This is a small work in progress...
I sat having tea with an old dread, named Isah, whom I had met him down at the fish shop on my first trip to Kensington Market. It was then, over tea he began to tell me of a time when he lived in Jamaica- back when he was young and new to understanding things.
He spoke at length of his Grandmother the woman whose age age defies the earth and sky- she lived to see 129 years pass by and to this day, still checks in on her son of sons.
Isah and I wandered through fond memories. He took me to the back country hills of his childhood, the dancehalls he used to visit with his friends, beautiful girls he wished he knew how to love. I followed the drift of his thoughts with ease, as they were not unfamiliar to me. That night over tea, we ran on the beach, caught fish in the early morning, and swam in the sea. Amidst these night travels we somehow strayed off the path, and Isah began to tell me of one evening in particular...
He was on his way to visit a friend and when walking in the street he caught sight of a man on the ground with a knife
in his hand...
I watched as he put a cupful of honey into is tea, and he told me that it was dark sometimes on the road. The man he saw was stabbing his own Self in the neck. And then he told me of Obeah.
My hair stood on end as I thought of the man lying there on the road- writhing in a pool of his own blood, the taste of iron hot in his mouth, not having the strength to stop his own destruction. I took a sip of tea and tasted the bitterness in those last echoes of pain, still listening carefully to the Dread as he remembered. My old friend spoke calmly - his voice was smooth and didn't waver. But it was his darting eyes that set my nerves on edge; I saw fear looking back at me, and it was as sharp as the memory of a knife in the road- of losing your will to darkness.
I decided to act quickly by breaking the silence with a silly joke and a request that we have another smoke. My friend awoke from his revery and smiled in relief. Feeling grateful for the interruption, he then took it upon himself to teach me the art of rolling the perfect joint, and so we spent the rest of the evening in this light digression, though deep down we both felt we were still in shadow.
It was getting late.
I finished my last cup of tea and left. The night was in hot August, so I walked home (walking is good when you have a lot on your mind). I couldn't shake the strange feeling I had; it followed me as I walked through the amber downtown streets. I knew that I would never see the Dread again- bad omen for a first meeting of friends. My unease lied in the fact that this tale was so familiar and natural to me- I somehow knew that pain and remembered that power. Why? I grew less afraid as I walked on, but no less disturbed by this discovery...
I headed toward home lost in the waves thought, when suddenly I began to feel I was wading through water. My shoes started to squish, my pants began to weigh down on my belt and I was heavy. The water rose and each step I took seemed more effort than the last. I was getting tired but kept on walking until my feet just... left the ground.
Then I swam- swam hard against a current of my own making and un-making. Drenched with sweat and dreaming, I made it across.
Across a street? Around the block?
No... I made it over to my old friend Ten's place just down the way.