I got a call advising that grandma was coming to pick up the boy instead of mummy. I wondered whose mum she might have been. My question was answered soon enough as I heard the heavy English accent of grandma. “Sit around back”, she said as the boy and I made our way to the vehicle, “I have something on the front seat.”
The first thing that came to mind was that she didn’t want to be seen with me in the front. That thought only lingered for a moment however as it was replaced by thoughts of her being my chauffeur, to which I smiled inside.
Finally we were off and I told grandma where mummy would normally take me so I can catch a bus or taxi to school. I noticed grandma was taking a different route from mummy and though she was talking to her grandson, I interrupted her nicely, asking if this was another route to where I was heading. She assured me that I would get to my destination. Except that my destination was not forthcoming.
I felt lost even though I was still in the vehicle. The area seemed strange and quite unfamiliar to me, rightly so as it was. I told grandma I didn’t know where I was and reminded her of where I was normally taken. It seems all she heard was square and had taken me to the one she was more familiar with.
She finally understood where I wanted to go and proceeded to drive at a much greater speed down the road. The place still looked strange and I felt almost helpless until I glimpsed an area of familiarity and then I felt lost again. Grandma did the unthinkable in my eyes, but not even I realised just how unthinkable it was until I got out of the vehicle.
I had been left on a road that when followed all the way to the top, would get me to where I was to be. The truth is, Iv’e never tried to be a bother to anyone before and I was not about to start now, especially with grandma who I was meeting for the first time. Grandma instructed me to just follow the road all the way and so I set on my journey.
I walked and walked and could see no inkling of familiarity, I surveyed the area and felt almost nostalgic as I envisioned leaving the ‘Maasa’ house after a long day of domestic work. I felt totally out of place and wished my legs would move much faster. I asked someone if this road would take me to where I needed to go and they said yes and so I was strengthened to press on.
It didn’t matter that I got to the bus stop at about the same time I would normally have, had I gotten the ride to the usual drop off point. I felt hurt and saddened by the ordeal. Almost 20 minutes of walking and my feet were not pleased as they were not prepared for their encounter – already being so tired. But was I just making too much of the situation though? I don’t know, because during the moments that it took place, I felt the wash of racism all over me and as far as I know myself, I’m not racist.
Maybe that feeling will always be there when the skin colour is vastly different. Maybe the innocence is as it seemed or maybe not. I don’t know. When a boy of about no more than 10 years old asked me if I was the nanny of he boy I tutored, I was stilled but answered him never-the-less even as I tried to search his question for answers. But this seemingly innocent question did not affect me as much as the grandma situation.
I’ve always been in control of my space and maybe, just maybe, the knowledge of having this control taken away, albeit briefly, shook me more than I was prepared to handle. But I will continue to think about the fact that grandma knows about Coronation Market. A nuh mi seh so, a shi.