Chapter 4 – The Pokes
I heard the sound of a whistle and knew it was time for everyone to gather. I must have counted forty-eight hashers in total. Mr. Greenidge, the organizer, proceeded to do the usual; welcoming the first timers and providing information necessary for our safety. One thing I loved about our group was that the members were individuals who were really passionate about outdoors and nature; we had close to 90% attendance every time a hash was scheduled. I felt proud to be a member and loved the opportunity to keep active, discover new places and make new friends.
My introduction to Jason earlier had me uneasy; I felt as if everyone there could see my thoughts. As we received our briefing, Nicky poked me with her elbow with raised eyebrows. I ignored her but that didn’t help. “What was that all about?” she insisted. I just wanted to stay blank and continue ignoring her. I conveniently sought to focus on the information being provided by Mr. Greenidge. There was no escaping however, Nicky wasn’t about to give up.
Nicky was tall and slim. I always told her she had the perfect body, well apportioned. She often blushed at my compliments but never allowed them to make her proud. She was a humble, honest individual, who was always ready to share with others. Nicky was also a determined young lady whose persistence could annoy you at times; that girl was just too stubborn. Nevertheless, she was my buddy and I cherished our relationship greatly. After receiving all those pokes in my ribs, I decided to move away because the next thing coming for Nicky would be a “poke back” that may have caused her great pain. I smiled to myself as I moved away. Nicky edged closer, placed her hand around my shoulder and said “okay, okay, no more pokes, but please talk to me. I turned to my persistent bright-eyed friend and said, “I promise, I’ll tell you all about it later.” “Yes, you will,” she replied, acting like a bully.
Our briefing ended, and we headed off; we were finally on the trail. Our group moved swiftly. I could hear the sound of leaves and twigs being crushed as we made our way into the bushes, expecting a river to emerge. In the distance, we could faintly hear the sound of moving water. There were occasional light chatter, laughter and exclamations resulting from a small stumble, here and there, or a near-missed fall. We shifted our order as we walked. Nicky was right ahead of me with her co-workers. Craig and Lucy, two of my favorite hashers, were behind me and then, there was my Dad. For a while, I lost sight of Nicky, Jason and Shanta. After, 15 minutes of walking, we were all together at the river.
It was refreshing to look at the water as it flowed towards us, such a soothing sound. We paused there for approximately five (5) minutes during which Craig shared a bit of the history of the river, known as “Whisper Bend River”. I was intrigued about its history and the seemingly mystery surrounding it. Craig wrapped up his short speech and as we started walking again, I couldn’t help but notice Nicky’s eagerness to catch up with Jason as Shanta and I picked up the pace behind them. For a brief moment, I wondered if Nicky was attracted to Jason. A cold sensation lingered in my stomach, leaving me uneasy. I took a deep breath and thought to myself, why am I even bothered about Nicky’s actions? It is only a dream!
Chapter 5 – The Journal Entry
The Hash started promptly at 3:00 p.m., and by 5:30 p.m. we were heading back home. Despite my debilitating surprise, I had a wonderful time. My thirst for outdoor adventure was quenched for a few days, at least. As we drove around the final bend, I couldn’t wait to hit the shower and then the coziest place in the world, my bedroom. On entering the living room, I could smell lavender; I knew immediately that the floors were recently mopped. As I looked around it was evident that my sister was busy all day; the house looked and smelt clean. While offloading my things on the dining table, my phone rang. It was Blake Horsford, Blake was my music friend. We met at a Benefit Concert about six years ago. Two years after that we were fortunate to be students of the same piano class; we have been in touch ever since.
“Hey, Maxine, what’s up?” I was truly happy to hear his voice. “Where have you been?” I asked. I can sense his smile as he warmly responded, “Where have you been? It has been ages.” “I know”, I answered, “I’ve been trying to accomplish stuff, soon I will be thirty and old.” Blake laughed heartily reminding me of how much I missed our pure, warm and invigorating talks. We continued chatting for a while trying to make up for lost time. Blake was that solid friend I felt I could count on; the respect we had for each other was mutual. Five months ago, his family went through a devastating divorce that literally teared them apart. With my experience, having divorced parents, I was able to offer support. I had to conclude however, that my experience was mild when compared to what his family went through.
We later said goodbye and I headed to the refrigerator in search of something refreshing. On opening the door, it was evident that Rena was able to get someone to pick coconuts since there was a mug of coconut water beckoning to my thirst. Rena came in as I was pouring myself a huge glass. Before she could utter a word? I said, “Thank you sis” and scurried away to my safe place, laughing. I knew the lecture about asking before partaking was about to start. and I wanted to skip the drama. All I desired was to enjoy the pleasure of cool coconut sweetness flowing through me. I needed sustenance and the coconut water was perfect. I smiled to myself and nestled on my bedroom floor anticipating my bath.
After my bath I collapsed on my unmade bed with my journal and a pen. I was ready to exhale after a wonderful day. My pen made contact with the blank pages and magic began. My thoughts flowed out as I breathed my expressions, unboxing my every feeling while analyzing the day’s experiences. The sun disappeared as in my journal; I wrote;
“What a day it was, my day was filled with surprises, adventures, pleasant conversations and good food. I feel blessed. If I were to describe today in one word it would be “gratitude”. I feel as though I have entered a new season of my life or I am preparing for something new. I am fully alert and ready to embrace the opportunities that may unfold. There is something on the horizon, but it is not clear. I am trying to position myself for a better view, but it is difficult to find the right spot. My dream, Jason, Nicky, Blake’s unexpected call. Jason, yes Jason, such a handsome guy. Man, I really had a dream, shared it with my best friend, who later introduced me to her co-worker, who looks exactly like the man in my dream. Excitement and confusion rise in my soul. What’s next? God of the Universe, are you there? Are you seeing me right now? Do you care about my thoughts?” I closed my journal and stared at the ceiling.
Chapter 6 – The Applicant
It was a new work week and I had a great start. The fabulous weekend sent me off to work with a positive vibe. The weekdays were passing quickly; it was already Wednesday. I felt more and more excited as my birthday drew closer. While I sat at my workstation, I tried picturing the perfect birthday, but no ideas came. The office phone rang forcing me to shift my focus to the customer calling for assistance.
I had been employed at one of our local community colleges for approximately four years, working as an Administrative Assistant in the Registrar’s Office. I loved interacting with the students of the College daily. One of my responsibilities was to manage our student database, updating records of new applicants. Our College was one of the top colleges in the Caribbean offering a wide variety of courses with great flexibility in its scheduling of classes.
After assisting the customer, I proceeded to update the database. There were over two hundred new applicants so I knew I would be busy for a while. There were so many different names, Meagan Thomas, Caleen Farray, Lyndon Paul. One by one I inputted the personal data of the new applicants into the Database. As I proceeded to the next person I paused, jaw dropping. Next in line was Jason Emery, Maxine’s co-worker. I had no doubt it was him as his profile picture was included.
Wow, I thought to myself, information literally at my fingertips. Jason had six siblings, his Father was a Builder, his mother a Nurse. Current address was Viewforth, located approximately fifteen miles from Point Rivers where I lived. His hobbies were listed as mainly outdoor adventures: diving, cycling, hiking and fishing. He also liked painting and drawing. Jason was twenty-four and had applied for enrolment in the Architectural Design Degree Program. I was amazed considering how details about my dream character were unfolding right before my eyes.
I continued reviewing his form to ensure all the needed information was included and later observed that a contact number for his parents were omitted. Finding his telephone number, I hastened to call Jason on his mobile phone. As the phone rang, I felt my insides turn to Jelly. I stared at his online application form waiting for Jason to answer. As I did, I noticed Jason’s motto in a finer print, “Dream Chaser – Conquering all!”. I must have read the motto the same second, he answered his phone and there I was, caught off-guard and unprepared. After a slight delay I responded, “Ahhhh…good morning, so sorry for the delay but this is Maxine Palmer from St. Peter’s Community College. Is this Jason Emery? ” “Yes, it is!” He replied. I went on to explain my reason for calling and quickly obtained the missing information. As I prepared to thank him and end the conversation, he asked whether I was Nicky’s friend, the one he met during the Hash on Sunday. I confirmed that I was and to my surprise received an unexpected invitation. I indicated that I would need a couple days to think about it, hung up the phone and wondered what just happened.