We have had a shower in Kingston, and the air is cool and light. It is the Easter holiday, and since yesterday we have been resting in a cocoon of sleepy silence. The Carnival activities tomorrow are likely to intervene (yes, we have Carnival on Easter Sunday, just to be different). But meanwhile, our dog stands in the middle of the front yard, hoping for a passing pedestrian or a noisy neighbor to bark at. But there are none. And I can hear the birds.
In this quiet and dreamy mood, I am letting some memories run through my head. I remember one Easter in Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth, perhaps some twenty years ago. We often took our son out of town, and spent several weekends on the south coast. We stayed in a large, not luxurious house on the sea, half way between Great Bay and the now popular site of the Calabash International Literary Festival. The house was sold after the owner died. Treasure Beach was not as busy as it is now. There was no Jake’s, and no Calabash, and we used to spend hours floating on the warm, dark waters of Great Bay, where there was one small shop. A woman with light grey eyes used to give our son sweeties. On returning after such a weekend, I wrote this very short reflection.
So, our son is the boy in this story. I don’t know who the sprinter is, or whether he made a success of it.
The boy with dry, curly hair and brown shins (marked with small boy’s scars), and wearing oversize trainers, is kicking ball with two young men.
One of the young men tells us he is training for the national team, a sprinter. He sets his starting block in the windblown, dark-rippled sand. The young man has gentle eyes. He is afraid of injuries. The boy is burnished, colorless.
The horizon stirs under a hot morning sun. Last night, in the moist darkness of the evening rain, we had seen lights on that same restless line. The lights were there and not there, flickering through the mist (fishermen, suspended out there in blackness). The young boy had suggested that maybe the lights were alien spaceships; or, he suggested, the evil Galactor, a cartoon character who was always ready to take over the universe, but who was never allowed to do so, and never would succeed.
On a golden Good Friday morning, a young woman with a clear face steps through her garden gate. A chubby baby boy is balanced on her arm, and she lifts a delicate parasol against the sun. Soon after, we see her in the tiny, shining white Salvation Army Church, where hymns and handclaps are beginning.
And later in the day, the boy is content to sit in the crooked arm of a lignum vitae tree, watching a John Crow’s shadow slide across the dusty grass. We eat some tomatoes, warm from the sprinter’s garden.