My life continued as before, just existing until…
I received a telephone call, my cousin from Brixton said that they would be going to Jamaica the following year and asked me if I wanted to come.
I felt my heart leap.
Well you can just imagine my excitement at the thought I may see my family again she would get back to me to confirm but I knew if they were going I would too. By any means necessary.
It was agreed that we would be travelling the following February. It was September now, and I started saving for the holiday. I was going to see my father, I wanted to see my sister too, but the thought of my father filled me with excitement.
After a month of deciding, the date was booked for four weeks, and I waited eagerly ticking off the days on the calendar. However, I was informed I couldn’t travel that date due to work commitment, as well as not having enough leave remaining. Further even if I did, the date I could travel would mean that I would be in a Jamaica alone. My cousins would have already arrived back in the UK.
I was naturally quite upset.
I decided I would leave my Job, as nothing was going to stop me seeing my father when I wanted to see him, and I certainly wasn’t waiting another month. Especially now that the excitement had set in. Although this was a bit drastic, I couldn’t take the chance of him dying a second time without me seeing him. I decided to approach my manager to hand in my notice, but she already knew how excited I was at seeing my father, she hadn’t made the original decision but once I walked into her office, she said to me …
“I know what you are going to say”, and before you do.
“Yes you can go, but it has to be the week after” I remember smiling at her.
My manager then said to me, “Was I right?”
I nodded, and smiled. “How did she know, I wanted to leave my job?”
“Well I could wait another week” I thought, after all I had been waiting over twenty years to see my father again. The plan was to stay with my aunt, (the only one I knew) who knew the country well, she also felt it wasnt safe for foreigners, as we were called, in those parts of Jamaica. D decided to come with me as he wanted to meet his family too that he had left in Jamaica. He had a brother and two sisters in Jamaica. He often spoke of his love for Jamaica on our good days.
So we decide he was coming to Jamaica with me.. This was one time I didn’t mind D coming with me. Two reasons sprang to mind. One, was because D looked menacing and maybe I felt I would be safe from those in Jamaica who would assume he would protect me. The second reason was he would be in my territory. I had brothers in Jamaica so he would never be able to hit me.
I smiled sweetly..
My best friend agreed to take the children, that was a blessing as there was noone else to do that for me.
Christmas came and went and with that I knew there would only be eight weeks to go. That would be the longest eight weeks ever. I was unable to sleep, and my anxiety had returned, I was very eager to say the least. My sister was aware that I was coming and we would talk about her children and how they were excited that I was coming. She had a boy and a girl. The boy being the eldest. They were the ages of my first two children so my children had cousins. More excitement.
A month to go….
My suitcase packed and ready, I purchased clothes for my father, I video taped the children each singing. and old favourite but the words were changed to Grandpa.
Then each of them said a little message to my father, I really wanted him to meet them but it was far too expensive.
One more week…
After much anxiety the day arrived, my cousin was already there in Jamaica , she had already informed me where she would meet me , I just had to tell her what I was wearing. . For me the only thing I could think of was my father, would he recognize me? would he be disappointed? would he still love me the same?. What about my brothers would they care about me?. My beautiful sister, I couldn’t wait I was overly excited I couldn’t contain myself.
I rechecked my passport and decided to hide it from D. I don’t even know why but I knew how spiteful D could be. I don’t think he would have tampered with my passport but as said before I had trust issues.
Two hours before take off.
We took a minicab to the airport an hour away, and as we sped through the motorway and the countryside it felt as if I was about to pass out, I felt lightheaded and placed my head against the window. My head felt heavy and I felt sick, not sure if it was from the car journey, but you know as much as I do that wasnt the reason.
I was not afraid of flying but I was excited as we handed in the boarding pass and headed to our seats. I took the window seat and D took the outside seat. He was happy too as he was going to be meeting his family too. It appeared for the first time he was back to the old D that I knew when I met him as a teenager. We chatted on the plane like we were old friends.
It was a long nine hours flight on British airways, the air hostesses were pleasant. In fairness everything and everyone seem nice, I was riding on fluffy strawberry clouds, after all I was heading to my father. As I looked around the aeroplane. I noticed people were sleeping , I was offered a blanket to sleep. However, sleep and I were not friends that day. It would be the first time I had been on an aeroplane since leaving Jamaica, and I was determined not to miss a single moment. I remember looking back to my life since arriving and now I was going back as an child in an adult body.
After nine hours ….We arrived in Jamaica in the afternoon at Kingston Airport. It took a while to pass through customs, over an hour and I was tired. Whilst in custom though two thing struck me, one was the extreme heat, and two. The amount of black people, it felt very strange as I was use to living in a mixed cultural country, nevertheless, At that point I felt totally at home.
That was until I passed through arrivals, and noted that I was now a foreigner, Jamaica was not my home after all, I was a mere visitor to a country where my father resides.
We dragged our suitcases out into the sunshine, but naive me was thinking I will see my father the same night I arrived. I had no clue where I was heading.
We had to take a Minicab from Kingston to St Thomas, that was another two hours drive. As the hours tick by I started worrying that I would he would die before I get there. I heard my father was now 89 years old. As we again sped through the country side, I was tired but still excited then I noticed the white cliffs I spoke about in previous posts, the ones I saw as we sped to England as a child. It was my marking point that my father was near.
I smiled to myself.
I was was going to see my father…..