This Girl is Crazy, an essay by Monika Brewster at
Ralph Nas

This girl is crazy (Essa Mina E Louca)

This Girl is Crazy

(Essa Mina É Louca)

written by: Monika Brewster


“Essa Mina É Louca” (This girl is crazy). Sandra’s voice comes from the kitchen. She sings at the top of her voice.
Swinging a kitchen towel, she greets us. ‘Welcome to Christmas Lunch.’
A colourful scarf tied into a butterfly bow catches Sandra’s sumptuous hair. Wearing a halter neck top, she reveals a brown tummy. Her nose crinkles when she smiles. Her green eyes reflect the candles burning on every surface of the dining room.
My son hugs her to him. Sleet hits the window. I shoot him an angry look. He knows I am mad with him for transplanting this beautiful flower to our harsh UK climes.
Sandra is refreshingly sure of herself. Her skin colour is her pride. I rub my cheeks. To her, I must look insipid with my winter-white, dull skin.
With all the talk about racism, she answers my question with a melodic laugh. ‘Encountered racism. What do you mean? Like people objecting to my origin? No, never. It’s usually a good conversation starter.’
I remember the day our son brought her home for the first day. We talked with our hands and feet. She soon learned. Her English is colourful and her laugh infectious.
Her hospitality is wonderful. Even in these early days, she couldn’t do enough for us. On the first day, she offered to make a cup of tea for us and it was the best cup of tea I ever had. The electric kettle, so I discovered, was used to warm the milk and water together and two tea bags floated in it. Why not?
Sandra loved to walk. ‘Back in Brazil, a child. We walked for hours, barefoot, to the market in the next village and we were not let off serving at the stall until we sold the last vegetable.’
On our first walk together, a coastal cliff walk of two hours, ten minutes into the walk she took her trainers off. ‘These shoes are biting me in the back,’ she declared and walked the stony path as if it were velvet.
Five years after their wedding in Ghana – my son working in mining – she gave birth to a son and heir. Working out in the sticks in Brazil, the journey from Rio Maria to the hospital was long and arduous. The baby, a hefty twelve pounds, was duly delivered only to grin at the staff and into the camera. Ben is now eleven years old, as happy as his mother, two flowers in the cold.
The family has grown: two lapdogs, black as soot. They are always embellished with colourful silk flowers on their collars.
When Sandra sings, they dance to the music’s rhythm.

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