Calabash Got A Bash
By Juliet Bipa

The Wedding by Cyril Dabydeen


I slammed the backdoor and raced up the stairs to my mother's room. I know she would not hear me with the old sewing machine going. I dived into the rustic trunk in which most of her prized possessions are stored. I gently unwrapped a delicate ornament from folds of newspaper. I nearly tripped over my pet cat, Fluffy who was hovering around me.
I gingerly held out the beautiful object that I found hidden among the trinkets.
"How did you find this?" asked Mother, surprised.
"Let me have it. Do you know the significance of this box?"
"No, Mama, but its beautiful," I said, answering the second question.
"This is a very special box," said Mother.
"Where did it come from? " I asked.
"It was made by a very special person for someone very special over forty years ago. It is now our family heirloom," said Mother tracing her hand over the carved patterns.
"Tell me about it," I begged.
"It was made by your grandfather when he was a young man about to be married. He gave it to your grandmother as a peace token after they had quarreled."
"Did Grandma and Grandpa quarreled too? " I asked.
"Everybody quarrels sometimes but what's important is to forgive and forget," said Mother.
"Ray is always mean to me," I said.
"Try to be nice to him but find other friends too," said Mother.
"OK Mama. May I hold the box? " I asked.
"Yes you may, but be very careful," warned Mother.
"What is it made of Mother? " I asked as I examined the beautiful carvings and colors around the box.
"It is made from the fruit of the calabash tree. Your grandfather crafted this rare ornament," said mother proudly.
"Almost like a Jack-o-lantern that is carved from a pumpkin," I did a quick comparison. "Only this jewel box has no eyes or mouth."
"And no nose," said Mother." These carvings and bright colors tell a story about our family."
"Please Mother may I take it to school for our Multicultural Day Celebrations? " I asked.
"You may, Amber but promise that you'll take good care of it," said Mother.
"Oh, Mother, thank you! I will. I promise," I did a double trot around my mother's sewing machine with Fluffy trailing behind.
At school, the class was buzzing with excitement as everyone took a quick peek at each other's item. "Yours is so pretty with all the drawings.
"What is it Amber? " asked Nardy.
"You can only look. Don't touch. If it breaks my mother will never forgive me.
Better if I break," I said seriously.
"Everyone kindly take your seats," Miss Doratree directed as the lesson began. The children took turns and showed their objects.
When it was my turn, I proudly displayed my special piece. " These carvings show my family tree of my father's and grandfather's families," I said with pride.
"Very unique and antique," observed the teacher, impressed with her class contribution. " We must be very careful with these precious pieces," she said.
Everything was going well until the teacher turned away.
Bram! Bramm! Brammm! Crrrashhhh!
The sound of a broken object brought everyone rushing to investigate you who broke it.
"You broke my crayons yesterday and you threw my pencil case in the fish tank. You are not my friend. I hate you!" I sobbed.
Miss Doratree tried to calm me but I yanked free of her hold and ran I sat in fear not knowing what I will tell my mother as my body rocked in sobs.
After awhile, I stopped crying and tried to stay cool. Like a puzzle, I slid the broken pieces of the jewel box together. Then my trembling fingers, traced some letters that were etched at the bottom of the calabash jewel box.
I read the word FORGIVEN which was carved there by my grandfather more than four decades ago. Over and over, I gently traced the words that was etched there by my beloved Grandfather. I repeated it again and again.
It seemed as if...
"Yes Grandfather," I whispered as I got up and went over to Ray.
With Miss Doratree's help, my calabash jewel box was neatly mended.

The author is a Guyanese who lives in Jamaica.