It’s raining in Tokyo, which forces one to reminisce:
Many years ago, I met J at my friend Tan‘s house. I was visiting Jamaica from NY for two weeks, and a group of us decided to drive to Hellshire for some fried fish and festival. (A priority when visiting Jamaica should be to get a plate of steamed fish at Gloria’s, Prendys or Auntie May’s at Hellshire). When J stepped out of his car, I started to get little palpitations. Everywhere. The man was hot. He had flowing dreadlocks, golden-brown skin, toned legs, and full lips. My thoughts were all sorts of lustful and sure-fire sinful. The group of us spent a great day at the beach: eating steamed Parrot fish and fried Snapper, drinking Red Stripes, wading in eighty-degree water, playing football (well, observing the guys play football), and swimming. We were basking and baking in the sun.
J and I met up a few times over the course of trip, but as we all know, all good things (and vacations) come to an end, and it was soon time to return to dreary NY. I called J quite a bit from NY and we’d talk for hours, but it was clear that we had different agendas. In the back and middle of my mind, I knew that I wanted to move back to Jamaica at some point. I wasn’t sure when (and it didn’t happen for several more years), but I wanted us to keep our communication open, and thought that a long-distance thing would be viable. The thing is I was calling… and writing…. with a good response from J when I got him on the phone, but little reciprocation on his part.
When I moved back to Jamaica five years later, it filled me with excitement about the possibilities that were in store. I knew that J and I “could do a thing.” We had kept in touch from Kingston to New York to São Paulo, and finally were on the same ground. My first balmy night in Kingston, four of us went to Quad nightclub in New Kingston, where I swear to you, J proceeded to ignore me for four hours. He was on a different floor with his best friend who was visiting from Florida.
It was okay. The music was great, a nice seventies and eighties blend (my favorite), and the crowd was live. Pretty soon, I noticed this tall, blonde guy looking at me and making his way over. He introduced himself by asking where I thought he was from. I thought, “Tall, blonde, stilted accent, looks like he’s outdoors a lot, must be from Minnesota.” When I guessed Minnesota, he laughed and said Denmark. Now friends, I couldn’t recall one thing about Denmark except that it was close to Sweden. That was it. I’d never been there, I had no plans to go there, and in all my years I’d never met anyone from there. “Vikings, oh yes.”
J ignoring me that night in Quad led to an altered life. N, on a student internship from Denmark, changed me in a way that no one has since… and I’m thinking, a change can only happen once. (It’s like adding something to water… it’s still water, but it can never be pure again). Our affair was very brief, but it ripped me apart. It didn’t make sense how heartbroken I was after dating for such a brief period. Just the other day, I told my housemate that I’ve never been “in love,” but the one time I thought that I was, it was with N. I’m still not sure how I felt about him, because when reading my journals from that time, it seems that I cared about him much more after we stopped seeing each other… more accurately, after he stopped seeing me.
How did he change me? I started writing poetry everyday to get a handle on my sadness (enough poetry to later get me accepted into an MFA program); I started to understand and enjoy sex; after we stopped talking, I started to notice blonde men and thought maybe I could meet someone like him; I visited Denmark with those thoughts in mind; after we stopped talking, I started eating meat again (after an eight-year hiatus)– I figured, “Why the hell not, life is short”); I realized that I could feel something deeply… I never had before.
Yesterday, I received the most random emails– one from J, one from N. J has never stopped being my friend, but he rarely emails. The email from N was strange because we haven’t spoken in seven and a half years. Not a word.
J read my blog post about my crush and had this to say:
So thought u were braver than me, but ur wussing out. Tell the damn boy how u feel. Ur a rass hypocrite. Yuh tell everybody fi spill their bean and you a clam up. I mus do as you say but you not doing it.
His note to me is every reason we’re friends; it’s honest, tactless and one hundred percent true. I have wussed out and plan to continue to do so; I don’t think a confession will end in good results.
Still in Kingston?
I couldn’t be further from Kingston, though so many invisible threads keep me connected. It’s weird though, if I were in Kingston, would he and I meet somewhere for coffee? What would we possibly say to each other after all these years? Could I be genuinely happy for him– his wife, his child, his life? I don’t know. It’s weird when your past comes into your present.