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“Jeanette…Jeanette, de bus comin’,” my aunt called with an unnecessary sense of urgency.
I had heard the music playing but ignored it on the basis that music was always playing and anyway, I was busy getting ready. Taking another quick look at myself in the mirror, I wondered whether it was wise to wear shorts, but it was too late now. Besides, the shorts were quite long and baggy and served to cover my ample backside—known as ’The Bubble’—pretty well.
Despite the music blaring from the speakers, the driver still felt the need to announce his presence by beeping the horn, which didn’t please Aunt Yvonne.
When I had called her to ask if I could come and stay, she made it seem like I was being ridiculous by even asking. She was happy to accommodate me on my whim.
In order to briefly escape from the rut that was my life, I’d decided to take a spontaneous holiday in my parents’ native Grenada, determined to have as much fun as possible before returning to my life of work, bills, cold weather, useless men and general malaise. A life that was just too damn boring for words.
Once I’d made the decision to go away, there was no question that I would opt for anywhere other than The Isle of Spice. I’d been several times before, though not for a few years, and just felt comfortable. It was like coming home. Sometimes I liked to imagine what my life would have been like if I was born here, if I emigrated even, but alas, it was merely a pipe dream. I have a mortgage to concern myself with now.
Grabbing my rucksack, I hurried out of the bedroom in time to hear my aunt complaining about the apparent impertinent gesture.
“Wha’ da damn man blowin’ for?”
I could only smile, knowing that as cantankerous as she seemed, she was a lovely woman. She had organised this day out for me. Usually when I’m in Grenada my time is spent either visiting family and friends or lying on the beach. But when I told her that I wanted to enjoy myself and blow off some steam, she told me about a man she knew who might be able to help in that regard.
He worked at one of the hotels in St. Georges and organised the excursions for ‘de rich people an’ dem’. Although I wasn’t staying at the hotel, he agreed to get the mini-bus to stop off and pick me up for a day of hiking in the mountains. Now I’m not the fittest person in the world, but even if I was, who in their right mind goes hiking in this heat? And that’s coming from a sun worshipper!
But Aunt Yvonne was still enthusiastic on my behalf, saying it would be nice for me to see some parts of the island that I hadn’t seen before. It was a good point, so I tried to put my apprehensions aside and enjoy it. Besides, I could probably do with getting in shape—my figure wasn’t exactly attracting any fine specimens—and what better way to start than to go for a hike? With a quick hug and kiss, I said bye to my mum’s sister before stepping out into the blazing sun. As I skipped down the few steps from the veranda, I felt rather strange wearing socks and hiking boots in this weather.
“Take care, you hear.”
She stood on the veranda watching me leave, and I replied by giving her a quick wave as I approached the mini-bus. It looked full up and I don’t know why, but I was surprised by how many white people were on board.
As he saw me approach, the driver got out and walked around to meet me, and he could only be described as a man mountain. He looked like no man I had ever seen before and though I could feel myself staring at him, I couldn’t look away. The men I had met back at home always tended to be too weedy or laden with a beer belly. But this guy could only be described as a tall, dark, broad vision of loveliness.