet!”, exclaimed Bernie.
“Blue Shanks! Gial! Whe u di du ya?” asked Dodes excitedly. The friends come together for a warm embrace and kisses.
“Well girls. I’m here to bury my grandmother, Aurelia Avocet, memba shi? Granny Ray? She passed a few days ago and I brought her home. She insisted that she be buried here in Belize. U membah how shi does goh? Always have to have shi own way,” Mili smiled wistfully.
“I’m sorry to hear that Milli. I hope it wasn’t too difficult for you and your family?” asked Bernie.
“Well, she was almost 100 so we knew this was coming and the past few months, she was going in and out of the hospital. That was hard because it felt like I never left work, you know? Nurse at work, nurse at home,” said Milli.
“I’m sure she appreciated it, Milli,” said Bernie as she touched her friend reassuring on the shoulder.
“Gial but hmmm! Comin home da neva no joke! Dey harass me every step ah di way. Dey act like ah midi try smuggle drugs or something. Dey nuh know dat if a midi do dat, di coffin mi gwein di opposite direction? What di hell ah wa smuggle into Belize from States?” Milli’s eyes danced as she giggled. “Yu wud tink dey glad dat the immigrant di lef di country, right? Dey stop my rass da every station! Ah neahly miss mi connecting flight home. Ah tell di lady if shi nevah let mi goh, mi granny miya haunt shi rass sake a lef ah fi travel by shi self,’ said Milli.
“Haha!” laughed Dodes.”U nuh change nuh gial. U still di give trouble, big time lady and all.”
“Well! Dey piss mi off man! Ih does be dat I mi glad fi have a Belizean passport. I used to joke that I would nevah want a American one cause dey wa tek mi mek hostage. But hell! Ah di change mi mind. Ah mean, who wahn go thru da process da states? You have to pay almost a thousand dollahs den you hafi study and tek exam. Hmph! But lately, I might prefer be American.”
“Well, u know Milli, lately, wha latta pipple di rail up bout fi we citizenship. How easy it is fi get it and dat anybody could get it fi leebit a money or a simple vote inna elections. Jus di oddah day, PM give hundreds a pipple citizenship. Pipple nevah tek tu kindly. Seh how dey only di du it fi get votes cause dey desperate.” Dodes shook her head. “Milli gial. You might glad u live da States fi tru. Dis country jus di go to rass. Ah mean, why d hell u wa give a bunch a Guatemalans citizenship? Dey don tink we da fi dey? Now dey could vote and buy land and send dey pickney da fi wi school. Ih just bun mi when ah tink bout it.”
“Shit! Ah neva know tings get so bad gial Dodes,” said Milli. But dis rass nuh new mein. When ah midi go da SJC, dey used to talk bout di Chiney di pay like $45,000 fuh wa passport. At least den wi mid get something firit, right? But dis? Dey just di come tek whe dey done tink da fi dey already and we jus give it to dey!” Milli looked over at Bernie who had gotten very quiet, just sipping her tea every now and again. “Bernie. Whe di goh tru da maze a yourns?”
“Ahh.” Bernie sighed.”Ah jus di tink fi tru Milli. Ah mean, what do you do when something like this happen? Who u call? Is there even a process of inquiry?”
“Hey Milli,” said Dodes. “Di one good thing whe come outta dis? Dey gat deya 2 gial name Aria Lightfoot and Fayemarie Carter. Dey two deh awn gial. You know whe Aria seh bout di passport ting? Shi call Belize a prostitute! Something bout open fi business with evibady!” Dodes’ body shakes as she heartily laughs.
“Buwahahahahaha!” laughed Milli. “Dat da wa gud one Dodes! Suh wi da still ‘soldier taffy’? Wi jus do it legal like now. Wow!” Milli sobered as the thoughts swirled around her head. The Belize of her Granny Ray’s days definitely seem to be gone with her. This is one of the major conflicts she struggles with deeply. How can she, Milli, say anything about what is happening in Belize when she lives in a nice house and has a nice job in sunny California? She thinks of coming home often but she knows she is not ready to face this type of life where politics and one’s existence were one and the same. She shook her head as if to shake the thoughts right out. “Anyway, Dodes. Tell mi bout whe deya gial di seh.”
The friends sat on the wire for the next hour, until the sun sprayed its golden tendrils across the land, closing one more day, signalling one more triumph of survival over continued difficulties and challenges to all the good these friends knew as home.