Bermuda Dreams Chapter 1
Tom dreamt of golden triangles. They flew at him in flashy arrays, lighthouse beacons at their tips, framing views of seas below. He didn't want to be flying here, no, not in this dream, when fine young ladies could've been up there with him too, nice-hot thots to squeeze love juices out of him as he fell, spreading it out above to form a parachute of sweet marmalade! He would glide through the portals, a black trojan, forgetting all about the flung engagement rings. No, love would not shine with such brilliance as the glittery speck he noticed shoot across skies over combers, the orb transforming, when he got closer, into a pair of spread out wings against the white tube body of a passenger airliner.
Suddenly he found himself inside this aircraft, idly lounging in a recliner to the left of a cabin's walkway, a view of the cockpit in front breathing wide in his peripheral and then with a gaze forward, shrinking to an indiscernible chamber. In his dreams these faraway areas had always been like invisible lungs, retracting to remind him of their nonreality, then expanding only when they became significant.
Above the aisleway, a digital sign spelled out an enigma in red letters: Bermuda. The invisible lungs breathed in the title, bubbling it out to show the profundity in all its clarity, yet the announcement did not sail forth with bliss, rather, it flung an anchor of worries into Tom's thoughts. Bermuda, a familiar haunt, a group of rocky islands nestled in a crescent amongst oceans, boasted limestone hills of false sanctuary against troubles.
Tom cringed at mistakes made in his last trip, even admitting to himself, he had dug way too much into pockets to pay for those Dark n' Stormies and other cocktails in Hamilton. The pubs on Somers Island, a stony octopus, stung tentacles into rich blood, sucking them dry for a living wage, yet Tom, a black dude from Cali, debt-ridden and struggling through college, felt more obliged to visit its sister island, at the eye of the Bermudian hook, Saint George's, where respite came in cheap takeaways.
Saint George's decor, kept a colonial modesty, a contrast to the commercialism of downtown Hamilton with its patchwork of highrises skirting waterfronts crammed full of yachts. The eastern island's ancient dwellings and shops, limbs of an old mariner, wore stone vestments of pink and yellow pastels, candy kisses of charm weighed down by hats of limestone pyramids, and these lively mascaras, hiding wrinkles and cracks from nature's time-long harassment, went belly out for a tourist's favor.
In this town, Tom's dream took him to the porch of a two-story inn, an old Georgian mansion, a wink of white under sunny skies, and a living testimonial to a families greatness centuries ago. He remembered this house on his last visit, but the chalky limestone on its pyramidal cap, a smear on steps, shown differently, reflecting orange casts from a dying light, and its airy balconies, with their lawn chairs thrown amok, screamed a hurricane's havoc.
Tom opened the front door, his pushes met by resistance from squeaky hinges, but after putting more muscle into a shove, it gave way, and a musky smell, reminiscent to moldy newspapers, escaped from within to hit his nostrils. The lobby he knew from the past, a line of rooms flanking a front desk with travel pamphlets, had morphed into an expansive suite of beds laden with luggage, clothes strewn about its tile floors.
Guests ran by him, picking up messes to shove them into suitcases. They came in frantic waves, hurrying to get done. One middle-aged fogy, sporting wavy black hair above a high forehead of brown skin, halted to size-up a new arrival. Tom knew this guest as family, his uncle, who he had not seen since a year prior at a wedding ceremony. It amazed Tom to see him.
"We're goin' to be late for the plane!" Uncle Charles threw Tom a plane ticket. "But I found your pass under all dis clothes. So lucky for you, you'll not be stranded here."
" Yah, we gonna be late!”
"But I jus' got here. How can we be leavin'?" Tom began to brood over missed opportunities. He never got to explore the island's western hook on his last trip. With family here, the excursion for the Royal Dockyards would have been worthwhile, but now, in surprise, an escape plan had got them busy.
A wiry old Asian woman, Aunt Lin, bent over Uncle Charles efforts, watching him as he shoved piles of shirts into a suitcase. She swiped away at loose strands of her close-cropped black hair in nervous anxiety.
Behind them, children ran about the place, causing a ruckus. Two kids played tug of war with a beach towel, as another got onto a mattress to hop on it, mawking a father's struggles with laughter.
"Hey, Ted. " Uncle Charles wove his hand in front of the springy monkey. "Get off dis' bed, now! I done tol' you, ya can't be jumpin no beds here! You want Mama to get you with the switch?"
"Nah, Pa. I just having fun."
"Fun? Vacation already over. Bye, bye, now."
A knock at the door threw silence. Tom shivered against an onset of chills, wondering if a maid had busted open a freezer. An explosion shot into the room. Powerful gusts hit Tom's back, launching his muscular frame into the air, and flung him against a far wall. He floated there in a paralyzed stance, breathless, and distraught.
"What the hell?" Tom looked behind him.
A scarecrow, a white-clothed oddity, struck a dance in the doorway, its skirts flashing glowy pink and yellow tassels. The lively wooshes of snaking vibrancy from its jig, kept the conductor, a Gombey dancer, afloat, but tense-ridden. Tom wanted to shout at him for a release, but he had no voice. He felt like a helpless spectator forced to view a dark ceremony.
The dancer’s face, hidden behind a mask, with painted impressions for eyes and an agape mouth, shown like a scowling mound of soil—its plot, support for stems in a vase cap hidden behind fluorescent hues—its outgrowth, tall peacock feathers.
Tom tried to break free from his invisible chains by kicking, but his legs hung limp. He wanted to embrace Uncle Charles to say goodbye, but the family ran out. Another chance came, when the old man, in forgetfulness, ducked back in to go for one last bag.
He took up the luggage, giving Tom a googly-eyed look, and then turned away to leave, with an oddly spoken farewell.
"You shouldn't have ate Keazah's cakes! Now she go hungry fo shure!"
Uncle Charles legs caught the reverb of the nearby dancers shuffle, and went bouncy on his exit.
Keazah? Yes, Tom remembered her from his last trip, an island beauty, who had clung to him, jumpy from fun nights spent clubbing. She had a sparkle from her eyes mirroring the island waves at lap against beaches under the moonlight and when her smooth mocha skin touched his brawny arms, it felt silky. Why would Uncle bring up such a woman he hadnt known?