The first time I heard Reggae music I thought it wonderfully life-enhancing: a joyous, feelgood rhythm that seemed to bring sunshine into even the dullest day.
For a few years, I immersed myself in its warm, pulsating glow.
Tracks by Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Toots Hibbert, Bob Marley, Burning Spear and the incomparable Gregory Isaacs, played on my portable cassette machine when I went training in the Craigantlet hills, back in the days when long-distance running was an integral part of my life.
Click here to listen to Bob Marley's One Love then enjoy the short story that follows.
One love! One heart! Let’s get together and feel all right ...
Shel mimed Bob Marley’s words to the musical ringtone of her fiancee’s mobile as the distinctive jingle sounded and Dave began jabbering to his mate about arrangements for the away-match that weekend.
One love! Shel smiled and thought about the boys she’d known before. She’d thought herself in love with some of them but not like this, not like it was with Dave: one love, one love forever.
They’d been together three years: a passionate affair that now had reached the mellow stage. Their lovemaking, wild and reckless in the beginning, had become a familiar, twice-weekly ritual. Shel was content, but sometimes thought wistfully of those raunchy sessions up on Mortlake Hill in the old ruined barn. It was blissful up there, high above the town, their own private Eden, where the air was crisp and invigorating, far from people and prying eyes. God, they’d made the earth move, she and Dave, back then.
Saturday came, she packed his sandwiches, promised to have his favourite supper ready when he got home. He was meeting his mate, Del, at the station.
Three o’clock, Shel turned on the radio: the match was live. She thought of him, just another anonymous face in the crowd, but special to her, so special. One love!
Just thinking about Dave made her tingle. Bored, and on impulse, she decided to hike up Mortlake Hill to get some air: perhaps recapture the magic that seemed somehow missing from their life together nowadays.
The afternoon was warm and Shel, dressed in fleece and jeans, set off up the Hill. Approaching its summit, she felt exhilarated and full of energy. As she passed the ruins of the old barn, she glimpsed movement: a figure, no two figures, half-clothed, darted out of sight behind a stone facade.
Shel smiled. Young lovers in our old love-nest, she thought. Bet I know what they’ve been up to, and who can blame them: it’s the perfect spot for a bit of the old al fresco. I’ll tell Dave: get him hot and sexy for tonight.
Snatching out her smartphone, Shel called Dave’s number.
After a moment’s wait, a familiar ringtone sounded in the ruined barn.
One love! One heart! Let’s get together and feel all right ....