In a crisis torn, South American country, only little Ann's faith, her determination, and one young woman could help keep her dreams of escape alive.

A true story...
Find a synopsis and other details about Sunday’s Child at my confidence blog (linked). Read excerpts here: List of Books on Amazon

The New Uniform That Never Was - Excerpt 20

I walked to Mr. Charles’ house, all nearly eleven years of me, in a compact little ball.
I knocked on the stranger’s door, a man I had only ever said, ‘Good Morning Mister’ to, even though he passed our house almost every single day.
His wife came to the door, and looked down at me, “Yes?” she asked. She knew who I was. I was not like her kids, I was of the pack they called the ‘bastards.’

She turned away to get her husband when my bastard’s voice said, “Good afternoon Aunty, can I speak to Mr. Charles, please?”
My knees shook from the marrow, and my palms tingled on the insides as I waited for him. I had practised what I was going to say on my way over. How did it start? How did it start?

A towering, black man stood in front of me. He was chewing, I had caught him during his dinner.
I don’t know if I told him my name, or if he already knew it. If he did, he probably did not know that it ended with an ‘e.’

Words came tumbling out of my mouth; my mother was meant to bring my uniform and that we wrote her twice but we didn’t hear from her. I didn’t have anything to start school with, nothing. I was meant to start secondary school in five days, but had nothing to wear, and we had no money. Not a single penny to buy anything.

When I eventually opened my eyes, his mouth was empty and his brow was creased. Confusion flashed in electric signs inside his skull. I knew this because I could see the reflection of it in his eyes.
“I’ll tell yuh father,” he said.
“Thanks,” I answered, then turned by back, slimed down his stairs, and away.

His house was next door to Parmanand’s bar on the Back Dam Road, a convenient place to do my cigarette and rum shopping these days, being a stone’s throw away from our house. I stopped on my way home to buy some cigarettes. It’s lucky that we happen to live near bars, or else I would be spending half my life walking to get cigarettes.

We’re running out of kerosene fast and Mammy said we might have to cook on the fireside. She said that Comrade Leader and his PNC party ration all the kerosene, so that families could only get a small amount to cook. She said that a lot of her friends cheat, because they send their teenage children in the line separately, so they get two, or even three portions.

Yesterday when Theresa and I went to Esso petrol station, we were nearly two hundredth in the enormous anaconda-shaped line in the hot sun. When we got up to about fourth position after more than two hours, the pumps had all gone dry (or so they said). This happens often, and to lots of people. Mammy said that tomorrow, we’d have to get up at four in the morning so that we could be first in the line.

I woke up and got dressed by the light that was always left on in the living room. I then took the kero jar that I carry (this is the two gallon one. I usually have to change hands often to walk home with it, but I can carry it okay), went to the back door and opened it.

“What on earth you doing, stupid? Is the middle of the night.”
“Buying kero,” I said, but before the words had come out of my mouth, I realised that I was sleep walking again.
“Go back to bed,” Mammy said. It was only 11 p.m after all. The first time I sleep walked, was just after we had the break-in, back when we lived in the scheme. Like then, I tried to open the back door and escape outside. Good thing Mammy woke me up.

I was woken up at about 3:30 a.m. Mammy stayed with Franc, and Theresa and I prepared to go out into the warm morning air. The crickets were noisily chirping, as the birds still seem to be sound asleep. It was very dark, but it was all right.

Theresa said that there was no need to be scared because people would look out for us, seeing that we were two girls in the street on our own. It was a long walk into the town to the petrol station, when we got there, the line of people waiting, was already poking its way into the main road. There were about fifty people who’d gotten there before us, but in the end, we got our kero. In the afternoon I went back to see Mr. Charles to see if he had any good news for me.

“Me Child,” he said, and I knew from the look on his face, what he was about to say. “Yuh father said that if yuh want him to buy your uniform, yuh have to ask him yourself, not come through me.”

I felt my eyes looking up to his, but can’t remember seeing his face. I had dreamed of Mr. Charles bringing me parcels wrapped in golden paper; parcels with notes scrawled on top of them saying, ‘To my loving daughter. I’m so proud of you.’
I’d had visions of walking home and trying to peek into the packages, opening them at the side, just a small bit where Mammy wouldn’t notice.

I would see blue, and I’d smile to myself. He would make me guess what was inside the parcels, but I would know. His trick wouldn’t work, but I’d pretend I hadn’t looked. I’d go home and wonder out loud about what would be so beautifully wrapped. I would open them and gasp in surprise, then I would smile and begin to try them on . . .

“Sorry child, I can’t help you. You did very well and you father proud of you,” Mr. Charles said. I waited for a second, but he didn’t bring out any parcels.

When the tears fell, I saw Mr. Charles scratch his head. Once again, I walked down his steps, hands empty.


•°°• IcyBC •°°• said...

How very sad for little Annie..the waiting, and the disappointment is breaking my heart!

Anne Lyken-Garner said...

Thanks, Icy. Yes, there were so many of those when I was little. Wait and hope, but nothing ever happened.

Loree said...

I can feel the disappointment. It is so sad. I hope things got better.

Anne Lyken-Garner said...

Thanks for the comment, Loree. Things didn't get better at all - at least not in that decade. In fact, they got worse, but thank God, I'm fine now.

Middle Ditch said...

Such a sad story Anne. We just don't realize what a sheltered childhood we have had.

How are things going with your book? Surely the publisher must love the stories as much as we do? They are so well written. I could not do it.

Anne Lyken-Garner said...

Hi, Monique. A publisher is reading it at the moment. I'm trying not to put too much positive thought into it, because I don't want to feel too let down if they say no.

Leigh Russell said...

How sad, Annie. This is very moving. And how are you? Haven't heard from you for a while, but I've been busy off the blog with edits etc.

I thought your last post was interesting. If I'd known how much work writing a book would involve, I'd have thought twice before starting. Now I'm finished with the editing and nearly through the publishing, I've come up against another problem!

Due to a glitch in's system, I believe I’ve written the only crime thriller in the UK that doesn't appear on My publisher's many other titles are listed and my book can be ordered from all other uk online suppliers, as well as amazon sites around the world. refuse to acknowledge their technical error.

I'm an insignificant individual, powerless to influence this huge corporation, but their indifference has incensed me. I'm attempting to battle's virtual monopoly of the uk online book market by asking readers to order my inexpensive paperback through other online suppliers or from local booshops.

If you would be kind enough to consider supporting my campaign against a faceless corporation, please check out my blog for details.

In any case, I'd love to hear what you think of Cut Short. Keep in touch, blog buddy.


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