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  • Writer's pictureNick International

Memories - Part I

Memories – A series of random prose and narratives; freestyle writing and having some fun.

Part I

< - That's me. I think I was 20, idk.

If you’ve got younger relatives, or siblings in your family then you’re familiar with what I call the “holy shit, I’m THAT person now” feeling. Personally, it has happened to me more often than I care to catalogue – no issue with sharing my age, I am 32. It’s usually in the moments when I hear my younger cousin rapping a J.Cole lyric like “First things first rest in peace Uncle Phil, for real” and then he goes “Nicholas, who is Uncle Phil?” It sends my brain into a fucking tailspin. Every. Single. Time.

It also happens in a different context, when I am driving. There’s a feeling travelers will understand when you return home after being away for a while, things look different, but aren’t really different, ya know? You’re more so readjusting to familiar scenery after being in a different setting for so long. Take that feeling, and add crack to it and that’s how I feel when I drive down Prince Charles Drive, for example.

It’s how I feel when my brain goes “Hmm, wait a second, this is how this looks now, but not how it looked before, but somehow I can’t find the file of how it looked before”. It’s like an alternative-déjà vu or something; I’m really fishing for a term here.

If you still don’t get it then try this. Can you remember what Cable Beach looked like after you pass the Bahamas Development Bank, before Baha Mar came along? I remember that you’d pass Breezes, The Nassau Beach Hotel, Sbarro, Blue Note (wow, I miss Blue Note. That $10 all you can drink happy hour was the business) but I cannot piece together what the rest of the area looked like. Out of sight, out of mind, out of memory.

I don’t know much about how the human brain works, but it feels like there is a constant phase of updates that automatically moves things into your mental trash bin. Then, your brain disabuses you of the idea that anything has changed and replaces the memory with the reality. It causes me to feel like I am living in a state of modular reality, or to put in Bahamian terms – like I freakin’ fuckin’ out daddi.

When last have you thought about the Shirley Street Theatre? That Saturday Matinee was the best shit ever during the summer. I think the last film I watched in that theatre must have been George Clooney’s first Batman film where Tommy Lee Jones played “Harvey Two-Face”.

One Saturday, boy did I get swing. I went to the movies with my Mom, and after the movie was done we went to G.R. Sweeting to go and buy school uniforms and supplies. I never liked shopping with people hence I say I get swing. I haven’t been in that building since it became Insurance Management, but I can fondly recall the staircase up the middle and the free pencil cases that always smelled like the kind of plastic old people put on furniture.

What about that? Muddasick. Bey, everyone had that relative – usually a Grammy, or Gran Aunt – that used to have every piece of furniture in the damn house covered in that thick plastic. The kind of plastic where if that shit tears, it could almost cut you. Who needs a sauna? You go and sit on that plastic in some gabardine material or Dickie’s pants with a long sleeve shirt on and you’ll sweat out your sins waiting for Grams to get ready for church.

Even going to church was a different experience. I don’t go often (read, I don’t really go at all) but I’ll be damned if I don’t remember those yellow and red candies. You know exactly which candies I am talking about. As a child, you could take up quite the bounty if you taxed every woman with a purse over 60 for 1 candy every church service. If you’re around my age, you’ll remember what summer time in church used to be like before the advent of evangelical air conditioning. Those squeaky “school fans” in the ceiling were more of a safety concern than of any help in the Nassau summer.

There’s something so magical about this kind of nostalgia. Keep rolling; I’ve got a couple more things that popped into my head.

Before capitalism hit junkanoo it used to be a free for all to clamor for a space along Bay Street. I was just a little boy at this point, so my Dad used to put me on his shoulders and walk through the crowd. In hindsight, that must have felt like an “off the shoulder” costume to him.

Summer time in Nassau was a totally different flex. I’m thinking of being 13 vs. being 18. At 13, the only thing I cared about was the annual power boat race. There was only one bridge at the time so it was safer I suppose; there’s really nothing quite like hearing those engines at full tilt propelling the boats through Nassau Harbor.

Now, at 18 that was a different ball game entirely. You could ‘a call me Blue Note Papi back then because as soon as I got my driver’s license and a vehicle I was flexing. Butler and I have been mobbin’ for decades and we used to ride his ole lady Chevy Lumina like it was a Maybach.

I am guessing that this is the reason if anyone opens Bacardi Razz remotely near me my stomach folds up. We used to go out and get (responsibly) mash up, and then hit up his big brother who used to carry us to D & C’s for food. Bey listen, we sat on the back of this navy-blue-faded-purple-ish F150 and passed around two plates; one was curry mutton, the other one was conch. Can’t do that shit anymore. Covid and crime ruined it.

You ever pulled up by ya gal, and her Mommy was home so you had to sit in the living room and have a chat, maybe drink some lemonade or something. I always wondered, are mom’s aware? Do they sit there thinking “Yeah, ya’ll ain about to be doing no freshness round here.” Mum, I only came to kiss and grab a boongey cheek, it ain that serious.

Those years were wild, tell the truth and shame the devil you know you tried to juice in ya car before. Did you get caught? You really used to be able to ride around kind of carefree with a cold six pack of Kalik and a solid CD and the CD had to be Culture 5 or Reggae BackTraxxx. I didn't mind when the CD used to whisper "Hit City, Hit City, Hit City, Hit City" but we all know who was running the CD road....



Image Credits: (1) -Uncle Phil (2) - Nassau Beach Hotel (3) - powerboat

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