JAZZ FEST AND THE MYSTERY~A Short Story
Lightly back and forth swung the hammock as the tropical breeze blew. Ali had her eyes softly shut as she thought on the past events she had learned about in the precedent year. How her mother could of lived such a mysterious secret life without a single soul knowing about it?
Ali was a petite twenty three year old woman now, but she still felt like a teenager as her life seemed to be a big unsolved jig saw puzzle. She had a tan, but even without a tan Ali’s skin tone was a medium bronze color. She always knew her father whom her mother barely talked about must had been a man of dark color seeing that her mother was a pale white woman with sandy blonde hair. Ali had not looked hardly anything like her mother. Every time Ali would ask her mother Coreen about her father, she would just simply reply “there is nothing to tell and it doesn’t matter any way because we have each other Ali.”
With dark skin tones Ali was a stunning girl having strawberry blonde wavy afro-ish hair, and sea green eyes that reflected blue sometimes when in a certain light hit her face. Today as she lay on the hammock Ali wore a halter bathing suit top with matching bikini bottoms of a tropical pink print. Her black flip flops were strewn on the ground haphazardly. As Ali’s mind drifted it went to the date a year ago when she met her estranged father for the first time.
Almost a year to this date Ali against her mother’s wishes flew to the United States to meet her father for the first time in Hartford Connecticut. They had arranged to meet in a public place where Garmin was to be taking pictures of all the musicians at the Jazz Fest in the Bushnell Park. He had back stage passes set aside for both him and Ali.
It was eleven o’clock by the time Ali found a parking place with her rented car. She was amazed she found some where to park for free on a one way street just across from the park. Not knowing exactly her way around Ali had her back pack on and carried her lawn chair in hand and set off for the tents she saw set up in a far distance in the park.
Even though it was still morning you could tell the day was going to be a scorcher the way the heat seemed already to make the air hot and sticky as Ali walked towards the tents. As Ali approached the tents she saw that they were not the stage as she had guessed but venders selling a number of different foods, drinks, and ice cream. A little further into the park it was made up of venders selling wares like clothing, jewelry and hats, as well as your typical novelty balloons. Past all the tents finally Ali saw the stage in a distance which was almost a ball field in length away. Ali had been told to go to the far left of the stage underneath the trees to meet Garmin. As Ali grew near to her final destination she saw no one yet that resembled what Garmin described himself as or the pictures he had sent to her. Ali set up her chair underneath the large shade tree and waited as patiently as possible when one is anticipating meeting their father for the first time.
There were not many people as of yet gathered in front of the stage, because it was still very early. Every dark skin man caught Ali’s eyes as she wondered “could that be my father?”
An hour went by and still no Garmin in sight. Ali decided to light up a cigarette. Every time she lit one up she knew it was wrong and a danger to her health but by now she was hooked on the nicotine, and what ever chemicals they added. Actually usually when she smoked it was out of shear boredom.
When Ali’s cell phone rang it startled her and she fumbled for it in her short’s pocket. It was Garmin on the phone saying he was running late but should be there in about fifteen minutes. Ali’s heart raced, and than she calmed herself by lightening up one more cigarette. Even sitting in the shade the air felt as if it was thick so it made it hard to breathe, and the distant objects wavered as if she was seeing a mirage.
Suddenly there was an African looking man walking towards where Ali sat. He had on a western shaped straw hat and looked very confident with his walk. Ali recognized him as Garmin from the pictures he had sent her on the net. He walked directly up to her and announced himself offering a hug which Ali gladly took in a warm manner. Garmin said “We will have a good talk just after I set some of this stuff up”, and that is when Ali noticed the dolly that held a cooler, picnic basket, and a suit case she assumed held Garmin’s camera equipment, as well as his own mustard colored lawn chair.
It was about one o’clock when Garmin finally sat down and chatted with Ali. At first the conversation went on with the general stuff like “how are you?” “the weather” and “It is so nice to finally meet you”. After awhile though the conversation went into the nitty gritty stuff like, “what happened years ago when Ali was a baby”, “Why Garmin wasn’t allowed to stay in her life”, and “things Ali never would had known about her mother”.
Ali was in much shock about most of the stories and tried as she listened to digest it all and couldn’t help but be in disbelief about most of it. Garmin and Ali talked until four o’clock when the Jazz Fest started. The whole evening was wonderful, and to think Ali for the first time since a baby was with her father! Garmin introduced her to a whole other world! Ali met musician after musician and was in seventh heaven to do so!
At the end of the evening Garmin made sure Ali made it safely to her car, and they said a very touching goodbye. Ali drove safely back to her hotel with a whirl wind of things on her mind. Ali had plenty of things to think about as she flew home on her flight the next day.
As she lay in her hammock still with the breeze cooling her body down from the hot tropical air, Ali rethought the story of her mother’s double life that she was told by Garmin. The whole idea of her mother being a whole other person was so hard to digest and comprehend? Her mother Coreen really Cathy a drug dealer? The same mother she knew as a Girl Scout leader, the same mother that was diligent in driving her to private school, dance lessons, piano lessons, and swimming lessons had a whole other life in her background?
According to Garmin he met Coreen (who’s name than was Cathy at that time) years before Ali was conceived. They had a dating relationship for a few months or so, when Coreen suddenly moved out of state to Florida. Garmin had always missed Cathy and at one point found himself in the part of Florida Cathy supposedly moved to. Garmin called a mutual friend and asked for Cathy’s address so he could look her up. Cathy was receptive for his visit and invited Garmin over. A total shock it was to Garmin to find a baby living with Cathy! Garmin asked the age of the child and started to do the math, finally asking Cathy if the baby was his? At first Cathy denied that the baby was Garmin’s but finally she admitted that indeed it was his.
The baby’s name at the time was “Alurera Alistra” which meant “alluring flower” according to Cathy. Cathy allowed Garmin to participate in Alurera’s life. He often baby sat for her and spent as much quality time as possible with Alurera.
Shockingly one day for Garmin all the visits with Alurera and Cathy came to an abrupt stop! Garmin as he usually did headed to Cathy’s house to find it empty! Alurera and Cathy had disappeared into thin air! Desperate to find them Garmin headed to Cathy’s mothers house to ask her where they had gone? The only answer that Garmin got from Cathy’s mother was that she had no idea where they went? The only thing the mother knew is that Cathy had come over there and dug up a package in her back yard and that was the last she saw of her.
Garmin was beside himself! Where could they be? Finally Garmin called the friend they had in common, Frankie, and that is when to Garmin a whole other light on Cathy was revealed!
Frankie explained to Garmin that Cathy had in the past been a very big drug dealer. One of the biggest in all of North America! Cathy had gotten arrested once inadvertly at another small time drug dealer’s house and she ended up before she met Garmin serving a five year prison sentence. Garmin could never have fathomed or guessed such a thing of Cathy. Garmin now was very perplexed.
Frankie went on to explain about Cathy. He said “What most people thought was that the millions of dollars (that Cathy had hidden in her mothers yard) was considered taken by the authorities”. “However in actuality Cathy had it neatly hidden away and never used it even in the years that she had Alurera”. Frankie said Cathy had bided her time until all the heat was off, even crying poor to poverty all those years, until that one day she decided to disappear with her baby Alurera. The consensus was according to Frankie, is that Cathy finally decided to change her and the baby’s name and move out of the country to start over, and that if at this time she didn’t want to be found she never would be. Garmin was heart broken. It wasn’t until Ali contacted Garmin did he ever know where Cathy and Alurera disappeared to almost twenty years later.
Consequently what had happened at that point was that Ali who had turned twenty threatened her mother she would hire a private investigator to find her father, in which Cathy now Coreen broke down and gave Ali Garmin’s name and possible address. This was the only information needed that gave the father and daughter finally the opportunity to meet after all these years.
Back and forth Ali rocked a little harder in the hammock as she thought in disgust that the mother she had known all her life was in actuality a former drug dealer! Ali’s mother was some one who started a secret life over in this foreign country! The same mother who supplied Ali and herself with new names and identities! They had lived a lavished life in this tropical paradise almost all of Ali’s life, and she had no idea!
Yes Ali had lived a privileged life along with her mother. Of course Ali had turned out to be a great law abiding citizen. Ali had everything she ever wanted, but still she couldn’t help but be confused about her mother and the truth of the whole situation?
Back and forth Ali now calmly rocked. Her mind drifted at the pleasant time she had with her father at the Jazz Fest. She could almost hear in the distance the jazz music playing in the background. Back and forth she swayed to the Jazz Fest in her dreams.
Lisa J. Warner