Saturday 24 June 2023

Debut Flash: 'A White Lie' by Keitha Patton

With a soldier’s vow she left the chapel, plucked like a blossom from the colour drenched tropics of Jamaica. A rescuer’s promise from shanty town poverty and crime to small town Canada where lands are plenty, houses are solid and crime is just a TV show. A promise of a better life. A promise envied by unpicked blossoms left behind to wilt.

Forsaken were aromas of heady florals, warm fruits and spices hot, ribboned in the moist bronzing air. The breezy sounds of warm winds on palmy greenery. The emerald, gold and cerulean vista dominating beauty over the sprawl of corrugated tin shacks.

Forsaken—Sun— beating warmth hot—pouring life outdoors. Crowded dirt streets bright with the chatter of rounded tongues, stock pots of goat stew, and hollers at the little darlins’ to mind dis or dat til well beyond nightfall; when, sleep is squeezed back into the cooled down shacks.

White, was the promised land. White, was the sound. White, was the smell. White, were the tongues loudly whispering Black. Cold was the greeting from the solid house. The vibrant long sunned days packed communal - whitewashed with a single stroke of a soldier’s promise.  In this isolated, lonely and chatter-less country, she went pale and mute. Never to speak of her mother home again.

She tried to be thankful—was thankful, but her thanks could not deepen beyond the lie of the soldier’s promise. A white lie. A white soldier’s lie. A crime—a sentence— cold, soundless, white.

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