From the diary of a Jamaican Schoolgirl

I AM A GIRL and I can’t change that. But these days being a girl scares me. Don’t getme wrong, I’m glad I’m a girl, but you see, as soon as I turn around one of my sisters is missing. I look again and she turns up dead. One by one they fall around me and I can’t help but think I am next.

So… When the bell rings I don’t stay around to chat with friends anymore. I sprint hom quickly, remembering to never look back. I must admit I have been getting fitter, but mentally I am drained. It takes a lot of brain power to be cautious but I have to be. I don’t want to imagine my mother crying like the other mothers I see on the news because I wasn’t cautious enough.

Mummy’s routine hurl of “tek off the dutty shoes innah mi house” has never been so welcoming. By this I know I am finally in a safe space. Home. It’s the only place that I feel comfortable these days. Not in the classroom, not at church and not in the company of those kind officers daddy used to work with. Home.

As I watch the nightly news from the settee, mummy is standing close to the kitchen doorway, ocassionally glancing on the TV. There it was. Another one. She sees the worry on my face, comes over and puts her arm around me.

“Mi chile, it’s a dark world out there. We just have to pray. I cover you everyday before you go to school so I know you will return to me in the evening.”

She grows silent and stares at the TV, but she’s not watching it. She’s thinking. Worrying. She knows it’s not a must that I come home safely and she can’t even convince herself that everything will be ok. It’s in the glare of her eyes, in her breathing. Fear. But she doesn’t want me to be afraid….