Sunday’s I like to work. I respond to ignored emails and schedule auto send for Monday at 8am. I organize the NYC FTC social media and typically organize A. Bernadette social media. I take breaks from posting on social media. If I’m away to recharge and reconnect with myself, I’m sorry my public can not follow me. I’ve been guarded over this trip specifically. I didn’t want to rub in my good fortune. It’s surprising to me I’ve kept up with blogging for a whole 8 days in a row. This has been a good outlet to remember my thoughts, feelings, and opinions during this time without thinking to market them to the world. I didn’t want this trip to be reduced to a few pretty pictures.
Anyway… after finishing up pre-Monday morning work, I went to the beach. With my purple float and bright orange bikini I was surprised to find a smallish beach party at the police/coast guard house. I slipped by with only a few shouts to my normal spot that is tucked away. The sun was shining and no one was on the beach. Not any strange peepers. After about an hour a few kids and mothers started swimming towards one side. Two men approached the beach, coming right for me. Basic Jamaica interaction. “Hi, Princess. Can I talk to you?” Welp seeing how I am floating on a raft about 30 feet out, how can I say no. “Can I come swimming with you?”
“Sure.” I say as the man if fully clothed. This man got up and walked right into the water. Laughing out loud, “I didn’t think you were actually going to do it.” Blah, blah, blah conversation.
“Would you like to go on my boat?” asked the man.
“Yes, I would love to go on your boat.” Five years ago at this same beach I boarded a boat with a handful of fishermen. We circled the coast, saw the resorts, and other stuff. It was liberating and relaxing. I’ve had sketchy boat rides before. All good.
“I’m going to go get my boat,” stated the man.
With a little chuckle, “Okay.” This man walks out of the water, shouts to his friend, and trudges down the beach as his too tight pants and shirt gather sand.
About 15 mins later the hum of an engine heads my way. He docks right up on the beach and shows me a giant red snapper they have caught. “Let’s go eat fish,” he says.
This is escalating quickly. “Alright, what’s your name again? And your friend's name? And you aren’t going to murder me right?”
He laughs and says, “Seeing as I met you at a police party, I don’t think so.”
I laugh nervously and jump on in. As we jetted off, only have conversed a few sentences, I have a sinking feeling I’ve just put myself down the track of being trafficked. Perhaps it was the lack of conversation, or the fact this man was still in his soaking wet clothing, fly open, looking at me hungrily. I ask his friend where he is from. He mumbles a response and muk up the translation. “Sorry, I’m still learning,” I say as he corrects me.
“Yes, you will learn,” he says a little too clearly. I shutter internally.
He first head over to another beach, pick up some cooked fish, sodas, and greets other fishermen. I feel a bit better seeing as I have more witnesses. What really bugs me out is that fact I don’t have my phone. I never understood why people don’t want to be tracked. I like being tracked. It means someone can find my body and my mom won’t have to go trekking through the jungle to find me. Mom, if you are reading this. Don’t find me. I had a good life. Let me go.
Alright, dramatic moment over. We then head past the local resort to catch a few and eat our fish. The fish is boney. We throw the bones overboard. He says if I like lobster. He tells me he wants to cook for me. We drive a bit further out to check the lobster traps. As we drive away I see the plastic bag that held the food floating in the ocean. This is a bad man I think. A litterer. The trash is getting to me. Trash in the water, on the beach yet the roads are kept pretty clean. I start to wonder what type of water I’ve been swimming in.
We start to head back to the shore. Nothing but a harmless little boat ride. What made me have this reaction? Is it all the human trafficking webinars? Is it COVID risk aversion vibes?
I know some of you reading may question my judgement but it takes courage to live well.