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Seven Days in Jamaica

Seven Days in Jamaica

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Seven Days in Jamaica

241 pages
4 hours
Dec 5, 2012


Seven Days in Jamaica

Daniel Paige wants a new lease on life. To do that, he must escape the clutches
of his affluent and over-possessive parents. After finishing his MBA, he decides
to break free to begin life anew in paradise – Jamaica, the land of Reggae and Bob Marley.

Destined to take over his parents’ software company, in New York, Daniel decides before he
does that, he must make up for lost years. Foremost on his mind is to find himself a woman.

In Jamaica, Daniel has more than he bargained for; finding a woman is no longer a challenge –
The challenge was how to choose one. Will Daniel discover too late that relationships, as we
as independence, come with a price – a very dear price? He has seven days to swim or sink!

Dec 5, 2012

About the author

Horane Smith is an award-winning author of eight published novels. He has been described as "prolific...a gripping of our best emerging writers." His novels are: Lover's Leap: Based on the Jamaican Legend, Dawn at Lover's Leap (the sequel and finalist in the 206 USA Booknews Bestbook Awards for Historical Fiction) Port Royal, Underground to Freedom, The Lynching Stream, Reggae Silver, Seven Days in Jamaica and Marooned in Nova Scotia. Lover's Leap has been selected as one of two novels to be used in a presentation on mix-fixed relations, at the 10th International Conference on the Social Sciences and the Humanities, in Montreal, Canada, in June.

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Seven Days in Jamaica - Horane Smith





Published by Horane Smith at Smashwords

Copyright 2012 by Horane Smith

Smashwords Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Seven Days in Jamaica is a work of fiction. Though some actual towns, cities, and locations may be mentioned, they are used in a fictitious manner and the events and occurrences were invented in the mind and imagination of the author. Any similarities of characters or names used within to any person past, present, or future is coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author. Brief quotations may be embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Dedicated to all those who’ve visited and are planning to visit Jamaica.

Chapter 1

The cherished moment I had been waiting patiently for all my adult life had finally come. It was here at last! I had been bracing for it. Fully convinced that life would be different from now on, I snatched my lone suitcase from the floor and marched through the door into a world that was beckoning me with its ills, obstacles, hopes and despairs. I wasn’t bracing for the worst, instead I was anticipating triumph rather than defeat, because the latter wasn’t on my agenda. I was free and that was enough impetus to break all the barriers before me. As challenging as they seemed to appear, I was going to break them. Just follow me.

The stately mansion I was leaving belonged to my parents, and had been home for me for 28 years, but I no longer wanted to live under their roof. My parents, in their own eyes, had done their best to nurture me into a grown man. It was time for me to take on this world—alone.

My life history bordered on the mundane, to say the least. I had grown to despise myself and wanted desperately to revolutionize my whole outlook on life. I was going to accomplish something I had never thought I’d ever do, and as a result, I kept reminding myself that the change happening this morning wasn’t an illusion. It was real.

My friends would be astounded if they could see me at this moment. Here I was perched in the seat of a jumbo jet slicing through midair, as it was about to begin its descent into Sangster’s International Airport, Montego Bay, regarded by some travel guides as the tourist mecca of the Caribbean. I was going to prove myself on this seven day visit to the land of reggae—Jamaica.

Byron Crowley and Hartley Gosselin, my two closest buddies back in New York, would never believe I was traveling alone. Mind you, I was not sitting alone, because there was a hauntingly cute Jamaican girl sharing the seat, not my over-possessive parents, as my friends would’ve expected. My parents always felt they should be with me everywhere I go. I was adamant that I’d proven them wrong, beginning today.

That was my dilemma—my parents. They weren’t bad parents. In fact, they had been too good to me. As an only child, all their energies, time, and money, had been dedicated to me from the day I uncurled from my fetal position and exited my mother’s womb, depositing a whopping eight pounds of newborn flesh into the doctor’s hands. From day one, my parents had controlled every facet of my life, from going to school, choosing friends, spending my spare time to the very clothes I wear. Twenty eight years later, weighing 165-pounds, I’ve concluded without any reservation, it was time to move on—on my own.

My parents, Elsie and Jake, owned Wiltshire Enterprises, a New Jersey-based company that manufactured computer software for a huge conglomerate. Wiltshire’s head office was in Manhattan, New York. My father had always been telling me that this office was my career destination. He could hardly wait to appoint me a Vice President, and heir to the entire Paige estate. The completion of my MBA came right at the opportune time. Dad read out his edict to me yesterday, pulling no punches, and leaving not an inch of doubt about where my job would be. It will be all yours one day, Daniel, he had said. I didn’t protest yesterday, but when I returned from this trip, I was certain I would say no, unless Dad could meet terms I had still been working on, namely complete independence in running the company.

Here I was on a plane, this morning, without my parents and my two carefully chosen friends. They always jeered, teased, and ridiculed me for being under my parents’ wings. I always wanted to prove them otherwise. I was no spoiled brat, and if it was the last thing I do, I was going to prove it. I had the courage to make it on the plane. So far, so good.

I shouldn’t have been shocked by my father’s pronouncement. After all I was their only child, but I guess I was not thinking too much about being a vice president yet. By now, they would’ve found my note, and it wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary if Mom would try to call every hotel in Jamaica to find me. They were always that concerned, or should I say over-possessive. Since the disappearance of Benny Calderon, my friend and neighbor, four years ago, my parents had become paranoid with my security. Benny Calderon went missing after he was last seen on the tennis court a block from our street. Benny’s body was found in a ditch two days later with multiple stab wounds. His loving girlfriend, Gabriel Chantal, also one of my closest friends, hadn’t been seen since Benny’s funeral. Her parents, who lived in lower Manhattan, would only say she was okay, and had moved out to California.

Benny’s murder had hit us hard, and to this day, visions of his smiling face haunted me in my dreams, on the tennis court, and all the places we had visited together with Gabriel. I needed these seven days in Jamaica badly.

Mid-way during the flight, the young lady sitting beside me got my attention. I remembered when she waltzed up to my seat, hips swaying, and a smile as warm as it could be. I had a window seat; there was no need for me to shift from my position, but her presence gave me the opportunity to stare into one of the most beautiful faces I had ever seen.

Need any help? I had asked, pointing to her hand luggage.

That’s alright, she had said, taking the small suitcase and pushing it into the overhead compartment easily.

She was Jamaican, I concluded. Her all too familiar accent couldn’t go unnoticed, as I had a few Jamaican students in my class in university and was accustomed to their way of speaking.

That was our only exchange. I was hoping to start a more meaningful dialogue, but somehow she got into reading her magazine, while I stared out into the blue above, and below, planning what I’d do for the next seven days.

If Jamaica lived up to my expectations, I could very well spend another seven days. For the time being though, I was settling on completion—seven days, one week. The moment the aircraft started to dip from its cruising altitude, my eyes started a wandering task. The lady beside me raised my curiosity again. I wanted to get a good look at her, although I didn’t want it to appear that obvious. The plane was about to land soon, and I wanted to get that done. Merely turning my head to look at her didn’t appear that simple. The close proximity of sharing an airline seat posed a predicament if either party wanted to see what the other looked like, unless a conversation developed, or the person was sleeping. For no apparent reason, I’d prefer her not to see me stealing a look.

All throughout the flight, I kept reminding myself that there was no harm in admiring this girl. The important thing was not to lust after her. My pastor at the Episcopalian Church we attended near the family home in Trenton, New Jersey, loved to remind the Young Men’s Group that there was a thin line between lusting and admiring. I used his admonition as a guide in situations like this one.

Having finished university, I could afford to relax, enjoy the world around me, get to know people, and start living as any ordinary 28 year old. Friendship was one of the reasons for embarking on such an adventure to the sunny Jamaican paradise. I didn’t know how Jamaica could provide me with more female friends, yet I was willing to try. I had heard so much about the land of reggae and Bob Marley that I made a commitment to myself that I would have to see this little wonder, someday. I wanted to have a real party here.

The trip had started out quite interestingly. Whatever I made of it would be up to me. Had Hartley and Byron been around, I would have the guts to do anything I wanted. Yet, I shouldn’t forget that one of my reasons for hopping on a plane was to overcome one of my inhibitions—shyness.

As the minutes ticked by, my mind was constantly engaged in trying to figure out a way to break the ice with my traveling companion, but to no avail. The plane shook, jerked, and vibrated from the impact of its wheels on solid surface, as it landed on Jamaican soil to much applause. I must admit that in all my many travels with my parents, I had never seen passengers expressing their gratitude for a safe flight in that manner—thunderous hand clapping. Perhaps it was a Jamaican practice. My mind wasn’t so much on the safe arrival to this tropical destination, as it was consumed with the diminishing minutes of arrival time.

Is that a Jamaican way of saying thank you? I managed to ask her, after the question popped into my mind.

Ha! We always do it that way, she smiled at me.

You live here?

I do. This is home.

Paradise for me.

Hope you’ll find it that way. Enjoy it, she smiled again.

Thank you…

I wanted to say something else, however, the plane had come to a stop and people were already moving out of their seats, including the lady beside me.

A peek through the window out into the indigo sky and sea signaled this was going to be one grand vacation. I could see the rolling hills enclosing the bay and city with its dotted buildings of all sizes and colours. The winding coastline was caressed by the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, which gradually faded into a deeper blue, as it stretched away from land onto the horizon. With little difficulty, I could see why thousands of visitors flocked to this island nation each day. If the solitary reason was sun or sea, Jamaica was a prime exporter.

I rose after her, hoping to help her take down the suitcase this time. The bungling made it difficult to place me in the appropriate position to ask. I decided there was no way she was going to leave me here like that. But my luck ran out yet another time. The person sitting in the opposite seat came out in time to follow her. By the time she stepped off, another person in the next seat picked the small space behind her. In no time, I saw my coveted position slipping away like a disappearing dream.

Me, I made it out of my seat, displaying some civility rather than patience. Any public display of disruptive behavior to disallow a smooth flowing line of people would be out of my character. I was brought up to respect rules and regulations, shunning anything with an appearance of disorder. Although I had been aspiring to be a real man since this morning, I had no intention of doing anything different for the sake of being on my own. Yet, I yielded to the temptation to experiment with something out of my character. I decided to worm my way through the line in order to follow her, but it was in vain; she was nowhere to be seen.

She disappeared out of my sight within a glimpse of the eye. The swelling line, consisting of heads, shoulders, and luggage, swallowed her like an unruly and impatient mob. Nevertheless, I made my way to the immigration desk to be greeted by a young, petite, woman who seemed unable to stop smiling. Whether it was a plastic smile or not wasn’t for me to decipher. What I could detect though was the friendliness in her voice. That should come as no surprise, as I often heard that an enviable attribute of the Jamaican people was friendliness.

Welcome to Jamaica sir, the Immigration Officer said, her bulging eyes beaming up at me. How long yuh going to stay fo’, she asked, the smile far from leaving her face.

I’ll be here for a week…seven days, I replied.

Yuh have a return ticket, sir? she asked.

Yes, I’ve a return ticket.

Have to ask, sir. So many touris’ don’t want to leave’ere. Dem fall in love with de place, wid de people, wid everything, she chuckled.

Hmm. Hope I’ll be one of them, I grinned at her. But I’ll stay for only seven days.

Yuh neva’ know, sir, she said, shuffling through my airline ticket. She didn’t look at any of the details on it; she only wanted to ensure I had it. Happy hunting, she grinned, as I was about to step away.

That’s encouraging, I replied.

No problem mon. Sometimes we run a joke like dat to single guys like yuh, she teased.

I’m surely going to need some luck, I said, remembering that lady on the plane.

It was becoming obvious to me that a popular phrase among Jamaicans was no problem mon. I had heard it used by the few Jamaicans I came in contact with in New York, I heard it on the plane, and right here on Jamaican soil.

I almost gasped for breath when I stepped out of the airport to board the small tour bus that would take me to the hotel. The sky was cloudless, and far from being hot, sticky, and sweaty, a cool gust of wind came across from the hillside opposite the hotel. The wind was shoved right into my face, although it wasn’t the abundance of fresh air that made me panted.

The face that smiled at me briefly before it disappeared behind the windscreen of a passing car sent goose pimples up and down my spine. My eyes had strayed to the hills in awe of the beauty of the surroundings, followed by another beauty of a different sort. The sparkling eyes that emerged from a dark face with evenly placed lips parted slightly to reveal perfect white teeth, were the images before me. Her eyes rested on me for a few seconds observing my tall and slender frame, my sandy, neatly combed hair, and those dark eyes of mine that were penetrating her face like x-rays.

I was at a loss in those few seconds, that didn’t number more than about thirty, before the car’s muffler puffed a curl of blue, pungent carbon monoxide and sped away into infinity. My eyes trailed the car out of sight wondering if the lady in it had been looking behind her. In fact, that was what she had been doing. The increasing distance made eye contact obscure; needless to say, the mere fact she was looking in my direction was enough for me.

Conceivably, I was over-reacting, I thought. I tried to analyze the whole picture. Imagine traveling with a woman beside you for a little over three hours. Whether you spoke to her or not was beside the point. There was likelihood that should you meet that person on the street, in a store, or even at the airport, it was natural that a glance was nothing out of the ordinary. The person might simple want to be certain that you were the one sitting beside you.

Welcome to Jamaica, the driver of the bus said, interrupting my precious thoughts, as the six or so passengers secured their seats. Here, there’s no rush to do anyt’ing. Jus’ tek it easy and everyt’ing will be alright mon, he said in his heavy Jamaican accent. I had heard Jamaican talk that I could barely understand. This man was trying his best to be understood.

I resumed thinking about the airplane lady as I sat in my seat. What I couldn’t understand was my reason for going head over heals about this stranger. All the opportunity I needed to establish some sort of contact was beside me on that flight, but I didn’t make use of it. Each time I thought about the missed chances, I became encouraged that I would be meeting others. My parents would think I was out of my mind to look as far as here when there were many girls in New York. Byron and Hartley could only pat me on the shoulder, commending me on scoring at last. The fact was I never had a girlfriend. I had a gut feeling my lonely disposition was about to change.


Seaside Resort Hotel was living up to its name. The resort was perched along a stretch of beach west of the Sangster’s International Airport, fifteen minutes away. The beauty of this island, near and far, was breathtaking.

I recalled reading a historical text about Jamaica last week that I got from our travel agent. Spanish Explorer Christopher Columbus landed here on May 5, 1494, on the island’s north coast at an area now called Discovery Bay. Asked by Queen Isabella of Spain to describe the island, Columbus was reported to have crushed a piece of paper in his hand and threw it down on a table, meaning it was a mountainous island. He further described it as a land of wood and water the fairest isle eyes have ever beheld.

From what I could see so far, the controversial explorer wasn’t lying. He summed it up pretty well. This island was awesome. The crystal clear waters, the glittering white sand carpeting the shore, the rolling hills,

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