Thursday 13th March 2014
BA flight 2263 touched down smoothly at Normal Manley International Airport at precisely 16.25, its expected time of arrival to applause and cheer from the predominantly Jamaican passengers.
I felt a small flutter in my stomach and a wave of anticipation washed over me. What would I recognise after 16 years? (In fact when I did the maths properly I realised that it’s actually 17 years since I was last home).
I was pleased my niece recognised me – because, despite the photo she’d sent I didn’t recognise her. We hugged and hugged and hugged some more, and people around us watched and smiled. One man cheered as though he felt the connection I was making with this family member that I had not seen in years.
I didn’t care how odd they would consider me as I kneeled and kissed the ground, and spoke silently to my ancestors that I hoped it met with their approval.
After meeting my niece’s son we were swiftly taken into Kingston via the expansive Palisadoes with the sea on our left and the sea defence on our right. I took in the flour mill and concrete factory before heading into the more residential areas. I remembered nothing of what I’ve been told are the significantly changed district of Harbour View and Maxfield Avenue where I once lived as a child of 8 years.
I did however remember the pulsating sounds of the street corner music, and the vibrant colours of the flowers. Yes, I’m home. So much more to rediscover.