This is the second part of a draft chapter I am working on and sharing with you. If you find grammar or other errors, just smile and forgive me. This chapter may change as I edit and re-write. There is still a lot to be done.
JLeahy Memoir Series The End of the broom
“Where is the mouth of the road?
At the entrance of the cemetery.
That’s where my body will rest and become soft.
But my spirit would fly to you,
Where I will see your face Lord”
I hummed the song in my head. It really wasn’t a good song for the start of a day. I was too distracted today.
I had to get my Saturday morning chores done. I picked up the broom; a bundle of dried brown coconut sticks, and went to the back of the house near the pig pen to sweep. In preparation for my getaway, I threw my red on the weak, bouncy, low wire clothes line that was slowly coming apart from the two ends, tied on coconut trunks. I was careful not to ‘bounce’ some of the wet clothes off; they had no pegs on them. We did not have any.
“Kalem! Kalem!” the children were calling me from the river. I waved and made hand signs that I was busy, and would join them later.
From the back , I used the coconut broom to sweep to the front yard. The bare sandy yard studded with beach pebbles embraced two houses, both of distinct characters. The larger house faced the main road to the village and the other faced the side of the larger house. There was a large hardwood tree at our entrance called Abong. Because we lived under this tree, our place was called Abonghu, which meant, “at the foot of the Abong tree”. The larger, white house, had blue trimmings and two blue door exits. With her nursing money, Mother helped her father to build this house for all of us. It happened before I was born. After I was born, when I was asleep, she hung me in the bilum on the Abong branch. The three rooms were shared with her two siblings and parents. Mother often fought with her older brother and his children over the ownership of this house. Each time, she would count the number of cement bags, timber, and roofing iron and tell them the total amount of her pension she had spent.
I tried to avoid the pig droppings as I swept. Pigs made such a ‘neat’ mess. Little black round balls looking almost as if they were rolled by hand. It did stink though. I swept past Mother and my room.
There were three bedrooms. Each room in the house Mother built housed several people. There was a lounge room, which turned into guest room when our families visited from the coast or inland. The lounge room had tired old fly-wired windows. Scrawly pen and pencil marks drawn by kids on the wall. The brown unpainted Masonite walls dropped down to unpolished evenly nailed timber hardwood floors. Various stains in years, soaked into the fibre of the dead wood giving it a distinct character. The other house was made from unpainted timber with a mis-matched stacking of planks. The roof was made from sewn sago leaves, and topped with a few iron roof sheets. The sheets had holes in them. Inside, the house was blackened by the built up of daily smoke from the fire. My grandma’s fireplace was on the verandah of this house. The two rooms had no fly wire, just cotton laplaps. The roof had holes. If your bed is positioned right, a raindrop will fall from heaven straight through the hole into your eye – shocking you. My cousin and I have tried this. It was funny.
To my readers: If you had enjoyed this draft, let me know. I won’t be posting the end of this chapter. It will be in my book. I shall be posting other parts of chapters as I start writing them. These last two stories (in The end of the broom) were parts of the first chapter I have ever written of this memoir. I have been writing a series of short stories in the last two years in my creative writing workshop. I am now attempting to connect them together and create a structure and a spine for the story. If this is the wrong way of writing a book – then I guess I have created a new way. Thank you for reading.