Story inspired by Mighty Sparrow’s song Mr. Walker
“Good morning Mr. Walker. I come to see your daughter,” Peter announced as he stood in Joseph Walker’s front yard. Mr. Walker sat in his rocking chair on the porch of the only wall house in the community. The old man had his left arm propped on the armrest offering support to the huge pipe that drooped his bottom lip.
Mr. Walker stared at Peter. Peter shifted his weight from one leg to the other, waiting.
Peter was attired in his Sunday best: his long black pants bore only a minor indiscretion, a rip near the right pocket, and his button-down shirt qualified as his best only because the stains and snags were located where they could be easily concealed. His black boots shone after being anointed with coconut oil; his face had apparently been subjected to the same. He beamed in the mid- afternoon sun.
“What you want with Rosemarie today?”
“I just come to bring these mangoes.” Peter started to raise the bulging plastic bag he held in his left hand, but swiftly transferred it to the right hand remembering the stain hidden there. “Good Julie mangoes from down by the river, past Mr. Richard land. I climb the tree to get these mangoes, Mr. Walker. They didn’t drop on the ground. You know that big, big tree when you reach the corner of –“
“Leave the mangoes with me. I will give them to Rosemarie.”
Peter lowered the bag to his side again. Of course there was no way he could say no to the old man, but he had not gone through all this trouble to be turned away again. He’d brought yams two days before, okras the week before, some seasoning from his mother’s garden the time before that, but Mr. Walker had accepted all of those on Rosemarie’s behalf.
The whole community found Peter’s interest in Rosemarie preposterous. They referred to her as the girl who had been busy eating when God was bestowing beauty; they said that when she walked she rolled; they wondered aloud how Mr. Walker felt to be the richest man in the community, stuck with a 30 something year old daughter whom nobody wanted to marry.
“Mr. Walker, um…sweet Rosemarie, she promise she gone marry me. And now I tired waiting! I come to fix the wedding,”Peter blurted.
Laughter expelled the pipe from Mr. Walker’s mouth into his lap.