As I walked out the area, my father went to the window to watch me leave, the lump still in my throat, I walked slowly out the door looking back every few seconds. I wasn’t ready to leave, but we hadn’t eaten, and my stomach was feeling the difference. Overall we spent most of the day, it was coming up to 4pm, and Sam indicated it was time to leave, due to the area getting dark quickly. Firstly, cousin Sam went and cut down some jelly coconut in the nearby coconut tree, and that helped before we set off back to my aunts house.
I loved the taste of the coconut water, as it went down my throat and was fascinated at how one could drink water from a tree. I must say for the whole time in Jamaica, jelly coconut was a permanent fixture in my diet.
We continued walking out towards the main road, with me waving continiously to my smiling father until he was far into the distance, I’m not sure if he could see me clearly at a distance but I waved anyway. As I turned and looked back one more time, I saw his back turned to go back inside, my eyes filled with tears, although I was unsure if it was tears of joy or sadness or both.
I couldn’t help but notice how dark it had suddenly become, just as Sam predicted and it was difficult to see the houses in front of us as night was coming. As we journeyed on towards where we came, I kept looking back at my fathers house getting smaller fading into the night until darkness completely engulfed the building. The light on Sams bike lighten up the path.
We reached the main road. The sound of reggae music filled the air as well as the bright light from the sound system. Ironically, I felt safe with the two men by my side. We continued talking about jamaica and the surrounding area. It was amazing how clear my memory was becoming as I remembered taking the same path to school daily with my father and big sister. I wondered to myself when I would see her but in a selfish kind of way although I desperately wanted to see her a part of me didn’t want to share. After all she had him all her life. I thought I would put off seeing her for another few days. That way I could spend some quality time with MY father. All my life I had thought it was just me and him alone.
It is funny how even as a grown up jealousy can rare its ugly head…
The conversation led to me talkng about. “The brother” . The one I knew I had left behind the one my father said was very fond of me.
“So do you know that brother”, I asked interrupting the conversation between the two men.
My cousin had said he knew who he was, but stated he worked in the mountains. That he was a hard worker but he would try to get news that I was looking for him. I wandered to myself if he really was the one running behind the vehicle in 1969. I could be wrong but I still wanted to know who the person was. I was keen to solve the puzzle. My cousin was surprised and he looked amused when he remembered the person I was telling him about. They weren’t particular friends as such, and it was clear the two men had history but was on speaking terms. He promised he would send news that someone was looking for him.
In Jamaica I felt almost complete as now I had a mother and a father four brothers and a sister. A long way from being an only child in United Kingdom. I still felt a sense of loneliness, but I felt totally connected to my father. It was as if I belong to him and he belong to me, the others were the loose ends.
That would soon change…
We arrived back at my aunts house, and I happily explained what happened when I saw my father. She was happy for me, and stated I was brave to go down to “Morass corner”. As the area was called. Brave to me was a strange word to use, after all that was my fathers home. I didn’t entertain the conversation but quickly changed subject.
After a few days getting use to the area, I went with my aunt to the local shop.
“Can I have a tin of corn beef please,? I asked the shopkeeper. Everyone laughed and some who heard the conversation started mocking me. They constantly repeated the sentence, at first I smiled, but then it irritated me, they were mocking my British accent. It took me back to times in church when the children would laugh at me. My aunt must have noticed my discomfort when she repeated the question for me. The laughing stopped.
Memories always remain…
Well I had no airs or grace about me, and I wanted everyone to know I was proud of my father, I wanted them to know that the English girl went to Morass Corner. At the time the villagers held foreigners in the highest esteem, it was as if when they walked diamonds fell off their shoes. It took me a while to understand that for them the streets of a England would be paved with gold, well, if the Jamaicans saw Gold. I was going to use my new found fame to attract others to the area and get the help my father needed. After all where an English trod a Jamaican was sure to follow.
Yes I would pay someone to look after my father. But first I needed to balance the dollar with the pound, I would give them the minimum wage. I would make it attractive that they would care for my father. But first I needed someone I could trust.
We arrived back to my aunts house after she had introduced me to all her friends.
Having thought of all ways I could help my father.
I started calculating in my mind…
I worked out at the time the rate of the dollar for every pound. One could get $100 dollars. The minimum wage at the time was $150. I decided I would give the person I found $500 dollars a week to care for my father. That would be around £5 a week. Although I felt this was good, I was also concerned it would cause a slight problem as the Jamaicans would think I was rich, far from it, nevertheless I knew I would find a way.
I was brought back to my thoughts with the sound of my uncle shouting at one of his dogs, that had entered the house, and I smiled to myself as my mind went back to my plans to help my father.
Dinner was already prepared by my Aunt, and I had a little something to eat, because I had lost my appetite. Sam who was already at the home talking to D, but was getting ready to leave. I asked for one more jelly coconut that night to Sams amusement; I was becoming fixated on the fruit I thought once I had dranked the last drop. I left D talking and went and turned on the cold water and stepped inside the shower, but this time as the cold water fell onto my body instead of being aware of the cold, it helped to refresh my mind and clear the clutter as the heat of the country made my body adapt to the cold water.
D was still relaxed in his hometown, and that suited me well.
I could hear D telling my uncle that he was looking forward to seeing his family, but I was hoping he didn’t want me to come, after all what if they were like his family I left in the UK…further, secretly I didn’t want to go I selfishly wanted to stay in the area with my father.
I left D talking to my uncle and went to bed, that night D left me alone.
The sound of the cock crowing woke me up. “Cookadoodo loo” I just lay there smiling to myself, I was in Jamaica.
D was already awake and was out with my uncle, the heat in Jamaica was unbearable and yet it was early morning. So I decided to have a shower again, I was starting to enjoy the cold shower.
After spending five days in Jamaica, D was becoming understandable irritable that he hadn’t seen his own family who lived at the other end of the island, so I reluctantly agreed that we would go and see them the following day.
But that evening as we sat on the veranda and in a typical movie style, I heard a loud sound of a motorbike exhaust, I saw the smoke from the exhaust, I saw the motorbike drive and circle around and stop at my Aunts house.
“Crazy people” , I thought.
At that point as I got up to walk back inside I heard what sounded like my name.
“Is Honey there” the voice said.