Sonya sat on one of the large couches in the living room. The material was a pretty pattern made up of creams and browns and that made her nervous. With so many people about, one of them might spill their drink or food on her expensive Courts’ furniture. Food that had suddenly materialised and she had no idea where it came from. Her house was full of people she did not know and her kitchen, her beloved kitchen was being utilised without her permission.
Is this what you think about when your husband is dead?
This was the question in her head as she watched Natasha move around the house. She was shaking hands and accepting hugs. Saying what needed to be said and listening when appropriate. It was like watching Pedro but a pretty younger version of him.
Sonya did not know her heart could ache the way it did. She had belonged to Pedro since she was fourteen. Belong was a word she did not hesitate to use. She liked belonging to him. A girl like her with no family and no money at fourteen could not ask for a better man to owe herself to. He was more than twice her age but it never bothered them because he molded her into the respectable wife and mother she now was. Sonya had spent the last thirty years of her life making his life and his family comfortable. She knew who he was and what he did but she had never gone without from that first day he spoke to her in the market in Arima. She knew people did not understand what he saw in the skinny Indian girl that she was then but he picked her above anyone else. This was her life and now it was going to change. She knew Natasha was going to fix things but she had no idea how. He daughter would not tell her anything. Desi and Angel sat on either side of her, seeming to hold her up with their grips on her arms. Sonya wanted to go back to bed but she knew she had to do what Pedro would want.
The next day dawned like any other because the earth had not stopped, despite the changes in the Thomas household. Natasha sat at the large glass dining table with files and paper surrounding her. An untouched sandwich sat amid the clutter. The strength she had felt yesterday seemed to be non–existant this morning. She had
slept for maybe two hours the night before spending the rest of time staring at the ceiling from her bed. At six she found herself waiting to hear the early morning sounds of her father rising and moving around the house then when she realised what she was doing she gave up on her bed and went out to the dining room instead. She had made a list of the things she had to do.
Pedro always said that with his death his business would die too. He did not send his daughters to the best schools on the island for them to sell drugs and run illegal businesses. That was his job. He had been doing it since he was a teenager. Being poor and uneducated it had been his only option. It was simply supply and demand for Pedro Thomas and he established himself as the best supplier. It involved paying off many people, spending more time than he wished in police stations and dense forests but it was his business and he believed in doing all things well. He had the best house, the best cars, the best family and those things were his reward. He did whatever was necessary to keep it. But as a smart man he knew that nothing could last forever. He knew that this business of his that he ran so well would be the reason he would die. The family spent his 60th birthday in a beach house in Tobago and Pedro had been happy, estatic that he had lived to see the event,
“My father dead when he was 35 and my grandfather was in his 40s so this is a big deal baby. Is a grand thing yes!”
They were wading in the water watching Sonya cooking at the BBQ pit.
“Daddy you must not talk like that all the time. You go live for a long time.”
“I hope so baby. I want to see allyuh when you married and have children. I want to be an old man but life doh work so for people like me.”
She hated to hear him talk so because despite the openness of his life Natasha could not look at her father as a bad man. He worked hard, he treated people with respect. Whenever she saw him lose his temper it was justified. He was her motivation to always be the best and grades and scholarship to Canada was her testimony to this. Desi had studied in America for three years before she came back and got her government job. His daughters were smart citizens yet he was looked at as a criminal. Memories of that day replayed in her mind until she decided to get up and get dressed for the day.
Desiree was cooking when we came back into the kitchen. Her sister knew as much about food as she did cars, nothing. She was already burning some toast. She looked up when her sister walked in
“At least they clean up last night. Mama was vex they was in here.” Natasha said
“Ah ha.” Desi was trying to scrap the burnt bits off of the bread. “Ricky in the gallery you know.”
He had not been at the house last night but Natasha had expected that. He was there when Pedro was gunned down, so she was surprised he had come this morning. She figured he would need a few more days.
He was rocking on one of the chairs and looking out at the large gate in front of the house. Natasha sat in the cushioned outdoor chair in the corner and looked at him for a few minutes before he turned to her.
“You alright?” she asked him after a long minute.
“How Sonya them?”
Ricardo was a tall man built like a wide brick building. He barely fit into the chair as his solid frame seemed to flow over its’ sides. He rarely smiled but his face today held an extra heaviness on top of its usual malice. His was twenty eight but could be a decade older as he carried himself with a more mature edge.
They said very little. It had been that way all the years they knew each other. It was enough that no one could guess that intimate moments existed between the two of them.
“Bolo say you making moves today.” He was looking at her attire. A brown shirt dress, heels and a belt around her waist. Her hair was pulled back into one and her face was made up. It was her usual work look but there both new she was not going back there for a while.
“Yes I have to go to the bank and a few other places. I have to see Gomez as well.”
Ricky pulled himself out of the chair and straightened out the creases in his trousers and short sleeve shirt.
“I go be by the car when you ready.”
Natasha could have asked why Bolo was no longer going to take her but Ricky had obviously changed the arrangements. Bolo and Junior and her to a certain extent knew when to let him be in charge.
“Let me tell Ma I going. I will be down in a few.”
He was already going down the stairs.