Jayson lives on Fiji time. Slow, consider, possibly a few minutes late and always the last to finish his meal. My late father-in-law said of a teenage Jayson that he could write a book called ‘Waiting For Jayson’.
He was Alex’s friend but as we went to school together I have known him for over 20 years. It has only been in the last 8 or so years has he become a constant in our lives. And since becoming sick I couldn’t have ask for more from a friend. Anything we needed was on offer. Anything Alex needed in terms of support, a distraction, a laugh he was there.
I never really understood (or took the time to get to know) younger Jayson. He wasn’t in many of my classes (maybe I’d written him off for not being intelligent enough and therefore not worthy of my time). He also didn’t have blue eyes therefore he wasn’t my type, which is much more likely the cause of my lack of interest because I have come to love adult Jayson for his many quirks and his clever mind. He is well-read, an astute businessman and a doting dad. But what I love most is his ability to be true to himself in a fast-paced world.
If Jayson is the turtle, the Jennelle is the hare in this love story. Frenetic pace, sharp wit, sharp tongue. She is always a few steps ahead. Sometimes a few years ahead. Behind every good man…. Isn’t that the saying??
I first met Jennelle the day before her wedding. She picked us up from the island’s airstrip in her Barbie pink golf cart with her name emblazoned on the side. Buxom, peroxide-blonde, and bejewelled.
Jayson had called Alex a week before the wedding and said in his typical laid-back, casual style ‘hey I’m getting married in a few days, do you want to come?’ I had been travelling constantly for many years at that stage and was always up for a last minute trip, so I booked.
As time went by I slowly got to know her and she me. They were regular visitors to Europe and therefore we saw a lot of them when we lived in the UK. For some reason I think she liked me…. I don’t think I was a threat. I wasn’t your typical island wife. I was smart, not a great beauty, not blonde. And I saw through something that most people couldn’t.
I worked her out on my wedding day. As the sun rose, and we downed shots of tequila greek style (with orange and cinnamon, instead of salt and lemon) I realised that this woman with a tough exterior had a soft core, and a heart of gold. I thought she was playing a role that was given to her when she first met people. She did nothing to change that assumption. But I saw through it.
I often imagine her in battle fatigues. I know I can learn a lot from her. She is strong willed, determined and stubborn as all hell. I have those qualities too, but don’t know how best to use them some times. I get a lesson every time I am in her presence.