Worms III

The windows of our Old Stony Hill Road home in Jamaica overlooked the gently rolling green valleys below us. Little Susie’s bedtime was just before the sun sank below the Caribbean Sea and my evening ritual was to watch the bright orange ball disappear into the distant shimmering water.

After I was tucked in and kissed goodnight, it was up to me to figure out a way to secretly stay awake, seeking out the slim crack of light from the hallway to read under the covers. I was probably successful a few times, but when I was put to bed, my mother fully expected me to fall asleep and stay asleep until the sun made its way back around in the morning. To ensure this, Mom often hid around the corner for a bit, listening for the incriminating sound of rustling bed sheets and then swinging around through my partially open doorway to catch me in the act.

Secret sneak reading became irrelevant in the face of another bout of “The Worms,” when my only goal was to successfully target the strategically placed trash can at the side of the sickbed. My sister, perched patiently on the other edge, was probably assigned sentinel duty to assure that my aim was true but her bored vigilance is comical.

Kaopectate was the disgusting stuff guaranteed to curb the emissions, but the dread at having that big soupspoon full of thick white chalky horrible tasting liquid shoved into the mouth that I refused to open was more than I could bear, and my little self usually became hysterical during the dosing ordeal. The promise of a ginger ale chaser was only mildly enticing, but I finally relented after my exasperated parents threatened to withhold the nightly sunset ritual if I didn’t take my medicine.

I capitulated and opened my mouth, gasping and crying, grudgingly grateful for the reward of watching the sun go to bed at the same time as I did. Somewhere in that very vivid memory, I hear “Red Sails in the Sunset,” maybe from an old record on the hi-fi downstairs, or maybe my sweet tired Dad was whistling for me, something he did well and often.

2 comments on “Worms III”

  1. Some people have the gift to write and some to paint……………but, to have both is truly wonderful for your friends. Thank you for sharing these gifts each month.

  2. You paint with words! Truly wonderful!❤️


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