Initiator: Carla Gelbaum – Study No. 22 for You Are Here Series

Initiator Artist: Carla Gelbaum
Artwork Title: Study No. 22 for You Are Here Series
Size: 11 x 14″
Medium: Mixed media
Price: NFS (prints available)

Responder Author: Elana O’Loskey
Writing Title: Blue Harbour
Price: $11

Brice dozed off during the two hour drive from the airport to Port Maria, 12 miles east of Ocho Rios. It was 82 degrees. Her travel outfit took her comfortably from Canada to Jamaica. The socks that kept her feet warm during the flight were in her backpack. Every time her driver, Roy, went around a hairpin curve he beeped the horn to warn other drivers. Soon they arrived at Blue Harbour, Noel Coward’s former seven acre estate located right on the water.

Roy ushered her through a wide entrance into the main house where the staff introduced themselves. Marco, the manager, welcomed her as the first to arrive from her family. He led her through the living and dining rooms out to the veranda. The view of the Caribbean took her breath away. Choosing the comfiest chair, she settled in to cool off.

There were trays set out with rum punch, hand-squeezed lemonade, iced tea, and sliced fruit. Marco said, “Brice, please help yourself. You’ll be staying in Villa Chica – your bags are already there. You can wait for your family here; we can show you to your Villa; or we can give you a tour of the property. This is the main house, known as Villa Grande, where Noel Coward lived. The third bungalow is Villa Rosa. Feel free to explore or rest. Be careful on the steps down to the saltwater pool. All staff members work here in the main house; just walk to the front entrance to find us.”

As Brice sipped a rum punch, her body seemed to float off the veranda over the Caribbean. Mesmerized, she heard waves breaking on the shore; the water fanned out in a thousand shades of blue. Ah, this is why she left Canada: sunshine, beach. Family. Heaven. She dozed off again and awoke to someone ‘tickling the ivories.’ Sure enough, Uncle Samuel was playing “Beautiful Dreamer” on the piano in the living room. Brice snuck up behind him; when he finished the last bar she put her hands around his eyes and said, “Guess who?” Laughing, he said, “I told you this is paradise! Am I right, or am I right? Your Aunt will be out in a minute. She’s changing into an outfit she bought to match her red hat.”

When her aunt joined them, Brice led them to the veranda and offered them drinks. Both chose iced tea. Their drinks empty, Brice said, “Let’s take a stroll around the property.” They were game. Stone walls terraced the property right down to the water. They listened to bird call from the lush fruit trees and landscaped hillside. It was nothing like Canada. “I can’t wait to wake up to the bird call,” said Aunt Anna. As they walked along the shore, the breeze off the ocean twirled out the pleats in her new cotton voile skirt.

“Anna,” said Uncle Samuel, “you look just like Marilyn Monroe in “Some Like it Hot!” Their laughter floated up through the canopy of trees. Just then a Jamaican monarch with orange and black markings flitted by. As they watched it bob along the shore Uncle Samuel said, “I’m so glad we’re here together; I can’t wait for everyone else to come.” They all smiled.

© 2023 Elana O’Loskey