Monday, September 21, 2009

Peter Broderick - Home

We left Arouca and crossed paths with the wedding reception hall during our left hand turn towards the white cement wall that surrounded all of the cemeteries in Trinidad.  We followed a map my Father had sketched out drawn from his 20 year old memory and squeezed beside a burial ceremony that shared the entrance way with the cars.  We asked the cemetery keeper if he knew the Kassie plot and surprisingly he connected the name with Curepe, where my father and my grandfather lived.  Even though those details came to him quickly he had to call over the second cemetery keeper that was sitting on the porch with a his feet up and hands behind his head.  He didn't budge and told us to get out of the car and come over to him - then we'd talk.  

The Presbyterian and Muslim sections were nearly touching eachother and made it difficult to locate my family's plot.  After a while, we decided to call the map maker and within a couple of minutes my father was speaking with the cemetery keeper reacting to the blueprints that my father stored in his head.  "Yes, the water stand is still there", he said and walked down the road while relaying his steps to Canada until he stopped where the map ended and and where we found the once-white weather beaten monument and the grass forced yellow and brown from the strength of the dry season.  This was this trip's first connection to family in Trinidad and I took photos to show my parents the cemetery, the northern range and the train overpass who's rails have been removed over twenty years later.

After my return, I told these stories to my parents at our family home in Niagara.  I took trail towards the lake which has grown to take back the earth we all wore down into mud.  There with the rocks breathing for me, I recalled my mother showing me a scrapbook that was to be filled with Kushal's big moments until the age of 7.  Photos of him in a bucket bath in the backyard and other poses where he was crying over those three months were tacked on the section intended for his first birthday and his favorite books.  He layed in the casket and he peeked through his one eye like he was sleeping but checking to see who was around.  It was the first time I saw a photo of the mangled yellow car.  

After so many years, I'm beginning to understand my father and trying to absorb the new and strong narrations coming my way from my mother.  We had watched one of my favorite documentaries last Christmas day where a son was trying to find his father and ended up finding his lost brother.  The immense responsibility that accompanies a family was hung up in the climax of their meeting in a distant land of the Middle East.  I know I set out to Tunapuna to find my lost brother but instead found my father of that time.  Decades pass, families shift and now I try to listen through the static and grainy photos to my father telling my mother on the phone that he would be late because he had to visit the cemetery -  where he'd share a few drinks with friends among his buried family.

1 comment:

  1. Great story, crazy journey... it's almost as if you traveled twice as many miles in your heart as you did by air.
    I remember us listening to this while building that... tray on wheels? Whatever it was, Home sounded awesome.