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Passing Through

The coconut tree near the road had been cut down and the poui opposite was blooming. The poui was the pride of the village. It was planted there by a governor's wife a long time ago. The village idlers loitered beneath it and played draughts. Sometimes they played wappie and rummy.

There are three main buildings at Bonne Aventure Junction: Sooklal's shop and parlour and Deen's shop and bar on the western side, and Popo's shop on the eastern side. The other buildings are hidden by bush and high hibiscus fences.

We lived in Popo's shop for about five years. Popo and Deen were brothers and bitter rivals in business and agriculture. Deen was more successful, so Popo moved away to try business elsewhere and we rented his place. We started to run a dry goods shop too.

From a stool in Deen's bar I looked through the window at Popo's place where I used to live. The "Vote Jack Kelshall" sign from an election many years ago was faded but still up. The building was as ramshackle as ever but I remembered the good times I spent there. I looked at the standpipe in front of Popo's place and I could almost see Milly fetching water at night and I sneaking through a hole in our fence to whisper or kiss if it was safe.

Agatha lived next door. I remembered the trouble we caused between our families. I could also remember the day the police came to arrest her uncle, Roy. he was a big sagaboy in the village but the police seized all his clothes. He has got them from the white people's clotheslines at Pointe-a-Pierre where he used to work as a handyman.

Under Popo's shop the barber with his box of tools on his bike was still working, while Popo spoke to him in Hindi.

Just then a taxi came up and I shook hands and left Deo and Ganga. Popo still looked across at them with envy.

Anson Gonzalez 1998