You are on the hunt in your new friends’ record collections, for something that races faster than you can think, darker than you can fear and bursting with something that every teenager knows but none can describe.
We christen ourselves 21 and try on adult poses for size. First weekend getaway. First time post summer but out of school. First time with girls. First time with a girl who may or may not be fucking one of the boys. That boy is Hughie.
Five minutes. Go for what boys like. Those five words hit you like they came from the mountaintop. Offer it, bitch. The boy that boys hate will become a girl that boys like and throw a wrench into the adolescent horn dog machine.
Most days you just show up—nothing to do, but wait for electricity back home, but today you’re summoned by Hughie because there is a crisis. One of us is going the other way. The crisis that can only be spoken in euphemism because to just say it might bring the curse upon oneself, and AIDS is still judging the planet.
Because sex is everywhere, but mostly over there. Sex is a rumour of school girls, pantyless hoisting themselves on boys in the back of buses. Minibuses packed tight girl-boy-girl and boy-girl-boy while Shabba Ranks pumps through the speakers hard and stiff fi mek she boom shift.
Then in September the hurricane comes and flattens the island. The prime minister tells CNN that it looks like Hiroshima, but you’re the only one out of 2.5 million who sees this as a fresh start. Flatten everything. Obliterate everything. Tidal wave wash, gale force sweep, cleanse, rinse, knock those fucking trees down, rip off a roof, rise out of an erased memory, who wanted their fucking name carved in that fucking tree anyway.