Friday, August 7, 2015
The summer before I left
We posed for a photo before heading off for the day to San San Beach, near Blue Hole on the southeastern shore of Jamaica. We were assorted siblings and cousins and neighbors and school friends of my brother and me, then 19 and 18 respectively. That's me with the 'fro in the middle, and my brother sitting in front. His first wife-to-be, my dear friend and still my sister Hilary, is on my left in the picture, arm linked in mine. She lived four houses away down the street. In the white tank top on my right is my cousin Nicky, who will arrive from Trinidad for a visit next week (Amazon packages in her name are already piling up in our hallway in anticipation). Another pair in this photo would later marry, and then divorce, but back in the summer of 1975, just weeks before I left home to attend college in New York City, and never returned, we gathered in the driveway of our house at 37 Paddington Terrace, not a care in the wind.
My darling Hilary just emailed me this photo because it brought back memories. "Don't we just look confident, ready for the world, and full of mischief?" she wrote from where she now lives in Germany. After she and my brother divorced, she married the love of her life, a German scientist she met at a nuclear engineering conference. That mischievous little person in the picture is a nuclear biochemist herself, a braniac, who is also a wonderful artist. And dancer. Today, in a small town in Germany she teaches dance and crafts to local women and schoolchildren and solves a few equations on the side. I'm being just a bit facetious. What I mean to say is who knew where life would take us? Who know I would leave Jamaica and never again live there, and that she would marry my brother, divorce him and then find her true love in the form of a German physicist? She and my brother are still the best of friends. She is even the godmother of his firstborn. We all grew up together after all, and in the most charmed of places, on that magical street.