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Riding the fairy

Monday, February 24, 2014
Tobago Peeps

Recently in the grocery I heard a customer say to the cashier: “Keep your eye out for the fairy.” I was intrigued until I realised that he meant the inter-island ferry, the T&T Spirit, on which I am now, heading to Trinidad for a one-day visit. “Hello! The line start from the bin go back!” the woman in uniform says firmly to the line of bleary-eyed passengers gathering for breakfast at the fairy’s cafeteria. One or two of the people give her a cut-eye and a man in a red T-shirt calmly appeases them: “Leave she, let she have she day.” 


Cut-eyes instantly soften and return to perusing the items in the glass case: saltfish, sausage, bake, hot-dog bread, salad. The sound system pipes song after song about Jesus. “I need you to satisfy my soul with Your love” a female voice croons, competing with muffled sounds of chatter, intermittent ringing cellular phones, ensuing loud personal conversations, bursts of raucous laughter and the dull thud of feet on the carpet as passengers search for their ideal seat.


A dark woman with heavy eyeshadow and a straw blonde wig (straw in colour and texture) talks and laughs with a group of men. Two lovers sitting across the aisle from me fall asleep with their heads together and are soon snoring lightly. Dotted throughout the cabin are sleeping, blanket-covered lumps curled into chairs, stretched out at the edges of corridors or wedged on the floor between rows of seats.