I had a sudden thought, in the car, on the way to the airport.
What if V were on the plane? For some reason this possibility hadn’t even crossed my mind until that moment and for some other reason, it made me feel uncomfortable.
There were three things about this party:
It was her 21st. From a beautiful baby to a beautiful woman. How time flies. My meories of her are precious.
2. The Family.
They were my family for over 20 years. They still are my family. I still feel at home with them which, I thought, was strange, since I had believed it was because of V. It seems not.
Of course, this was my biggest ‘concern’ And, so, on to the party ……..
I got to the hotel and watched some TV (see earlier post) and then decided to go down for a cigarette. There had been dire warnings about how cold it was in the UK, so I dressed up – hat, coat, scarf, gloves, etc.
In reality, it wasn’t that bad and I felt almost foolish being so well guarded against the non-existent cold.
So, I’m there, outside the hotel, having a cigarette and wishing I was home. I phone C to ask what time it will finish as I need to phone a taxi.
“Probably about 4″, she states. OK, I know it’s a family whose roots are Jamaican and, therefore, should have known – but, really, FOUR!?!
She tells me there is someone who wants to talk to me. She passes me to V. He seems quite pleasant. I tell him I will be there later.
I’ve brought a suit. I nearly changed my mind but, in the end, thought it would be better. I go up to take a bath but, whilst it is running, I see the water is yellow and full of black bits. I decide to have a shower.
It’s after the shower that I realise I didn’t bring my brush. Nor even a comb. Bugger!
I use the only thing I have which is a nail brush. It’s not good but it’s all I’ve got. Luckily the room has a hairdryer so that’s something. The result I’m not happy with but there’s nothing I can do about it.
I get ready and go. I could be a bit early but better early than late. I go to the taxi rank at the airport. I get in a taxi and we’re there about 10 minutes early.
I go to the door. Outside are some people I recognise in some way. I guess they’re V’s brother’s oldest children who are in their 20’s. They recognise me more than I them. I certainly couldn’t put names to them – well, I couldn’t at that moment.
One of them goes in to say I am here. C comes out and goes a bit wild. There’s lots of hugging and kissing and stuff. V stands in the doorway. We say ‘Hi’.
We go inside into the entrance porch. There is of course the ‘How are you?’s; the ‘You’re looking well’s, etc. V’s Mum and Dad are there. I was pleased that his Dad looked really fit and well – it meant that I could honestly be delighted to see him and shock was not obvious on my face, even if I had expected to see him thinner and ‘shrunken’, because the only shock was how well he looked.
It was wonderful to see them. Ay wasn’t there but ‘getting ready at home’. Obviously, she wanted to ‘make an entrance’.
V was going to pick her up in the car. He suggested that I come too.
V looked good. Almost like his old self and certainly much, much better than last time I saw him. He didn’t look so old either. We talked a lot. It was almost as if nothing had ever happened. He was (as he was before) fun to be with. I enjoyed our time together.
Of course, the difference was that I didn’t worry about what he said. I mean, it didn’t matter if it was bullshit or not. It isn’t like it matters to me – I mean to say, it doesn’t have any effect on my life, my day-to-day living, not like before. So he could be whomever he wanted and I didn’t know, nor need to know, anything beyond the shallow front. And that was good.
Even P, his other sister, was nice to me!
He told me that everyone had been talking about me coming. That it was really important to them. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, it was nice to think they might have been.
But I didn’t scratch too deep. I’m not good with the sight of blood and what purpose would it serve anyway?
Ay looked fabulous. And, of course, to me, not 21. She looked like a little, sweet girl. But I love her still, even if she’s only my ‘niece’ by virtue of the relationship I had with V.
And I do miss the food – rice and peas, chicken, etc. It was really lovely to have some again.
And I do miss them all, even V. They make me feel warm and comfortable and, well, like being in a family.
So, the party was fine and V was very nice and everyone was very nice and Ay looked so beautiful and I cannot express how I feel now she’s turned 21.
And I got a little drunk and got a taxi back about 2 or 2.30 but that was OK.