Here and now
You free as the wind
You de earth
You de fire
You de song that I sing
You the beat and the feeling
The living proof that we in.
Here and Now, Andre Tanker
In the countdown to the new year I am in the centre of Babylondon meeting up old friends with their new babies.
In a way it is the best way to ring out the year. In the company of little ones, eyes bright and dancing and hopeful.
It wasn’t so long ago that we all lived here and love and marriage and babies seemed like distant far off things.
On New Year’s eves past, in the bite of winter cold in Babylondon we would get together and dream big dreams.
And then some of us grew up and got married. I remain an avid resistor of this fate, much to the delight of my friends who imagine that at some point I will give up and turn into super mommy with a little dread string band dragging behind me all over the place.
In truth Micaiah and Kimani are ovary activatingly sweet. They regard us adults with wry smiles. Like they’re thinking, look at them nah, they think they know so much.
For all our growing up we are still over-excited and loud. Still making a scene, oblivious to the scandalized stares of the nice English people who can’t make sense of our banter.
We revel in the familiarity of our newness. Knowing that children are the continuation of dreams, the fulfillment of a desire to bring hope into the world wallowing in extreme hopelessness.
There is a wisdom in babies that I feel I have lost somewhere along the way. In the loss of innocence and wide-eyed wonder at the world’s shiny beautiful things and people, I guess I miss that way of the seeing the world. A way that isn’t tainted by bitterness and cynicism and too much knowledge of the wickedness of people. They know nothing of heartache and betrayal, Kimani and Micaiah. They know nothing of credit crunch or climate change or the disappointments of a life not fully lived.
We skirt the politics and the uncertainties. This is celebration time. This is regeneration time when we put aside the weight of the world for a hot minute to remind ourselves of why it’s so important to fight in the first place.
We hope that the next generation only gets the good things from us. Not our neuroses and our short-comings. Not our occasional self-doubt and our frequent frustration for the place that we love that sometimes doesn’t love us.
That we all run from but must all return to. Because what are we if not cascadoo eaters, who miss our mothers’ mango trees and streets that hum with our own sense of rhythm.
All of these things we discovered on endless troddings. Alone and together. With the music and laughter and the memories echoing in our half-frozen ears.
We are reunited in Babylon-don on our way back home. Knowing that home is as much in us as it is in Trinidad. Home is where you set down your georgie bundle. Where you open your grip bursting with red mango and Sookeo’s whole channa.
The new year is fast approaching and for once for the night I don’t feel a deep and silent desire to have my own bright eyed popo. Because joke is joke but a sleepy baby is not to be reasoned with.
Neither chick nor child means I can head on to more parties with more friends.
We say our goodbyes in the Underground surrounded by drunken yobs and stoned chavettes wearing pink shifts and feather boas. I head uptown and watch as the madness takes hold. Remembering Kimani and Micaiah and the certainty of newness, the inevitability of change.
Thankful that this new year meets me surrounded by love and light and that I am constantly reminded that I have the power to create what version of the future I want to live in.