So what on earth is happening between Horace and Janet? Is Janet really coming back?
After hearing from curious readers, I thought, Hmmm, shall I leave thee hanging?
Then Janet whispered in my ear, insisted I write her side of the story. And in a split second, my pencil and composition book were out.
Let’s peep in at Tryall to see what’s happening with Janet.
Mother Miserable, Part 2
Her ruby-red CRV turned into the estate’s parking lot. It had been a long drive. Over four hours and four parishes. But it was alone-time Janet craved since Janine, her youngest child, was born.
It had been eons since she drove by herself through Bog Walk Gorge, alongside the Rio Cobre, and over Flat Bridge. Her heart had still raced a little, as it had also done through the meandering Mount Rosser road and under the damp canopies of Fern Gully. It had been daunting yet thrilling to navigate the rain and smooth, wet roads and hear the water splash away from the force of her rotating tires.
Horace had inspected the tires himself, topped up the washer fluid, had the SUV power washed and the wiper blades replaced at the gas station to ready her for the journey.
Along the way, Janet had stopped at the Ocho Rios Jerk Centre, bought a cup of soup and a quarter pound of jerk pork with festival—just for the heck of it. And she hadn’t eaten it behind the steering wheel like she usually did while herding the children from school to extra classes and dance classes and swim club.
Instead, she had sat on a wooden bench under one of the rustic, thatch-roof gazebos, waited to be served and savoured peppery pork and sweet festival, without a care in the world.
Funny enough, the smoke from the jerk pit hadn’t bothered her, like everything in life seemed to bother her these days. It had been a satisfying meal, a change from takeouts downed hastily in the office lunchroom and dinners interrupted by chatty, hyperactive children begging her for the meat on her plate while still chewing on theirs.
The soul music at the Jerk Centre had injected a good bit of nostalgia into her day and mellowed her beyond what the weather had already done. Boisterous laughter from patrons at the bar in the centre of the restaurant had energized her, pumped a dose of sunshine back into her countenance. Twenty-somethings in basketball shorts and short shorts, arriving in a tour bus, hair damp from the beach, had filled her with expectation. What would Hanover bring?
Janet slipped her handbag from beneath the driver’s seat and lingered by the side of the CRV, inhaling the cool air and absorbing the serenity of the green, rain-drenched Tryall hill.
From the trunk, she withdrew two bags: one with flip flops, sandals, wedges and a beach towel and the other with cute dresses, tops, shorts and bikinis.
She couldn’t remember the last time she wore a bikini. Oh yes, before she got pregnant with Hayden, their first child. Dimply belly fat and hips were since concealed under baggy, t-shirt dresses.
On their last family outing to Fort Clarence Beach, she’d counted all the fat women wearing two-piece swimsuits and all the flabby-bellied men wearing trunks, and boosted her own confidence—sort of. For this outing, she’d gone out on a limb, bought new bikinis—plus picked up a sarong and knitted cover up, just in case a bout of cowardice paralyzed her.
Janet walked around the vehicle, ensuring the windows were fully rolled up and the doors securely locked.
Janet turned her head. A man dressed in cargo shorts and a crisp polo shirt stood a stone’s throw away, in the middle of the parking lot—beaming. She tried to not return the smile. But he was too darn handsome in his pastel-coloured resort wear.
“I thought the views at Tryall were stunning. But you. Wow! Breathtaking.”
How lame, Janet thought and blushed anyway. Horace normally told her she looked “alright” whenever she asked. But never breathtaking.
“Thank you,” she said, putting on her sunglasses. She walked away, briskly swaying her hips, so her dress hem danced and brushed her mid thigh. The white, strapless, summer dress with splashes of green all over screamed young and fun. Miss Clarice would have a fit.
By the reception desk, she heard her mobile phone buzzing in the side pocket of her handbag. She snatched it out. It was Horace.
“Just checkin’ if yuh reach in awright.”
“Yes, got here not too long ago. Everything okay at home?” she hesitated to ask.
“Yeah . . . Jus’ having a bit of a headache.”
Janet slowly shook her head. Mama. Miss Clarice.
“Any aspirin in the house?” Horace sounded forlorn.
“In the medicine cabinet.” Janet thought of how she could end the call. “Hon, don’t mean to cut yuh, but the front-desk lady waiting to check me in.” Janet swiftly put an index finger to her lips before the front-desk clerk could say no rush.
“Oh. Okay,” he sighed.
“I’ll call when I get to the villa.”
“No, man, relax yourself. . . and don’t worry, I have everything under control at this end.”
Janet wasn’t convinced. He had that “poor ting” modulation in his voice, reminiscent of a man crawling away on his belly, desperate for salvation from mama dearest.
But the last thing she wanted was for him to be calling every minute to complain about mama or to ask stupid questions, like how to light the stove (something she’d taught him a zillion times) or if dropping ice cubes in the blender will mash it up.
Janet switched off the phone and dropped it in the bottom of her handbag.
To be continued…
- Rio Cobre is a river running through St. Catherine, a parish bordered by St. Ann to the north. The river flows through the Bog Walk Gorge
- Fern Gully is in Ocho Rios, St. Ann and was originally a river course. The winding thoroughfare is flanked on either side by various species of ferns and tall trees.
Image “Massaging Shoulder As Very Stressed” courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net