Part 3: Old Bibi
Early the next morning, Granny Milner took Ruby to the market in town. They stopped at the stall of Old Bibi, one of the fisherwomen who always sold her fresh catch of the day. The two older ladies chatted in rapid, animated Pidgin.
While listening to Granny Milner for a few minutes, Old Bibi took Ruby’s right hand and scrutinized the lines. Then Old Bibi picked a bracelet from a small pouch kept around her neck. She took Ruby’s left hand and wrapped the string of red and white beads around her wrist. “Take this. Consider it a gift from Mamawata. She will keep you safe.”
Ruby turned her new bracelet over and over. A few beads bore painted black squiggles. Later Granny Milner explained that they were snakes, an ancient and less glamorous representation of the water goddess. “While you are in Guyana, you wear that bracelet always.” She made Ruby promise that she would not take it off, not during washing dishes, not even during bath time, not next week, not next year — in fact, not ever, no matter where she was. Ruby sensed her urgency, and she promised.
True to her word, Ruby did not take the bracelet off for anything and continued to wear it even after her summer in Guyana ended. The next summer and each after that, she still wore her bracelet. Every time Granny Milner took Ruby to town, they always stopped at the stall of Old Bibi the fisherwoman. Old Bibi checked always checked first thing to see that the young girl still wore her bracelet. Every time they left, she always reminded Ruby, “Don’t take that bracelet off. Never.”
Ruby graduated from high school and began the next chapter in life as a working college student and lost the luxury of childhood freedom from bills and obligations. Summers in Guyana were put on hold. Ruby graduated college. Work began in earnest when she joined the Starmind Foundation as a hydro engineer. They supported the Envirohome Initiative and were reshaping energy consumption and production, starting in small, manageable towns. She left behind her sleepy suburb in Texas. Ruby began a new life in Sandra Bay, Florida.
Part 4: Som Pedersen ….. Part 5: Medusa ….. Part 6: Chief Harrison ….. Part 7: MacNamara, Hound of the Sea ….. Part 8: The Treachery of Glenmore Williams ….. Part 9: A Very Blue Fell King ….. Part 10: