i can remember the first time I saw Imelda, it was a sunday afternoon, hot & sticky midway through August, when everyone, kids & adults are tired of the holidays, fed up with the lack of anything to do, al the girls feeling like the kids have been around our feet forever, just counting the days down to september.
Sundays here are tricky days, most of us get our money on Monday, so Sunday is scrounge day, twos up on a fag, rummaging in the fridge for something, anything to make into tea, praying that the meter doesnt run out of credit, cos that means no tv, no x-box and that doesn’t even bear considering, not with my 3.
so, I’m sitting with Alicia and Sarrah, shes’ Somalian, but she’s alright, just waiting to start battling the kids toward tea and bath time, when this car comes hurtling onto the estate and parks up next to no 28 . Its not the kind of car we normally see, so our heads come up, we’re interested.
I used to go out with this guy, proper petrol head, always going on about the car he wanted to own and i guess that some of it must have rubbed off on me, cos i knew exactly what this car was – Clio Sports, twin carburetor, tinted windscreen, alloy wheels, the works. like i said. really nice.
we all looked, partly cos there’s not much else to do and mostly cos you don’t see that kind of motor round here. Actually, we’re all proper gawping, having a right good nose when the engine cuts and the woman steps out.
she’s tall and she’s black – really really black – mostly when someone says somebody is black, they don’t really mean it. Like Haydon, my middle one, he’s black, but not really, he’s more the colour of milky coffee, the sort of coffee my nan used to make, But this woman is so black that her skin sort of shimmers and shines, you could almost imagine that you could see your reflection in her skin.
She clocks us watching her and she just turns her back and gets busy unloading her car, huge suitcases, a couple of boxes, even some house plants and then she dives into te back seat and drags out a sleeping toddler, swing him up to her shoulder and marches up to the front door.
We all watched her unlock the front door and then pause, cos shes’ suddenly realised that she needs to put the toddler down to move the boxes,but she’s got nowhere to put him and then there’s a cry from the car, the special mewing cry of a very new baby and she just stands there.
We all just watched her for a moment and then i slip my feet back into my flip-flops, stand up and head over to no 28 and thats how i met Imelda.