Screaming Like a White Girl

Drifting in and out of rest
That very first night
I breathed the children's eyes
My ears tasted the sounds of
The Creolic Spanish and French salad
Seasoned with the children's universal
Hot peppered echoes
Of laugher.
Exhausted beyond words
I cascaded into a deep, deep sleep.
My soul splashed against the shore,
The night ocean spat me onto the smooth sand
I stomped and stumbled and then shook.
Morning already?
Lost in space, I sat straight up
My body froze as icicles of pain
Overtook every inch of me
“this ain't my bedroom.”
Panic, then fight mode
A tide of remembrance swept over me
The word Haiti echoed between the heartbeat
Swell of soreness from yesterday's truck ridel
The hair on my skin prickled, my inner-city self said
something's not right
I felt the eyes of yesterday's children upon me.
I was being watched.
I moved my legs over the edge of the bed
They screamed begging for disobedience
I willed my sore body to peer out of the window.
Nobody was there.
I limped across the room,
Trying to figure out
What part of my aching buttocks to favor
Peered over the balcony...
My bruises got captured in the moment.
Somebody was looking at me. My soreness vanished.
Catlike, I sprang into the room, yesterday's truck ride forgotten
Dropped quickly to my knees
Looked under the bed and proclaimed,
Peek-a-Boooooo! I see youuuuuuuuu"
Hmmmmmm, those eyes,
I couldn't shake the feeling of being watched.
I put Crest on my toothbrush and dry brushed my teeth
Conserving my precious flask of missionary approved drinking water
Those eyes were still watching me
Following my every move.
I peered over at my things sitting on a little table.
The eyes were coming from that direction
Perhaps a child was hiding on the other side.
I tiptoed over to my make-up bag,
Sitting next to a bag of red twizzlers and a can of planters peanuts
Which were flanked by
A chocolate chip cookie
My comb
My brush
A chocolate chip cookie?
When did I have a chocolate chip cookie?
I zeroed in on the cookie.
A chocolate chip cookie?
Peering at me?
My information rol-a-dex went into immediate play.
It stopped under “N” for National Geographic
Then slowly flipped through one alphabet at time
It arrived at the letter “T” and hesitated as if waiting for me
To understand
Then it flipped back to the letter “A”
In an octave I didn't even know I owned
I let out the most sissified
The chocolate chipped cookie stretched forth its legs
As amazed I'm sure as I was,
Too petrified to run or jump or what ever it is that tarantulas do.
The other missionaries ran in at my alarm
One pulled off his shiny new American sandal and
Stunning the spider cookie and kicking it from the room.
I was so upset.
Not at the spider
But at myself…
…for screaming like that.
All I could visualize was my 4 brothers, laughing
“Ya big, big sissy!”
Perhaps I shall leave this little 8 legged detail out.
No way could I live this story down when I got back to America.

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