This I Believe

Beverley - West Palm Beach, Florida
Entered on July 5, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: family

I believe that when you should tell the truth, no matter how big or small the situation.

With the fog lingering over the cool mountains of Chudleigh, it seemingly set the pace

of life, to nonchalant. The temperature was cool and the soil was perfect for farming. The

community capitalized on the rich farmland and grew coffee, yams, and red peas. That was the

main sourceof income and men wore their calluses with pride. A typical morning was seeing

the men walking through the fog, heading off to the fields. Their shirts half buttoned, the legs

of their pants rolled up over their boots, machetes swinging and a “Craven-A” stuck in the side

of his mouth.

The local shop was owned by Mooney, a fat, loud and usually little drunk man that

everyone undeservingly respected. This was the place to buy everything, from the file the

sharpen machetes, to the rainbow popsicle kids bought on their way from school.

Curried chicken, slivers of yams with peas, again for dinner, I picked through it. My

dad stood up from the table and told me to go Mooneys to buy his cigarettes, for the next day

in the field. With a $10 bill that was so crushed, the bright blue color had faded past its glory

days. I skipped out the door; I knew there would be enough change left for me to buy a


“Good evening Mooney” I said, peering over the wooden counter. “Yes” he said

breathing heavily. “Can I have 10 Craven-A and a rainbow?” “You have a box?” He asks

“No, sir” I answered. “Hmrff” He turns and wraps the cigarettes in a piece of brown paper,

gets up from his stool and shuffles to the freezer. “No rainbow” he yells with his head still half

in the freezer. I was so mad; I tried to yank the bill out the pocket of my favorite pink skirt, but

I felt nothing. This time, I pushed my hand slow and deliberate in my pocket, no luck, still

nothing, I turned around with my eyes widened and followed the red painted concrete floor to

the big wooden doors, still no luck. Oh my goodness, the bill was gone. I started to cry and

Mooney offered his grief, while the put the Craven –As one by one back in its red box.

I stepped out of the shop with all intentions of finding that bill, because my dad worked

hard for it. I walked slowly up the road looking as far as my eyes could see. I turned the

corner and looked in the section of tall grass next to Ms. Love, the seamstress’s house, no luck.

Darkness was coming and so were the tears. I walked over the hill searching with each step,

no bill. I stopped at Precious’s house and told her what happened. She put her old shoes on

and came out and helped me look. Through the path, through the thicket, behind the phone

booth, at the main dumpster all the places that it could and could not be, we looked.

With a chill in the night air, we sat on the road and wondered what to do. Surely, I

was deep trouble, no cigarettes and no bill. Precious said “Tell him, some one robbed you”

“okay, but who?” I asked, tears still streaming down my face. She says “hmm, tell him

Steve, everybody knows he is no good”. “Okay,” I said, “I was walking down the hill and

Steve came up to me and took the bill” I rehearsed. “No!, no, say you were coming “round

the corner at Ms. Love’s house and he jumped out the bushes, with his machete and took the

bill”. Precious had more experience than me and I believed that her story was good.

I walked slowly over the hill through the darkness, thinking through the story and

making sure, I had all the lines rehearsed. As I entered the path to our house, I felt lump in my

throat and my stomach felt hollow, with the tears streaming down my face; I

put my hand on the door knob and I shuddered with fear. As I slowly pushed the door open, I

could see the smoke of Craven-A coming from sitting room. The lump in my throat grew

bigger and now there was snot flowing out my nose.

Taking a deep breath, I stepped in front of my Dad, and he said while blowing smoke

through the corner of his mouth, “Girl, what’s wrong?” I stood there frozen. Now with a

fatherly concern in his voice he says again, “Come on, tell me what’s wrong?” The rehearsed

story now needed more rehearsing and no words could come from my mouth. With his

callused hands he patted his leg and instinctively I knew all would be well. I sat on his lap and

told him I had lost the money. He said in his deep voice “Don’t worry, Mama found the bill on

the step after you left”. With a quiver of relief, the tears dried up, the lump in my throat

disappeared and I, felt like myself again.