“We are sorry…”. The words from the bank man on the television set fell flat on the dining table where the single tin of sardines sat. Three glum faces sought to determine how to share in the wonders that lay beyond the tin, grateful for the heaps of steaming white rice laid out in three sizes. It had been like that for a while, living day to day. But today was payday. Usually on payday the smallest of the glum faces got an icicle from the refrigerator beside the cashier.
She couldn’t understand why her father shook his head when she approached the small blue box to slide it open to retrieve the icy delight as he placed the single tin of sardines on the conveyor. She couldn’t understand why her mother slunk away two cashiers down and hung her head while he dug for the last ten dollar coin to make up the two-hundred and sixty five dollars… because he forgot the tax. She couldn’t understand why they chose the spicy tin of sardines that would burn her mouth…and still they would not get her the sweet icy bar that was sure to help. What on earth was this about no seasoning? Across the vast supermarket floor sat thyme and onions and garlic galore. “Look Daddy, over deh-so!”
His head bowed more. The magnet of gravity pulled his soul through his forehead to the ground. He wished it would open up and swallow him. He took the little hand in his, cut his eye at the icicle, picked up his single tin of sardines without even the dignity of a scandal bag, checked it with security at the door and walked out of the supermarket, his woman a step behind. He looked back at her and mouthed, “sorry”.
And in walks Goldilocks on cue.
The National Commercial Bank is the nerve centre of the Jamaican economy. It is the nation’s banker. The failure of the nervous system of the national nervous system has left a silent calm, a numbed suspended disbelief that is more frightening than the ‘glitch’.
I suppose “I am sorry” is all that can be said and done.
In the meantime…listen to the silence…carefully.