sixteen january, two-thousand-eighteen
“Sometimes I think that I feel too much. But how can I not, after all I’ve experienced, all the people I’ve met? Sometimes the memories, the tiny snippets in my head, the thoughts come crashing – hard – into me, like the waves against the cliffs of Fort Jeudy. That’s what has me undone tonight. Grenada. I know it was so painful and so draining, so far away, so hot, and some nights of such darkness I felt like I was suffocating. But the long days and tired feet and sticky clothes with sweat and tearful nights are no longer as vivid. It’s the wild curly hair. It’s the crystal clear salt water. It’s strangers touching the freckles on my skin. It’s the steaming shower before slipping into the cool sheets. It’s the mountains overflowing with greenery, with tiny houses peeking out. It’s the uncontrollable giggles of children. It’s grubby hands grabbing my own or running through my hair. It’s holding them close even though we are both sweaty. It’s singing at the top of our lungs on a hill in the middle of nowhere, holding a ‘crusade’ church service. It’s cautiously walking through the tunnel, hoping no buses come. It’s gelato that melts too fast. It’s walking along the Carenage watching the boats, and the fish beneath. It’s playing my guitar under the stars. It’s getting up early to read my Bible and devotional book on the porch in the sun. It’s the letters from home, and the charity from the locals. It’s eating snacks and squeezing pillows on my bed with Kemmy while watching a movie on my laptop. It’s solo beach days, and beach days with friends or the church. It’s the odd looks I got from Americans who came for one week or two, then left. It’s the crowded markets and overpriced spices and booth owners you can haggle with. It’s chicken-and-chips and a grapefruit Caribbean Cool from my favorite vendor at the terminal. It’s driving – SO much driving – around the island and thinking ‘I never want to leave.’ It’s singing an orphan to sleep, not knowing if I’ll ever see her again. It’s salami pockets and ‘bakes’ from the yummy bakery I could walk to from church. It’s knowing common bus stops, and where to get off. It’s the long driveway from the road to our apartment, passing mango and cashew trees. It’s a thousand little memory photos I’ll never be able to describe. But I’m afraid of forgetting. I left almost four years ago. I don’t want to lose the memories that changed me.
“It’s well after ten and my hand is cramping from trying to get the thoughts on paper as fast as they come to mind.”