It was late afternoon and the sun was not as hot as it was earlier in the day. Jane held me hand and I could tell she was a lot more at ease. In the distance we heard gunshots but they did not seem to frighten she as much as they did earlier, I mean the girl grew up in West Virginia them mountains were known for a lot of hunting. We walked back to me house and got there in time to sit at the window and watch the sun fall into the imaginary line in the ocean.
Days went by and Jane had practically moved into me house I sure didn’t mind because she made the house smell like a flower garden. The medical school had gone back to its regular classes though some of the students had left the island, damn cowards were acting like the islanders were going to hurt them or something. Ken’s brother was back I would see him walking in the yard wearing the dirty green uniform of the People’s Revolutionary Army. He would wave at me and shout,
“Long live de revolution,”
I had gotten involved with some of the educational programs instituted by the new government, I mean these people seemed like they would try to do some good, I even spent some of me weekends helping the farmers and them, I tell you what working all day on the banana plantations was a real humbling experience. It amazed me how happy them people was, getting up at the crack of dawn, working until the sky turn gray and the stars twinkled in the sky, damn people had plenty resolve.
Slowly everyone was settling down to the way things were well except for the damn American government they were not too happy at all bout the change in leadership. President Carter had given a speech bout how the communists had taken over the island and somehow the civilized world had to stop the movement of the ungodly system that was spreading through the Caribbean and South America. The former Prime Minister was in exile in New York and was trying his best to trump up support to get rid of the new government. Soon Russians and Cubans came to the island claiming to help build it up I mean why in the hell didn’t them so called super powers leave we alone. Some of the people were not too happy bout them being there but most did not seem concerned with they presence.
I saw Alison at school every day; she was not as intense as she used to be the suspicious look replaced by an odd smile, Mr. Hopson quit and had moved to America, good riddance to bad karma. I even started participating in the military maneuvers the army held to train the people to defend the country in case of an invasion, still I was real cautious bout dealing too much with them, I mean all them damn guns in the hands of young people was not the best thing for the country. Jane sometimes helped with teaching classes with the older people who had not finished they schooling and she seemed to be enjoying sheself, I tell you what, that woman was not only beautiful but she was real generous too. Life was beginning to get back to some kind of normalcy.
One late afternoon, when the island was quiet and the sun hung overhead like a big eye looking down on the ocean, I took Jane to the northern part of the island where me father’s family had come from. It was early April and the landscape was lawn green spotted with while flowers everywhere. We went to a beach where my father used to take us whenever I visited him that was the only happy times I remembered with that man. About two miles off the show was an island, it was not your typical island, in fact in was a rock about one mile long surrendered with very little beach but was plush with forest like vegetation. It looked like the peak of a mountain standing out of the sea bout three quarter of a mile high with a flat top where people would have picnics while looking out at the ocean. We rented a boat from one of the fishermen and rowed the two miles out. I had packed a basket of lunch with a bottle of French wine I had gotten from a fisherman who moonlighted as a smuggler toting wine to South American bars. The sea was unusually choppy for April and the small boat rolled from side to side like crazy, causing Jane to hold on. She had this big smile on she face she hazel eyes alight with excitement. The basket of food slid back and forth on the boats bottom and I used me foot to jam it against the side of the boat.
When we got close to the island I jumped out of the boat intending to pull it the rest of the way in but I miscalculated how deep the water was and sank like a frigging anchor. I struggled to the surface almost hitting me head against the side of the bobbing craft, man, what a clumsy idiot I was. Jane laughed tears rolling down she cheeks and I started to laughed too but swallowed a mouthful of the salty ocean, I grabbed hold of the boat and fought against the waves kicking me legs real hard. After a brief struggle I managed to get the little craft close enough to the beach where me feet touched the sand and I walked the rest of the way pulling the boat behind. I pulled it onto the beach, the waves swirling causing me to lose me grip several times, Jane jumped out of the boat and helped me pull it rest of the way. I plopped down on the sand, exhausted,
“Are you alright?” she asked standing over me, I looked up at she the sun blinding me momentarily.
“Wow, now that was a bomboclart struggle,” I said getting to me feet. I walked over to the boat, reached in and picked up the basket and we made the short trek from the beach to the middle of the island. Birds with white feathers and long legs flew into the air as we went by them the bloody things squawking like crazy, me clothes and me dreadlocks stuck to me skin and I was a little chilly as the wind swept through the little island, Jane walked behind me picking seaweed from me back laughing. There were other people on the island some were playing soccer on the other side man them people sure like to scream when they playing. We got to the base of the hill and looked up,
“You up for a short climb?” I asked. She looked at me smiled and began to climb up the rocks that stuck out on the hill like steps, I followed she watching she body move gracefully up the steep incline.
When we got to the top of the hill Jane found the first spot she could and sat down breathing real hard. I sat the basket down next to she and looked round, there were small trees most bout nine to ten feet tall spotted round on the hilltop that was bout two or three hundred yards wide, the grass was thick and soft when it was touched felt like a plush carpet under me foot. I walked over to the edge of the hill and looked down, trees grew out of the side of the hill and the ocean crashed against the rocks bout forty feet down. I looked out at the endless blue sky that was spotted with white cotton candy like clouds, birds flew over the ocean squawking as they head out to sea. I walked back over to where Jane was sitting and dropped down next to she.
“This is beautiful; it is just like what I have seen in the travel brochures.” She leaned she head on me shoulder and we sat there watching a windjammer boat as it struggled against the chopping sea, it lay deep in the water obviously overloaded with cargo that was being shipped to another island. We heard the voices of the people playing soccer on the beach below; children screaming as the waves came ashore crashing into them. I got up and opened the bottle of wine and poured us drinks, Jane took the glass smiling at me, the wind roared through the trees behind us and swept out to sea taking the voices of the people with it, then it died down and the happy screams were loud again. I looked at Jane she was beautiful with the sun bouncing off she tanned skin, she glanced at me my heart was racing so fast I felt it throbbing in me neck.
She laid down the glass of wine, leaned over and kissed me, the wind whipped up she hair and it tickled me face, the sun hid behind a cloud, just for a second, then bright against the green blue ocean. Jane hugged me squeezing me for a minute she body was real warm and I felt she heart pounding against me chest. I opened me eyes and when I did I realized that the world was not as grey as it was the day of the revolution, maybe I am finally starting to get used to the political situation or maybe it was being with Jane that put some colour into my world. One of the birds with long legs landed on the grass bout fifteen feet from us its white body blinding me as the sun shimmered off its feathers. Jane let go of me she shirt wet from squeezing me, picked up she glass and took a sip, the red liquid blending in with she dark red lips. I turned me body to face she and we looked at each other without saying a word. I reached out with me hand and brushed me fingers against she face, she skin was so smooth it was like touching solid air. She leaned into me hand kissing me fingers, I lifted she head gently and kissed she and she wrapped she free hand round me neck, she lips tasting like the wine she had just sipped.
We kissed and caressed each other long enough for the sun to drop to where we could look out to sea and look directly into its glow. The wine glasses had fallen leaving trails of red in the green grass, I got up and refilled them and walked out to the edge of the hilltop. Jane came up behind me and interlocked she arm in mine and we stood there watching the sun play hide and seek behind the low clouds, birds gather on the beach below as the people got into they boats and headed back to the mainland, soon all was quite except for the wind rushing through the trees on the hilltop. When it was almost dark and the wine bottle lay empty on the grass. We headed back to the mainland and drove the winding narrow road back to the city
The blue sky had turned into a mass of twinkling stars, Jane had gone into the bathroom and was taking a shower so I walked over to the window and looked out, there it was again, the ocean I could smell the salt in the crisp night air. I leaned out the window and looked into the yard leaves flew round in small whirlpools as the tropical wind swirled round the mango tree. Out of the corner of me eyes I saw the bushes move I thought nothing of it and just kept looking round. There was calypso music coming from inside Ken’s home, it was an old song by the singer the Mighty Sparrow,
“Sink dem ships to the bottom of the ocean Kennedy is de man for dem,” For some reason President Kennedy was real popular on the island, Dexter’s mother was singing along to the words.
The bushes moved again and I focused me attention on it, I mean that damn goat better stay on the other side. Me frigging heart started to race and the hair on the back of me neck seemed to have a life of they own. I reached up with me hand and rubbed me neck and then I watched as the bushes parted like a crowd at a wedding making way for the bride and for god’s sake there she was, the frigging woman in white. I tried to look away but I was fixated on she as she began floating towards me, me breath came in short bursts causing me lungs to burn like crazy and I grabbed hold of the window frame in an effort to stop meself from climbing out. Suddenly I felt someone touch me on the arm I spun round almost knocking Jane down. At first she looked kind of stunned but then she realized that something was wrong and took me hand,
“What is the matter?” she asked looking into me eyes, I raised me arm and pointed to the yard and she looked past me and scanned the yard for a second then looked back at me took me hand and led me to the bed and sat me down man what a relief it was to get off me weakened legs. I began to catch me breath as she rubbed me back, I tell you what, she sure knew how to rub feeling back into someone.
“I saw she again, she was standing in front of the bushes,” I could see the concern in Jane’s face.
“Are you talking about the woman you told me would appear to you?” she asked and I nodded me head me damn eyes felt like they were on fire or something. She said nothing, she just got up and straddled me and pulled me to she, man that woman sure knew how to relax me.
When me breathing was normal and the tension in me chest had gone Jane kissed me and then got up and walked over to the window, I wanted to stop she but I thought if she saw anything then she would not think I was crazy. She peered out the window looked right then left then turned and walked back to me,
“I did not see anything,” she said sitting down next to me and placed she right palm on me forehead.
“You are burning up,” she said getting up and going into the bathroom and returning with a wet washrag, she placed it on me forehead and the cool material sent shockwaves of chills all through me. I shook a little and she removed the rag for a second looking into me eyes.
“It must have been my imagination,” I stuttered but to tell you the truth I felt like someone knocked the frigging wind out of me
“Shhhhh,” she said and placed the rag back on me forehead, I sat and looked at she forcing a weak smile, she smiled back a loving concerned look in she eyes. I reached up and moved she hand and stood up, the whole damn room turned black and I had to sit back down. I laughed a weak laugh flopped back on the bed and looked up at the ceiling, Jane leaned over me looking into me eyes but she disappeared as flashes of the woman in white floating towards the window ran through me mind and I stiffened a little, Jane rubbed me face with she fingers. I closed me eyes and when I opened them I saw Jane’s face but everything round it was a colourful blur. I tried to smile but by the expression on she face I knew she did not believe I was all right. She leaned over and kissed me cheek and for a split second everything seemed real normal, but then me head felt like a hundred little elves were at work at the base of me skull with tiny rubber hammers. I started to drift off and soon I was unaware of me soundings, I mean I went out just like that. When I woke up Jane was sitting on the bed next to me.,I sat up, now I knew how Rip Van Wrinkle felt after forty years of sleep, Jane went to the kitchen and came back with a glass of water with ice in it, I took the glass and sipped the ice cubes clanged round on the crystal
“You feel better?” She asked as she brushed she fingers cross me face. I shook me head and tried to sit up but Jane gently pushed me back down.
“Get some more rest,” she said took the glass then got up and walked away. I lay there I must have slept the whole damn weekend because before I knew it I had to get up and go to the school.
The week went by slowly, classes in the school were uneventful, and the government seemed as if they were settling into a pattern. Alison would sometimes ask me how I was doing but I never told she bout the last encounter. The suspicious expression crept back into she face whenever she spoke to me bout the woman in white, but she never really pressed the issue. Everywhere on the island were young people dressed in military uniforms carrying guns, I mean I even saw a fifteen year old in uniform I didn’t like the fact that them children were carrying guns round.