Broth v Mangoes!
Weeks flowed into months and this cloud cuckoo land feeling did not fade. This was the most serious I’d been with anyone, I mean I thought Saul and I were a solid couple but this was way different. Meeting Kens family was not as daunting as I thought, I thought our age difference would be an issue with them but they all received me with warmness. It was at his sisters christening of her son that I first met most of his family, he had a sister, three brothers and a number of nieces and nephews. Oh and another thing, Kenrick had a son.
Well I shouldn’t be surprised really seeing as he was ten years older than me! Ironically his son was eight years old, ten years younger than me. I looked at him, thought of Ken & I and closed my eyes to extinguish the thoughts that passed my mind. It was crazy imagining him as a boyfriend to me, it was outrageous yet it seemed fine the older you were.
It was July and I was preparing to go to my cousins wedding in Trinidad with my mum, I was a bridesmaid so very excited. I was now in a relationship with Ken for just over five months but it felt like we knew each other for years. Again, being separate from him would prove to be very difficult and I know it is said absence makes the heart grow fonder, but how much more fonder could we be? we were surly at our peak! I was only going for three weeks and just hoped it would fly by.
Ken came to see us off and we promised to stay in touch (yes I know, it was only going to be three weeks!) Bearing in mind I loved flying, this flight was not enjoyable at all; the food seemed off and the turbulence was a lot to be desired. I was certainly glad when we arrived safely. It was good feeling the humidity and that tropical fragrance in the air. My uncle picked us up who lived in Town (Port of Spain, the capital), we were to stay by him a few days, climatize then head down south. I asked to use the phone as soon as I got there to call Ken and let him know that we got here ok. As usual my legs turned to jelly and my heart got full when he answered the phone. It was a very quick call as it was an overseas call and expensive. The next day I brought a bunch of international phone cards!
The first few days was spent getting over jetlag, seeing more friends and family, catching up with cousins and aunties and uncles marvelling at how much I had grown. It was mango season and the whole country seemed to smell of them, before long I had my gut full and couldn’t stomach to suck one more let alone to smell them. After a few days we ventured down south and it was a beautiful sight driving through the winding country roads full of tropical plants and palm trees, although you couldn’t get away from the sight of badly mutilated dogs laying in the roads from being knocked down. I wondered who had the awful job of clearing them up as when you passed the same place a day after they were gone! As we approached the house I saw my cousins and auntie waiting to greet us. There was excitement in the air, mum let out a giggle and I had the biggest grin; we loved this family to the max and they were very fond of us too. There was a jovial few minutes of multiple greetings and laughter. All talk was on the approaching wedding and my cousin Nikay beckoned me to come in the back bedroom to show me our bridesmaid dresses. I needed to try mines on as soon as possible in case any alterations needed to be made. To be honest, the dress wasn’t the greatest of designs and Nik & I weren’t to keen on it at all, the only saving grace was that there was another five of us that would be in the same dress on the day! we could cope with that.
Nik & I went everywhere together, she took me to all her hang outs and when we were at home, we helped with preparations for the wedding. Our family was huge and there was no need to waste money on outside caterers or wedding planners, we were all quite capable and from the youngest to the oldest there was something you could put your hands to. Before the wedding, we, my cousins and I; decided to have a girls night out. It was nice being with them as although we were all the same age, they were a year or two … or three older than me, so mum didn’t over fuss for my safety. The evening began with us liming in a couple bars before heading to where the soca fete was. By that time I had a couple of straight rums and was feeling kinda nice. As we entered the music was jamming and people were getting on real bad, the atmosphere was on fire. drinks round was being ordered and once again I requested my signature rum on the rocks. My cousin always ordered me doubles as she thought the drink looked so small. It was the norm for ‘ladies’ to drink their drinks through a straw, even with beer bottles… not me, I took my drink like a man, no straws needed.
Party was pumping but I started to feel a little off. I normally smoked especially when drinking, but the Benson & Hedges brand of cigarettes weren’t the same as in England, they were much stronger and I didn’t like them at all… I guess being in Trinidad would help me give up! After a coupe hours I was on water as I felt so queasy, I was so happy when we all decided it was time to hit the road and head home. My cousins was real kicksing and had a good laugh at my expense as they thought I was a little wasted. It just wasn’t like me, how much did I really drink?? maybe it was because I couldn’t enjoy a fag with it or maybe it was the humidity; whatever it was I felt like crap. Everything spun, I spun, I closed my eyes and the spinning was intense like a rollercoaster. Thankfully I didn’t feel to vomit, I think my body and mind know I have a phobia when it comes to vomiting so I switched off that thought, it wasn’t permitted! but the nausea was horrendous. I managed to fall asleep but sitting upright as I was scared of being sick.
In the morning, well mid morning, I awoke and I felt as if all my insides had churned over; that my body wasn’t my own. Who punched me, who did I fight, what did I eat, was this food poisoning?? This feeling was BAD. my cousins giggled but they were concerned on how rough I looked. “Maria girl wha happen to you girl, yuh cyant tek de rum; yuh gone soft or what?” and their giggling burst into laughter, I laughed too but my gosh it hurt. I was truly wasted and couldn’t function. Now there was a trick to getting over a hangover, it was to have a drink of what got you drunk. But I wasn’t drunk! I was in my right senses, I just started to feel real real bad. There was no way I could stomach a straight rum at this moment, so cure number two.. Fish broth! My older cousin Glenroy took pity on me and said “hold tight baby girl, ah go fix yuh up ah nice lil broth you’ll feel better in no time.” Knowing a cure was coming, that this feeling had an end, was the best feeling. I told myself there was no way I was having a drop more rum whilst on this holiday. I could just about move to go shower and let the barrel temperature water fall on me. As I came out the aroma of the broth filled the wood panels of the house. Nik chilled with me as we waited for me to function again. Gladly I wasn’t feeling as bad as the night before. Glenroy finally bought me a small bowl of broth, the medicine was the broth itself, no provision, dumpling or fish, just the water. I sipped it slowly and thankful with every spoonful I actually felt soothed.
I got my energy back within an hour, talk about happy, that sickness was nothing I felt before and it was now all over. Nik had some pineapple and mango cut up in a bowl and came back in the bedroom to sit with me but I had to beg her to take the fruit out… the smell was unbearable. She left momentarily then came back in the room looking rather thoughtful like Sherlock Holmes sidekick Watson! Nik looked at me as she approached the bed her eyes not leaving me, I was like “what??” “Maria maybe this has something to do with your periods,” I looked up” my periods? no I never get sick like this with my period, just slight cramps.” Nik frowned, ” that’s not really what I meant, I mean like when was your last period? Now it was my turn to frown… “I don’t know, I’m never regular in fact its very erratic.” My facial expression went a little blank as I began to see where Nik was going with this… “Nik” my eyes was in a fixed stare as my mind worked overtime… “think about it Maria, you real have a problem with mangos and smoking, I’ve never known you to get high on rum or ever seen you with a hangover and to top it off you can’t even remember the last time you had your period!” ‘Could it be, oh my gosh a baby?? naaa no way and besides, we only just decided for me to come off the pill recently, how quick did these things really take?’
I was flabbergasted, so many thoughts crossed my mind and a smile grew, there was actually a possibility I was carrying Kens baby oh my gosh and my smile grew even more. Then as fast as it grew, it vanished… my mum! How on earth, what on earth am I going to tell her? what will she do?? The feeling of dread was written all over my face. Nik looked at me and put her arm around me and with comforting words told me not to worry about it as we were only speculating. The best thing to do was enjoy the rest of my holiday and just watch myself to see if there is a pattern of weird things happening to me, it was easier said than done!
A few days passed and even though there was pure excitement in the air, I couldn’t help but have my mind on the conversation Nik and I had. Should I tell Ken? what was the point, tell him what? I wasn’t sure, no test was done, why worry right?! I noticed my mum was watching my movements a lot, she was not stupid and without asking me questions was looking at me as in a huff all the time. I never said a word and played like I was unaware. I had to suck it in, all these bad feeling of waves of nausea that seemed to creep up on me in the evenings and I was so tired all the time but my excuse was the sun was too hot and it was just sunstroke or something. After all there was a possibility that it could be my mind playing tricks on me and it could really be that I was too hot in the sun.
The day of the wedding came, everyone was running around doing what had to be done. Myself and Nik done our make up and put our bridesmaid dresses on with Nik moaning through the whole time how much she didn’t quite like how the dress fit her. I was concerned that my dress wouldn’t fit but that was now my paranoia thinking as even if I was pregnant, I wouldn’t be showing. The ceremony was long and the heat was unbearable, it didn’t help that every time I turned my head; there was my mother watching me. She suspected something was up but it was like she didn’t want to confront me and ask in case she heard what she didn’t want to hear… to hear what she already knew in her heart. Heels were not the one for the feet in that heat, my feet were beyond hurting. Straight after the ceremony we went to take pictures then on to the reception and more pictures were taken. Whilst the speeches were going on, my rebellious cousin grabbed me and said ‘lets get out of here cuz, our time and duty in these dresses are over’ so we snuck out to go home. The reception was just a five to ten minute walk away, so we got in, changed, chilled for a while as we were both tired, our feet were painful and swollen from heels all day and then headed back to the reception in time for when the speeches had finished and the music had started. The wedding was a huge success and was beautifully done, The dancing continued into the night and we all had a grand time. But my gosh I felt it the following day, I had a hangover and I didn’t even drink any alcohol! This was getting ridiculous, there was really no doubt about it now, no other excuses, no tests done only me observing myself; Nik looked at me and I at her and we smiled knowingly… I was pregnant.
I was so glad I had Nikay, one of my best cousins I could confide in. This holiday was the closest we’d ever been. She teased me about Ken, she knew all about us and thought the love we shared was so cute. If it wasn’t for her I don’t know how I would’ve coped these last couple of weeks but it was coming up time for us to leave and go back to England, I was sad to leave yet ecstatic to see Ken once again. He called again the night before we flew out, I couldn’t hold it, I told him of my suspected pregnancy and how mum was funny with me for days, he just said not to worry about it, just enjoy my last few hours and when I get back I can sort out a test and deal with all the rest.
Packed and ready to head out, we said our goodbyes with kisses and hugs. No more would I have Nik to protect me of my mums daggers and sarcastic comments. She actually packed the mangoes she was bringing back to England in the hold all cabin above my seat on the plane. Definitely done on purpose. So here I was stuck on a night flight with a sickly smell of mangoes above my head. I had my normal evening nausea so I just tried my best to sleep as there was nowhere to run and no seats to swap.
This was to be the longest flight taking me on a journey of life I’ve never known before.