by Scroobius Pip

Now here’s a little story id like to tell

About two young lovers you know so well

by Scroobius Pip

It wasn’t Romeo and Juliet or Casanova

The one was called Jack and the other Rosa

Rosa first encountered this new boy next door

When she moved house at the age of four

She was keen to make a friend in this new habitat

So she would play out in the streets and see who would react

Now in this particular neighbourhood, in this particular borough

Rosa’s family were the only ones of different colour

This could be awkward when she met new kids

Coz at that age all know is the street where you live

But Rosa had been taught skin colour shouldn’t effect

Who you choose to give your friendship and to give respect

Jacks Dad had passed away so he just lived with his mother

And Rosa seemed nice so they hung out with each other

They would meet at Mr Bronka’s video shop every day

Whiling away the hours with all the different games that kids play

They’d play Commando, Run-outs, Rounders and Icky Sticky Glue

Pogs, Micro Machines and Ring Raiders to.

They’d watch Mask, Visionaries, Centurions and He-Man

Thundercats, Penny Crayon and the Get-A-Long Gang

They lived every single day in their own little world

Until Rosa was 10 and Jack was 12

From when he first started school Jack had always excelled

And due to this he was to be propelled

Into a private boarding school where his mind could flourish

The kind of school where creative minds like Jack’s would be encouraged

So on Jack went towards a glistening career

Whilst Rosa was left on her own back here

Jack would visit Rosa at the end of each term

And share with her all of the new things he had learnt

Everytime Jack would visit it felt like nothing had changed

But in reality Rosa’s life was no longer the same

Jack didn’t see this because Rosa kept it from her friend

Because each visit made her feel like they were kids again

There still weren’t many others kids with Rosa’s skin

With Jack by her side she’d always felt she fit in

But, without Jack, Rosa felt isolated and detached

So if someone showed her attention she would show it right back

To feel loved Rosa was loose with her affections

Many a boy would grace her bed, with the occasional infection

A kind word was all guys needed as a prerequisite

To get the right to tide over Rosa till Jacks next visit

Jacks life, now at Uni, couldn’t be more different

Of the perils of distraction he was always vigilant

Three girls came close, as did one boy

But Jack was focused on uni so they had no joy

Jack would often think of Rosa in that special way

But he just figured, with the distance, it wouldn’t help to say

So he continued with his work until one rainy day

Like a bolt out of the blue a phone call came

Jacks mother had grown ill and she needed him there

So he was on the first train to administer care

On the journey home mortality was on Jack’s mind

And the rarity of cases of true love that you find

This unfortunate event had made him think things over

And it made him face the feelings that he had for Rosa

He sent a text that said “Hi Rosa, its Jack

I’m coming home and need to talk to you when I get back

I’ll be around for a while as my mothers grown ill

And I need to talk about us and the way that I feel.”

Rosa didn’t know how to feel about Jack’s return

She missed him loads but what about the things he would learn?

When Jack heard about her long list of guys

Would he still look at Rosa through those same old eyes

Rosa decided it was best that it came from her

Instead of him hearing all the rumours, nicknames and the slurs

Rosa text “Meet me at Bronka’s on your way to your mums place

Then we can walk home together at a leisurely pace.”

When he saw Rosa, Jack couldn’t hide the smile from his face

But Rosa feared that warm smile was soon to become misplaced

Jack said: “Rosa I need to tell you how I feel about you

Rosa said: “Jack that’s fine, but before you do

I need to bring you up to speed on 1 or 2 stories

That I don’t want you to hear from someone else before me.”

Rosa proceeded to unravel tales of her previous conquest

She left nothing out electing to be painfully honest

Jacks reaction? Well that was one of sheer stunned silence

But Rosa figured that was better than tears or violence

Jack said: “Rosa I came to say I want to spend my life with you

But maybe you aren’t the Rosa that I thought I knew…”

“Stop right there Jack” Rosa interrupted

“I’m still the same girl that you’ve fallen in love with

The same girl that was your best friend when we were growing up

And the same girl that regrets every single guy that i…..

I was lonely and confused but now that you are here

Everything I want from life has never been so clear”

Rosa stepped forward and tentatively kissed Jack

And to kiss her back was the only way for Jack to react

And with that they agreed to make a lifelong pact

To set their sites towards the future and never look back

Jack left then and went to his mothers bedside

In the same house and street in which he used to reside

When he saw his mum he realised just how much he had missed her

And he hoped the news he had, of him & Rosa, might lift her

He said “Mum I’ve got some news that will make you feel better

Rosa and I, after all these years, have got together

We are going to get married and we are going to have kids

We are going to start a life together and get some where to live

Jacks mother placed a hand on each side of his head

She looked her son in the eyes and softly she said

“Rosa is a lovely girl and she’s been a great friend

But all this silly talk of starting a family must end

Now I know its old fashioned but it must be known

Throughout this families great history we’ve always stuck to our own

Its not “racism”, its simply pride in our heritage

Where you come from is more important than where you currently live.”

With that her head dropped, her eyes started to close

Jack held his mothers hand as a tear ran down his nose

But her last words really served to rip Jack in two

She said “Jack, I want my grandchildren to be black like you.”

Well that line right there put Jacks head into a spiral

He loved Rosa but surely his mothers dieing wish was final?

He understood his mother’s genuine Jamaican pride

But issues of the heart were surely his to decide?

Deep down he knew his aunts and uncles would feel the same

As his mother did and that just left him reeling with pain

He walked out of the house right there and then

And never saw another member of his family again.

David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the founder and editor of Beatdom literary journal and the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs the Weird Cult and World Citizen: Allen Ginsberg as Traveller. His next book, High White Notes: The Rise and Fall of Gonzo Journalism comes out in November, 2021.

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