Our class had just won a competition at school. A north coast trip leading all the way to Montego bay. I was excited as any 15 almost 16 year old would be. Like I always am when I learn about a chance to go somewhere. Making the necessary preparation. Taking in all the permission slips, food, water and provisions. We departed early one Saturday morning to begin our journey.
Montego bay bound, we cruised down rocky roads surrounded by tropical plants, birds and eye catching scenery. Turn after turn, we made our voyage. There was always one thing that’s certain. That the roads in Jamaica were somewhat deplorable. (Before the new highways of course). This however, wouldn’t deter our adventure. The bus was filled with life. Of eager and spirited teenagers laughing, singing and gyrating to the latest hits. Our two teachers at the front with the driver. Oblivious to what was happening at the back.
The girls twist and grinding on the boys laps. I get elbowed by the boy next to me as he topples over. “Sorry Bishop”, he said referring to my class name. I was never really sure how I got the name in the first place. “The bishop should return to the church” retorted the girl next to him bouncing on his friend’s lap as her friends laugh. I look around at my other classmates. Allowing the comment to roll off me. As my eyes gazed towards our destination ahead. And there it was… the ocean.
That moment, that very moment. I can recall the smell and taste of the salt in the air lingering on the back of my tongue. Something I would come to miss in the years of not travelling to the coast.
We arrive at our resort. It was a small yet cute resort up on a hill. With sweeping views of the ocean in all it’s glossy appearance. We were only staying for a day and by evening leave to return home. After a brief tour, we change to go to the beach. Only a short drive from the resort. When we arrived at the public beach, we get off the bus. I hastily walk towards the water. Anticipating its cold temperature that soon dissolved into warmer tropical climate. I dive down. Become completely detached from the world above. And fully immersed in the one below.
The sand at the bottom slips through my fingers and toes. It’s surprisingly warm and cozy. I look out and all I see is blue. I look towards the open sea, the image of a sea cow approaching me. Wondering if I too could mistake it for a mermaid. Having a faint picture of how it would look swimming towards me. I notice tiny bubbles, the force of the current pulls and take me in a new direction. I become a part of a world I’m powerless to. Yet… I feel completely at home in. I hear movement as I turn to see what’s coming. It’s a boat. A boat with tourist passing by. Our teacher calls us in to return to the bus. I don’t want to leave. I wish I didn’t have to leave.
Back at the resort, I stand by the pool. After a long swim and impressing my classmates with my diving skills. I gaze out at the ocean. The sun sets, I recount moments of the day spent out there. I look back at the young couples sitting by the pool sharing a towel. Whole cliques together with their boyfriends. I can’t help but feel a little jealous. Hoping for someone to share this beautiful moment with. Hoping someday, I will share a sunset like this one with someone special.
But for today, I look to the sunset as it illuminates the ocean beneath it. With an interesting pale tint of orange as it reflected on the water. I somehow find comfort and companionship. I watch as it disappears beyond the horizon. Just to get up and do the same thing again tomorrow.
As my classmates disperse to prepare for dinner. The evening filled with music, food and provocative dancing. My teacher pausing for a moment to inquire if I was ok, to which I responded confidently yes. I glanced at the moon in it’s fullness shining brightly over us. Setting a tone for the rest of the night. Giving new life to the ocean as it shines above it.
The time had come to board the bus. The fun was finally over. On the journey home, I lay my head back and close my eyes. I see nothing but the waves, coming in and going out. I see the moon, that appears to be standing just above the water. Though it’s millions of miles away. I let myself dream. Dream of the day that I can live this all over again.