I am on the island of Santiago, in the Cape Verdean archipelago.
I got here a few weeks ago. It wasn’t actually something I planned- a number of external influences saw me on a plane here from Sal, a neighboring island.
It has been an alright experience so far though. I’ve been taking my time to check Santiago out- see what the place is like. It’s pretty interesting. Not as multicultural as Sal because the economy here is not as reliant on tourism, but that also means Santiago is relatively free from the infuriating and frustrating economic hegemony that exists on the other island:
White people generally have more money on Sal because Euro and Europe, and so a lot of the darker skinned people there have learnt to perceive themselves as being worth less than their white counterparts. Europeans own most of the major hotels and restaurants, and Cape Verdean natives / black people in general work at these places- as bartenders and cleaners and some as sex workers. That’s just what it is.
I’m black, and so there are extremely annoying instances when I walk into a restaurant, and the Cape Verdean receptionist is like:
“Sorry we do not have any work available”.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“You do not have any what?”
That constantly got me annoyed on Sal. On Santiago so far, not at all. Not at all.
Living conditions are currently pretty alright. I’m occupying an entire floor of a multi-storey building in a pretty interesting district.
I think it’s an affluent district in Praia, the island’s capital. I was talking with this woman at Capela de Trindade. Her teenage son invited me in to show him how to get some stuff done on his new computer. He had a pretty interesting setup, interesting room.
I was in a conversation with his mother at some point. From the information I had gathered from a neighbour, plus my own deductions- she lived in this house with her son, and their upkeep plus building costs were taken care of both by her salary as a teacher in a neighboring school, as well as by her string of boyfriends.
She’s asking me some questions and grinning very suspiciously. I’m responding to her questions.
I think she’s sizing me up as a potential boyfriend. We keep talking. At some point she asks where I stay. I tell her. She gives a satisfied smile, like:
“Ah okay, that’s an affluent district. He has money. He’ll do.”
I haven’t been back at Capela de Trindade yet. That guy’s mother seemed like she was looking forward to another visit. I’m not quite sure what I think of the whole thing, I’ve been preoccupied with another concern:
The current living space is pretty cool. There’s a room, bathroom and kitchen amenities, the entire space of the whole storey, and an alright view which so far has proved significantly amenable to some interesting thoughts.
Recently I’ve been imagining what life would be like if I lived in a large house with multiple wives and a plethora of children running about. Just wondering. I don’t know why those thoughts have been coming into my head recently. I don’t know.
In addition I’ve been making songs. Sad, indignant songs about wrenching heartbreak. That has been interesting. I really need to upgrade my music production skills though, they’ve been pretty stagnant for a while now.
I am in front of a factory in Praia. I heard there’s a short term financial opportunity here.
I am currently engineering the transportation of a few thousand dollars to be unlocked from a now-rescinded financial agreement in San Francisco, but in the meantime I am without tangible funds. That has been frustrating.
So I am in front of this factory, along with a number of Cape Verdean natives.
A number of guys were staring at me as I arrived. They were staring at the Converse shoes that were recently given to me as a gift by someone on Sal. Maybe Converse All Stars are not very common here. Maybe. Probably.
The guys are chatting excitedly. One of them takes off his face cap, and to my surprise he ages about ten years instantly because of his balding head. With the cap on I would have placed him in the late twenties. With the cap off, late thirties. Possibly even forties.
Wow. This balding thing.
Another of the guys catches my attention. He has long dreadlocks. Medium height. Dark skin.
Long dreadlocks. Medium height. Dark skin.
Long dreadlocks. Medium height. Dark skin.
Why does all this feel familiar?
I recall the words of a young boy to me on Sal, in the agonizing days after my beachfront apartment was burgled.
“He has long dreadlocks. Medium height. Dark skin. His name is Kelton. He burgled your apartment, sold your valuables and immediately fled via boat to Santiago.”
I think the guy a few feet from me is Kelton. I think this was the guy who burgled my apartment.
Our eyes meet.
I recently had a haircut, and so I look different.
Does he recognize me?
Immediately he becomes anxious. He begins to fret perceptibly.
Okay this is definitely Kelton. This is the repugnant being who burgled my apartment and caused me so much pain. This is the abhorrent miscreant. This is the severely detestable motherfu—
Something is happening. I think there is something happening at the factory gate.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, Kelton disappears.