January 9, 2014

Between the First or Fourth Attempt

The ice ruts in our narrow alley are at least a foot deep. I fought-drove through these uneven passages, trying to strike a balance between keeping the tires aligned within them but not so aligned that the car gets stuck in one.

The vehicle and I successfully made it to our destination. The next step was gingerly angling the car across the ruts and backing it into a one-car garage that already bulges with Jamie's many "treasures" without breaking a side mirror.

Somewhere in between the first or fourth attempt, I thought about how crazy it is that 22° feels balmy in comparison to the minus 22° it was two days ago.

And that's when I checked out and drifted back to the day when...
...the air was a thick hot blanket that wrapped itself around each limb, making clothes cling and hair fall limp – or in my case, kink up even more. Smoky pregnant clouds above seemed close enough to touch. They promised rain but refused to deliver, as if intimidated by the sunshine shards prodding and poking through them.
Standing sentry to the goings-on above and below and rocking back and forth to music only they could hear, towering palm trees lined the parking lot’s perimeter. Varied states of rustiness had overtaken the compact cars, buses and bicycles and all were parked as if each driver had drawn lines for their own spaces. Just as quickly as one vehicle's made-up spot was vacated, another took its place.
A dinnish accompaniment completed the scene: car stereos pumping out heavy bass beats, the occasional pow of backfiring vehicles mingled with chatter and laughs from people dotting the black-topped landscape.
Those folks wore pushed up sleeves and rolled up pantlegs. None wore sunglasses despite the sunshine shards. Like sunflowers, they turned their faces toward its light and warmth with eyes closed, arms akimbo and palms raised. They giggled to the sun, themselves and each other.
They wooted, hollered, guffawed and patted the backs of friends and strangers alike. They walked on air and sometimes they’d float into the path of a soon-to-be haphazardly parked bus.
But the drivers didn't seem to mind.
Then one of the buses stopped. As did the wooting, sun-gazing, giggling, guffawing. Everyone inhaled, but no one exhaled in that split second when the driver's jet black hand came into view and when he reached for the old-fashioned crank and opened the bus' door.

The door opened, and everyone exhaled, continued wooting, giggling and guffawing once he had welcomed us all to Jamaica.

That's when the garage door's noisy descent snapped me back to reality. I re-buttoned the coat, put the gloves back on and trudged out into 22° buoyed somewhat by the memory of that amazing day back in the bleak cold winter of 2008. 

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