Anna stood staring at the dark sea flecked with white froth. Black thoughts of suicide scudded through her mind. Her mother from the distant shores of death beckoned.
It was the first Saturday in January. The day was hazy, hot and windless.
The slate-gray sky was clotted with Sahara dust drifting like a plague from Africa, blotting out the sun with a pale orange rash, settling softly on drought-stricken Barbados, whose fields and hills, once lush green, were now parched brown. Tattered bags of uncollected garbage lay alongside the road bordering the beach around Carlisle Bay. Smoke from burning trash curled in the air.
At one end of the beach, nearer to Bridgetown, a group of environmentalists crowded around a tent that served both as headquarters of a beach clean-up and as a makeshift bar.
At the other end of…show more content… Anna stood there staring after the stranger. She was repelled, intrigued, shocked. Her nipples had grown hard. She licked her lips.
“You do know who she is, don’t you?” said Sybil.
“Christ, Anna, what planet are you living on? Belle Grant, the singer, musician, leader of the famous musical group, the all-female Womangojam, not to mention notorious rebel, rumored to be part of the Resistance. That’s who just planted a wet kiss on your lips.”
“Oh God, yes, of course. But she used to wear her hair in long Rasta locks?”
“Yeah, well, same person, new twists. Anyway, at least she thanked you.”
Anna remembered Belle Grant had been a runner-up in the Calypso and Soca Monarch competitions two years ago. She had caused a scandal. Her soca song had clever but outrageously lewd lyrics and her calypso had a satirical bite that had pissed off the politicians. Belle had used the stage name ‘Lady Ho.’ Her two songs, though all the rage, were denied radio play. And that was it. She never competed again but continued to play the lead guitar and double tenor pans and sing with