Well, hello there, internet! I have missed you! Remember how I said that I wasn't confident about having internet here? Well, that was very true. I tried to write every night at my grandfather's house, but I didn't end up editing very many photos. To post the four entries below, I also had to walk on semi-primitive streets over to my aunt's house, while rude street people yelled things like, "Ya nah even go tell me 'Good evening,' and I bet we be family too!" I will try to post again in Barbados, but you may have to wait until I'm stateside again this week. xoxo, RS
When I saw him at the volcano with us on Sunday, I recognized him from church on Saturday.
“Ken, right?,” I asked, remembering his name.
He was surprised that I remembered him, but I just presumed that he was with us because he was some random family friend (or family, since all the Indians on the island are basically related). I hardly spoke to him, since he was helping my mother and aunt—the slower hikers—up the mountain. I was hiking at the front of the group with one of the guides and his little brother, both of whom were faster hikers.
When I was at the beach yesterday, though, his older brother said, “Ken wants to talk to you.” I presumed that the brother was talking to my uncle. It took me a minute to realize that the cell phone was being extended in my direction.
“Oh, me?,” I asked, surprised.
Then, I awkwardly took the phone and pretended that it was totally normal to chat with Ken about his day in front of his brother, my uncle, and my little cousins. I told him about our family’s plans for the rest of the week, and when he found out that I’m leaving in less than a week, he said, “Well, I might have to play hookey tomrrow and join you.”
So, it wasn’t entirely unexpected when Ken showed up at the wharf this morning, with his 10 year old son in tow, as my family got ready to board a ship to one of the Grenadine islands. While his son ran off with one of my little cousins, Ken wasted no time in pulling me away from the group. We sat by ourselves on the boat, swam alone on the beach, and when I felt Ken’s warm hands sliding around my waist in the water, I blurted out,
“No! What are you doing? Not in front of my family!”
Of course, Ken obeyed me for all of 20 minutes before he was back, cuddling me from behind and ignoring the swarms of younger cousins swimming around us.
“Are you going to get in trouble tonight?,” he teased me, intentionally grazing my cheek with his stubbly beard.
“Possibly! And, I see that you have absolutely no compassion about it too!,” I responded brusquely.
“You’re not going to get in trouble,” he responded sweetly.
“Because my mother likes you?”
I don’t know if Ken pulled his moves off because he got lucky, or because his plan was well-executed.
He confessed that after meeting me on Saturday, he called his brother—a close friend of my family—to ask who I was and where I was from. Then, in order to get a chance to talk to me, he joined the day trip on Sunday to hike the volcano.
(Let’s have a moment to reflect on the fact that a man volunteered to climb a 5000 foot volcano so that he could have a chance to talk to me.)
Because he ended up helping my mother instead, he won her favor and she couldn’t stop talking about how Ken was so nice and so patient and how his little boy is adorable and was her personal hiking buddy. There was absolutely no mention of the fact that Ken is 36, divorced, and wears jewelry. (Badventist alert!)
So basically, a 36 year old divorcee with a child managed to make my mother like him. Then, he hugged me up (that was for you Caribbeanites) right in front of my family, pretended like it was all good, and no one said anything to us.
Before dropping me off at my grandfather’s house, Ken’s brother took us to his parents’ house (where Ken lives since returning from abroad, because they are old and need him to take care of them). Then, in a freak occurrence that has yet to be documented in my life again ever, my mother sat on his front balcony, talked to his parents, admired the view of the ocean, and acted like a civil human being. As the parentals were bonding, Ken suavely said that he was going to “give me a tour of the house,” and as he ended with his bedroom, he pulled my hip into his and kissed me.
While I was waiting to get chewed out at home for having no class and letting "some man" put his hands on me in public, my mother said nothing about what happened with Ken. Nothing. Instead, she complimented his family, said that she was happy that they have been joining on us our day trips, and that it was nice that Ken was bringing his parents with us to the beach tomorrow.
Umm...what? What universe am I living in and how did I end up so far from home?
Ken is calling out of work again tomorrow to go snorkeling with us and to spend the day hiking waterfalls.
I’d say that Ken’s age must have helped him to develop this ability to charm parents, but whatever magic Ken is working has exceeded “skills.” Ken’s not just a parent charmer; he’s a miracle worker.