After three weeks in Scotland, the humidity of Jamaica makes the air physically thick and hard to walk through, like you’re wading through some sort of steam room, some impossibly warm ocean. I haven’t slept for almost fifty hours by the time I get to the resort. My brother and almost-sister-in-law are watching the presidential debate; they hand me a cosmopolitan and I drink it without really tasting it. Which is good, I guess, because I hate cosmopolitans.
The next morning we eat breakfast outside by the ocean. I wake up with mosquito bites ringing my ankle. When my parents get there, my mother starts crying and then pretends not to recognize me. Is this one of your friends? she asks my brother. He’s not paying attention.
We go to a place called the Pork Pit for dinner. My brother’s friend hands me a beer and three Styrofoam containers of salad, which is basically the only thing I can eat. Someone finds fried plantains and my mom and my brother and I sit squashed on one side of the booth, eating piece after piece after piece.
I sleep in my aunt’s room because her internet works. The next morning, she tells me she can’t remember the last time I looked this happy. That’s sort of different for you, she says, struggling to clasp a necklace. I’ve been up since four. In Scotland, it is the afternoon.
Oh, I don’t know, I say vaguely.
I stand waist-deep in the ocean. My six year old niece tugs my bathing suit top down and laughs like a little hyena.
At night the tree frogs are so loud it sounds like a thousand little sirens, a forest full of car alarms.
Are you going to wear that dress again? says my mom.
My jet lag lasts for three days. I keep a mental countdown in my head and fall asleep with my phone in my hand.