Excerpts from my Life / by Jason Johnson

 

 

 

You hope and you dream, but you never believe that something is going to happen for you......

2002

To my left Usher,  to my right Kanye West, behind me Christina Milian, and Jaime Foxx, at this point I'm surrounded in a room of celebrities I've only seen on tv and music videos before. The red buttoned up shirt and dark denim jeans I was wearing all of a sudden didn't make feel dressed up enough , I'm in the VIP section with people other people idolize, and to think I'm only 17 and the legal age to be in a club is 19. Usher gets on the mic and instructs the crowd to dance and in that moment I felt a rush, goosebumps down my arm because this moment for me was soo surreal....

In this bright future you can't forget your past.

- Bob Marley

1992

The squealing of the parakeet grew louder and louder, its as if it was mimicking my bawling. I let the tears from my eyes run freely and shouted from the top of my lungs catching my breath in between each word  "DON'T .......  GO!"  She slowly approached the minivan, even though she knew she had to go and was pressed for time, my eyes filled with tears blurred the image of her and at this moment all I can see is the  watery silhouette of my mother....

I use to dread waking up in the mornings.

I opened my eyes slowly, the aroma of Callaloo and Saltfish had found its way to my nostrils, this day was turning out to be a fine day I thought to myself, I hurried to the shower so I could hurry to my breakfast that awaited me. My Grandmother shouted "Hurry Up" in her soft Jamaican accent slightly influenced by a British accent as well. My Grandmother in my eyes was a strong woman, about 5'7" in height, the minor wrinkles shaped a womans face that has been no stranger to laughter. her Build Slender not skinny, I've always thought of her as someone who was militant and organized in her actions. I respected her dearly. She calls out again "Jason Hurry Up, before yuh Mek yourself late". I rushed to get changed into the already ironed uniform my grandmother had pressed for me earlier. The crease in my khaki pants were straight and sharp enough to cut whatever came close. I admired my breakfast with the second I had to do so, I had to eat quickly because I  was already running late for school. I Rushed out the door and somehow, as I  passed by the houses along the way I took note of the fact that every house had a similar look; One level , often left coloured by the materials which were used and they all seemed to have a veranda, as I ran faster to make sure I'm on time for the anthem, I remembered that I couldn't work up a sweat as sweat stains on your uniform were highly frowned upon and would result in me standing outside and being even further late. This heat surely wasn't going to make this easy I thought to myself. I felt a bead of sweat slid from my neck down to my back which was absorbed by my tucked in Khaki coloured shirt. My speed decreased, it was somewhere between a speed walk and brief moments of sprinting. Every so often I  checked myself and examined to see if I had any sweat stains. I was almost there I could see the writing on the side of the building "SOUTHBORO PRIMARY" I had arrived, but not on time, the gate was closed and a teacher stood near, her face was filled with disappointment. I swallowed whatever was left of my Saliva. Thristy from the run/sprint/speed walking I just did, beads of sweat now formulating around my forehead. It was if someone turned up the heat, she whispered for me to come in quietly. The Principal was about to make her morning announcements and sing the national anthem in the courtyard. From where I was standing I can see the platform stage directly in front of me and in front of the stage are rows of students from the different grades. Directly in front of me were about 3-4 kids who were also late, relieved I wasn't the only, and sad that I was one at the same time. I wondered.. "ETERNAL FATHER BLESS OUR LAND" the starting of the anthem interrupted my thought. Almost instinctively I placed my right arm across my body to my heart and stood in attention

The anthem continued...

"Guide Us with thy mighty hand, Keep us free from evil powers, Be our light through countless hours, To our leaders, great defender, Grant true wisdom from above, Justice, truth be our forever, Jamaica, land we love, Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica, land we love

Teach us true respect for all, Stir response to duty's call, Stregthen us the weak to cherish, Give us vision lest we perish, Knowledge send us Heavenly Father, Grant true wisdom from above, Justice, truth be ours forever, Jamaica, land we love, Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica, land we love.

Each time Jamaica was said there would be the sound of drums with the pattern "boom boom" so it would be Jamaica "boom boom" Jamaica "boom boom"  towards the end of the song the drum pattern got drowned out by the beating of my heart for I knew what was to come next. The song ended and the students placed their arms to the side of their body and at this point the principal approached the microphone and called on the students who were late. Again I swallowed for saliva that wasn't there. In her hand was a metre stick, Wider than the width of my 7 year old hands and looked as thick as the sole of my shoes. I knew what was about to happened, one by one we went up to the principal, "Extend Your Hand!" she yelled to the student in front of me. At my school the students who were late were often disciplined in front of the other students. My turn, I swallowed, my heart hurts at this moment. I wish I had ran faster I thought to myself. My palms sweaty at this point " Extend your Hand!" I was reluctant in doing so, and I can tell by her face that she was impatient at this point. I extended my hand. She raised her hand readying to strike down on my sweaty palm, tears began to swell up my eyes, but I intended on staying strong. With mighty force she struck down, the strength of her swing was so strong it broke the sound of the wind.

To be continued....