Farewell, Chantimelle

by Camille U. Adams

Once upon a time in the small Caribbean isle of Grenada, there lived a young woman named Smiley. Unto her was born a daughter. When little Samantha was two years old, Smiley declare she no longer wish to be a mother. She want to go.
This young woman, this Smiley, then dressed in a flouncy skirt and blouse, pack up the toddler, and drop her in the woodhouse gallery of the babe’s aunt called Ms. Pamela. Hence began the blueprint design this Smiley used to abandon her each and every child. Every single daughter.
Bye bye. Mummy will see you soon, I promise — for Smiley is good at conducting her exits like this — is what little Samantha was told. Unbeknownst, the wailing baby girl would not see her mother again till Smiley visited for a week when Samantha turned fifteen years old.
Was she kidnapped by a troll? This Smiley who left her baby? Was she kept captive by a monster? Trapped in a high tower? Unable to return to her family? Was there an evil spell cast over the house in which she came to dwell? One strong enough to keep a mother from returning to her daughter after she set sail across the high seas? This mother looking for a whole new life and the ability to do as she pleased because she didn’t want to be tied to a baby she birthed?
Does your mind reach for one of these explanations because you need such to justify how a woman could her own baby desert?

Camille U. Adams is a memoirist and poet from Trinidad and Tobago. She earned her MFA from CUNY and is a current Ph.D. Candidate in Creative Nonfiction at FSU where she has been awarded a McKnight Doctoral Fellowship. Camille has been accepted to attend Tin House’s Summer Workshop and has also received scholarships for attendance at writing conferences from Community of Writers, Roots Wounds Words, Kweli Literary Festival, Grubstreet, VONA,  etc. Her writing has been long-listed in the Graywolf Creative Nonfiction Prize 2022 and selected as a finalist for The 2021 Orison Anthology Award in Nonfiction. Camille’s writing is featured/forthcoming in Passages North, Citron Review, XRAY Literary Magazine, Wasafiri, and elsewhere. She is a memoir reader at Split Lip Magazine and is currently at work on an upcoming memoir. Camille also wants a fat, little puppy. 

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