White Stuff is one of my favorite short stories. I hope you enjoy reading it!
I step off the plane into the busy airport in the middle of some place called North Carolina. I've never been to this strange new country – America, so I'm excited and scared all at the same time. I left behind my beloved Guyana, our white house across from the field that I played in every day, my Granny and our maid Lorna. I didn't want to leave but things were not good back home and it was getting harder and harder for Mommy to keep her store going.
A wave of homesickness washes over me as I trudge after Mommy, my brother and my little sister, as we make our way to an area marked, Customs. A white man with bushy eyebrows scowls down at us from an enclosed booth. It is covered in some sort of clear glass like he's infected and has to be quarantined. Or maybe we’re the ones infected. Maybe he's behind the glass because he thinks we have some strange disease.
I scowl back at him as Mommy hands him our booklets that she calls passports. I get tired of waiting and staring at Bushy Eyebrows, so I sit down on my red backpack as my tummy rumbles. I'm hungry and so is my little sister, Sue. Sue starts sucking on her thumb like its candy. Slurp... slurp... slurp.
Finally, we're done with Bushy Eyebrows who says, "Welcome to America!"
Welcome? So far it hasn't been much of a welcome. Where's the steel band and snow cones? Where are the Carnival dancers and kites? That would have been a welcome.
"Mommy, I'm hungry," grumbles Sue as we walk pass the row of other clear booths. Glancing up, I see rows of other grumpy looking men and women behind their glass boxes. I have to remember to ask Mommy about them.
Why are there so many of them and why do they all look so grumpy?
My older brother shoves me along as I gaze around the busy airport. I have never been in such a place with so many people and so many different smells. We walk near a stand with an old lady behind it. She smiles at me and shows me her crooked teeth. I smile back as she offers me a cone of what smells like popcorn.
My brother leans over and whispers in my ear, “we’re not buying anything!” I glance up at him as he shakes his head and urges me on. He always knows everything, so I keep moving. We walk for what seems like forever and finally stop at a big glass door. Mommy bends over and opens one of the suitcases.
"We all have to put on these coats. It's cold and snowing outside," she says as she unzips the smallest suitcase. I've never seen or worn a coat before because in Guyana it's warm all the time, even in the rainy season. I usually wear a halter top, shorts and sandals every day when I'm not in my school uniform and sometimes I ride my red bike with no shoes on, but I wait until Mommy's not at home or Lorna our maid is busy and not watching me.
Sue says, "It's too heavy and I can't see anything," as Mommy pulls on her coat, zipping it up and raising a flap that covers most of her head. Her curls peek out like they don't like being trapped inside the pink flap. Then Mommy pulls out a purple one and motions me over but I'm too busy looking outside at white stuff falling from the sky onto the ground and onto the cars pulling up and away from the building.
What is that stuff?
I am completely mesmerized by it. It looks so pretty as it falls but then it hits the ground and almost disappears. So strange. I wonder if it would disappear in my hand if I tried to catch it, just like I try to catch fireflies at night in my backyard.
Then suddenly, the big glass door opens all by itself and we step outside. A cold blast of air hits me and the white stuff falls on my upturned face.
I wonder to myself... is it always like this in America?
By L.G. McFerren