Turtle, Under Cover

“Yes. Yes. She die. Long time now.”

Lincoln’s hand reaches for my thigh again and gives it a comforting squeeze.

“What happened?” I have to ask. 

The man shakes his head. “Some cancer. Some woman kind of cancer. Took her quick.”

“I am remembering now,” Hyacinth takes a sip of the cola that Zella has just delivered to her. “She die same thing as Eveline up at the Salina Restaurant. Yes, cancer took them both. Same year, too.”

Zella is wiping down the bar counter. “For long time here, we had many women dying of cancer. All kinds. Breast cancer. Uterine cancer. What’s that other one? Cervical? But not so many deaths now. Over on the big island, there’s a new hospital. You should see it. Lots of doctors and nurses and equipment. Yes, women go there now for check-ups. When somebody sick, they don’t send them off to Jamaica or Puerto Rico or Bahamas like they used to.”   

“Still, not everybody trust doctor.” Hyacinth takes a long swallow of cola and sets the can down beside her. “Even if back then we had big hospital, those women, maybe they wouldn’t go.”

“True, that.” The man has finished his ribs and rice and is looking in his wallet for some money to pay Zella. “I don’t trust no doctors. ‘Specially those ones from England.”

Lincoln asks the man who he seems to remember, but who doesn’t look familiar to me, “Where is Truly buried?”

“Methodist Church graveyard, behind the salina.” 

Outside in our rental car, Lincoln turns to me. “I’m sorry. I know you were looking forward to seeing her.”

I shrug. Actually, I expected her to have moved somewhere, perhaps to the big tourist island like everyone else.