Sun on my skin, breeze blowing in the outfield.
Lying in the warm, kissing light of the festival.
I couldn’t have him here. He hates the sun.
The familiar rhythms oozing out of the speakers, that steady beat and shake of dancehall. It’s monotonous to him. He probably hates that, too.
That’s why he’s not with me. That’s why I don’t take him places that I enjoy.
Then he’d hate everything if he’s uncomfortable.
Then I’d hate him for having to listen to it.
It’s a manageable scattered sea of people, vibrant summer colors, tank tops and dark Rasta shirts. Licorice root vendor and the recycling volunteers, wearing a lei of plastic bottles around their bodies. Go green, Rasta.
The women, strut their tightest festival gear, with open-toed sandals, dancehall high heels and Caribbean earrings.
Signature midriff shirt.
Ankle-length, halter top summer dress.
The delicate fusion of appearing “earthy” and “available.”
The men, parading themselves and sometimes their women.
Stylish shirts that might be new, gathering with their friends as if they had someone to choose, a decision to make, a mating dance, all done in the festival sun.
You can tell a lot about a man from his walk.
And here they were, gliding down the path from the stage.
Through the maze of blankets and last-minute picnics.
And they stroll.
Broad shoulders and wavy hair.
Strong jawlines and working hands.
But they are empty steps – with no purpose or standing.
Energetic bodies of vain promises.
An arena full of nothing.
No wonder the women are vigilant, alert in their feminine fashions to signal the parading male who will parallel a good life with the fierceness of his stride.
No wonder the men are frustrated.
This is where their women go – looking, window-shopping and exposing.
No wonder the women are suspicious.
To see their men, congregated in observant clusters, watching and studying the sea of listeners and availability, as if they had a course to chart, as if they had a village to protect, as if this is where their manhood boomed.
And I think of him and his complaining.
His sun too bright and the music too monotonous.
And how I’d never observe the ridiculous parade, if he were here.
“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” 1 Corinthians 15:33