Disclaimer. Ghetto Fabulous is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons is coincidental.
My fingers trembled as I peeled back the slip of paper to reveal my “A” Level scores. I held my breath as my eyes ran down the column. English – B, Spanish – B, History – B. Award of an Exhibition.
Blood rushed to my head and I clutched the document to my chest and jumped up and down, grinning from ear to ear.
“Thank you, Jesus, I passed everything.” My best friend Veronica Catwell exhaled in relief and clutched my arm. "How you did?”
I showed her my slip as we walked away from the Principal’s office, where the results were being distributed. Around us, the faces of the other students mirrored the information received; some looked glum, others were jubilant; yet others were in tears.
“Exhibition, girl. Congrats.” Veronica hugged me and I congratulated her on receiving two C’s and a B.
“If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t have done so well, Allie,” she smiled gratefully and linked her arm through mine as we walked back to our form room.
“Well, it’s thanks to you that I had somewhere quiet to study,” I assured her.
Veronica lived in a five-bedroom, three bathroom mini-mansion in Oxnards. Her parents, both lawyers, were hardly ever at home and Veronica and her 10-year old brother Simon were practically raised by a housekeeper. We spent many an evening at her house preparing for exams in peace and quiet that would not have been possible at my home.
I strongly believed that Veronica’s parents only tolerated me because I kept their daughter on a focused study path. Carefree and slightly spoiled, Veronica was not the most dedicated student in the world. While I recognised that studies would be my springboard to professional success, Veronica saw school as just somewhere to be between 8:45 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Now that she had been successful in her “A” Levels and was University-bound, I wondered whether my presence in the Catwell household would be looked on as favourably as before.
Later that evening, I shared the news of my Exhibition with my family.
“I never had doubt you could do it,” my mother declared, folding the slip of paper with my results almost reverently, “when I catch my hand, I goin’ give you a little somethin’.”
I smiled inwardly. Mummy always expressed her feelings towards her children with money or food, just like Granny. Hugs and kisses were never a part of their socialisation.
“That’s okay, I know things rough. Anyhow, the Exhibition should cover the tuition, books, everything.”
“You plan to go Cave Hill or overseas?” Suzette queried from her place on the front house carpet where she and the two older children were colouring and drawing. The baby was asleep soundly on a blanket nearby.
Before I could reply Mummy cut in. “Overseas, obviously. Wuh point it is getting an Exhibition and studying ‘bout here? Besides, these foolish employers in Barbados like they does only respect yuh if yuh study over in away. Dem ain’ care if yuh degree come from University of Pudding and Souse, once it overseas.”
Suzette and I laughed, which started off my niece and nephew, who always liked a good laugh even though most of the time they didn’t understand what the joke was about.
“Yuh all very happy in here tonight. Wuh happen?” Daddy walked in, touching each of his grandchildren on the head and playfully slapping Suzette and I with his Nike cap before joining Mummy on the small sofa.
Mummy sucked her teeth and pulled her flowered duster closer to her small bosom. “We must be happy, you wasn’t home. Anyhow, your chile pass she exams and get an Exhibition.”
Daddy’s eyes lit up and he held out his arms. “Come here girl, that’s good news. Wait till I tell Dove and the other fellas.”
He stopped in mid-hug and asked: “Wait, wuh today’s date is? These got to be lucky numbers!”
As he and Mummy started to quarrel, I sighed and headed to my room.
That's all for now, folks. Hope you enjoyed.