By D.E. Ambrose
The double-ring blasted the room and Miguel’s mother steupsed. She glared at the black object that sat on a table eight feet away from where she lounged on the couch.
“Well, who could be calling at this hour?” she grumbled.
Miguel tore his gaze from his novel for a couple seconds before returning to the intriguing spy thriller. His sister sprinted to the phone and snatched up the receiver.
“Hello,” Marsha said.
After exchanging words briefly with the person on the other end of the line, Marsha rolled her eyes and held out the receiver in Miguel’s direction without looking at her brother.
“Is for you.”
Miguel looked up with a frown.
“Is one of your girls,” Marsha said.
Miguel shook his head as he took the phone from his sister.
Marsha and her mother watched Miguel closely as he spoke into the phone for about two minutes. He hung up grinning.
“What, boy,” Marsha snickered. “Look like you get a date.”
Miguel steupsed. “You jealous? Laura that ask me to help her with some Maths problems.”
“Hmm. Laura?” Miguel’s mother looked up from her crocheting. “You in same class with her?”
“No, Mommy. She is a Convent girl.”
A tall man walked into the room and everyone greeted his warmly. He sat on the edge of the sofa next to Miguel’s mom and started brushing the lady’s hair with his palms.
“Who is the Convent girl Marsha talking about now?” he inquired.
“Daddy, Miguel girlfriend is a Convent girl,” Marsha replied laughing. “She call him for a date.”
“Barry, you didn’t used to say Convent girls are the best?” Mommy said, looking up at her husband. “I sure you happy with your son right now.”
Miguel rolled his eyes. “Is just a friend I meet in the library one afternoon when me and the fellas went there to study.”
Barry laughed. “Oh, I see. You know, that is how I met your mother. You remember that, Tammy?” He gazed at his wife, grinning.
“You mean that library was around so long ago?” Marsha eyes opened wide.
Tammy chuckled. “How old you think we are? But that building has been on the Carenage since the nineteenth century.”
Barry took Tammy’s hand. “We used to run down Young Street to the library as primary school pupils. Then when we went to different secondary schools in Tanteen, we used to hold hands as we walked across the Carenage. We used to study hard in that library.”
“And so those girls in my school used to get jealous,” Tammy said.
Barry kissed her on the forehead.
Miguel and Marsha looked at each other with half-smiles, but held their tongues.
“When we were in school in the sixties, the library served us well,” Barry continued. “Today, in 1986, it still serving you really well. A lot of us wouldn’t be able to pass GCE without that library, you know. And I sure in 2020 it will still be open for Grenadian children to enjoy the books and to do research.”
“Don’t forget it’s a place for Miguel to meet girls.” Marsha clapped hard and stomped both her feet as she laughed.
“So, Miguel.” Tammy put down her half-finished doily. “Where you meeting this girl?”
“We supposed to meet at the library after school tomorrow.”
Barry and Tammy glanced at each other.
“Is only schoolwork we going and do, Mommy,” Miguel reassured his parents. “Besides, it’s a library. Nobody could talk loud inside there.”
“You right,” Barry said. “But all the talking and thing taking place outside. Remember to get your own work done first.”
Miguel nodded. Ever since he had met Laura and her friends three weeks ago, he frequented the library at least three days a week. He and his classmates had formed study groups with the Convent girls. Even his mother had remarked that his schoolwork had improved. And he read novels more often. Last weekend he tore through six books from the Hardy Boys series.
“Hold on.” Miguel’s mother looked up. “When you and this girl first became friends?”
Miguel pulled his eyes away from the pages of his book once again, trying not to look annoyed. He didn’t want to be involuntarily introduced to the bottom of his mother’s slipper. He smiled and exhaled slowly.
“I don’t know, Mommy,” he said. “Maybe about three weeks ago.”
Tammy looked at her husband. “Honey, when you find our son start to read more?”
Barry grinned. “Miguel was always a reader. But come to think of it, I noticed he started reading bigger books from three weeks ago.” He looked across at his son. “Miggy, you trying to impress those girls by reading a lot now, eh?”
Miguel laughed. “No, Daddy. I just find some books that I like in the library. They have a lot of good books that a lot of students borrow. But dem girls reading a lot too. So, we GBSS fellas have to keep up.”
Marsha giggled. “Dem PBC boys go give all-you. I not saying nothing.”
Miguel steupsed and glared at his sister. “Anyway, I can’t find a single book by a Grenadian. But I get Trini and Jamaican books. Daddy, Grenadians don’t write books that we could read?”
Barry chuckled. “How you mean? Grenadians write books, wi. Maybe the library doesn’t have their books.”
“Well, how that could be possible?” Miguel frowned.
“The government allowing that?” Marsha chimed in. “When I grow up, I will write a book, and I making sure they put it inside there.”
“You? Write a book?” Miguel said. “About what?”
“Grenada have all kinda subjects to write about. Just pick any.”
The phone rang again. Marsha dashed across the room to pick up the call. She turned her back on her family and started an intense conversation in a hushed voice.
Barry laughed. “You forget we have two Third-Formers in the house?”
(Library Chronicles is a short story series that laments the non-existence of Grenada's main public library in the country's capital, St. George's. It attempts to showcase the many constructive ways in which our people have used the library, or will use the library once it is re-established.)