It’s Not Goodbye
In final week of her stay in Montego Bay, Isaiah had developed the habit of waking up at five o’clock in the morning. He would stand up in his crib and call out Lia! Lia! until she woke up. When she did, she would take up the small boy along with one of his toys and put him in her bed. They would play for awhile then his mother would come in the room and have him with her as she prepared for work, market or church. Whichever day of the week it was, Josie always got up early.
On her final day, Cornelia awakened as usual to Isaiah’s baby calls and for the first time in weeks, felt good.
Unburdening herself to her grandmother had done her soul a lot of help. She actually felt now as if she could be that better person that she wanted to be. It was also timely, because the next day was her birthday. That was the whole point of going back to Kingston then, so that she could be with her family on her special day. But now she wondered where her family was. She had grown so much in the last four weeks and the people who were responsible for that transformation, and who knew the person that she was now, were here in Montego Bay. Was it possible for her to fit back into the role of the old Cornelia? The one who whispered about every little incident with her friend Marissa? The Cornelia who thought that to talk with a boy for five minutes was a big thing. Could she ever again hide what her true feelings were, and if denied what she wanted, sulk and scheme her way around it instead of accepting judgment with equanimity? She thought not.
She heard a tap at the window and Janvon’s voice said her name. She got up, still in her nightgown, and went to open the front door.
He looked awkward standing on the verandah in the dawn dew.
“I just came to say goodbye.”
“I am glad. I would not want to leave without telling you goodbye.” Instead of letting him come into the house, she joined him on the verandah.
“Janvon, I did something that I never thought that I would do last night.”
“What was that?”
“I told Grandma and Aunt Josie everything, and I mean everything.”
“Did Miss Josie go crazy?”
“Not really. She was upset at first, but cooled down after a while. I think it was good that Uncle Roger was there.”
“How do you feel now?”
Janvon, who had one of his hands behind him, now brought it forward and in it was a carved car broom.
“This is for you,” he said.
She immediately asked him what the story on the broom was. Janvon shook his head and insisted that if she looked at it carefully she would know. So slowly the girl turned it over and over in her hands, saying aloud what she saw.
“I see a man with his hands holding something that looks like a pearl. It is precious to him and behind the man are a lot of other treasures, but he is ignoring them.”
She stopped and looked at Janvon, but he was saying nothing, so she continued hesitantly.
“The only thing that I can think of is the parable of treasures, where the kingdom of God is like a merchant who finds one pearl and sells all that he has for this one precious thing.”
“That is what you are to me. Something special, this most precious of pearls.”
“How do I know that you are not just sweet talking me? I know how you guys are.”
Defeated, he shrugged his shoulders and looked lost.
Cornelia flicked her lips and rested her hand on his shoulder: “Well whatever the reason, it is quite sweet.”
She held his shoulder a little more firmly, and with a small smile, bent and gently touched his lips with hers. His softened to receive her kiss and as a happy glow filled Cornelia, a smooth music hovered in loping wing beat around them. The music held them together like protective swaddling bands of sound.
“Janvon, what was that music?” Cornelia whispered into his ear as they rested cheek to cheek on each other.
His answering whisper thrilled her, “We are sharing love, so the butterflies sing.”