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Full Circle

Full Circle

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Home is Where The Heart Is! Years have past and Diana Boyd wanted to return to Jamaica to find her long lost siblings. Ignoring the warnings from her grandmother not to open closed doors, Diana began the search for her siblings while enjoying the distraction of her aunt's handsome neighbor, Robert Cassidy. However, the more Diana uncovered about her siblings the more unsettling her relationship with Robert became...
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Sometime in the Past

The siblings made an untidy heap in the one-room dwelling. They crouched in a corner, as they listened to the piteous cries of their mother as she tried to push another child into the world.
The thin curtain that separated the only bed in the cramped space fluttered in the breeze. Their mother howled like an animal in pain, and they flinched each time the ugly sounds burst from her mouth.
“Stop the noise,” the grandmother screeched bitterly as she attended to her daughter. “You have done this eight times now, and you are still bawling. Is it sympathy that you want? Well, you are not getting any from me.”
“Mama, let her be,” Aunt Catherine declared. “She is giving them away one by one. Just yesterday the Chinese lady asked for Patricia, and the Newbys asked for Dalton."
Diana glanced at Dalton and Patricia. They were twins, only two years old, and half-Chinese.
Flynn looked at her and grinned, pushing his thumb up in the air. They loved their little brother and sister; they seemed like dolls to them, and they wanted the best for them. When they were gone, that would leave just three children at home, four if you counted the new baby, since the older siblings lived with their grandparents and other relatives.
“Why can’t it be me?” Tara mumbled in Diana's ear as their mother let out another ear-splitting scream.
"Why doesn't anybody want me, is it because I am too black?" she whimpered, sidling up to Diana, her little-malnourished body-hugging hers.
Diana hugged and rocked her. She was just five years old, and yet she felt like the mother of her little flock of brothers and sisters.
Tara had just turned four, but she knew that she would probably live with their mother and her various men for the rest of her childhood.
Flynn crouched in the corner, his legs drawn up to his chest. He was always grinning, but tonight he wore a serious expression. It was as if all the stuffing had been ripped out of his little fun-loving self.
He put a finger in his mouth and hanged his head, his tousled curls falling over his brows. He was half-white, and the question of race depressed him just as much as Tara. He frequently asked if his blond hair and hazel eyes made him look too white.
No black family in rural Jamaica would take him. He would be too much of a stark reminder that their mother was once the mistress of Mr. Ian McTaggert, the property owner who practically held the livelihood of the village in the palm of his hand.
“What about you, Diana?” Flynn whispered. “Don’t you want to leave?” His eyes widened in the dark and Diana could see the fear in them.
She looked at him incredulously. “Of course I want to leave. ”
Her paternal grandmother was sorting out her papers for her to go to the United States. That’s what her mother had talked about for days before she gave birth.
Her father’s mother insisted that she grow up with her side of the family, and she sometimes wrote long letters to her, which her Aunt Catherine would haltingly read. "Don't worry, Flynn." Diana squeezed his hands. He was just three, and she wanted to protect him forever. "I will never leave you." Touching his bony chest. “I will always be right there.”
“In his heart?” Tara asked, looking at Diana.
“Yes, and in yours too. I will always think of you and Flynn, and I will help you.” Diana smiled at them and then flinched as another ear-splitting scream rend the air.
"Oh, God … Mama!" yelled Aunt Catherine. "Call Doctor Lewis; she is not breathing at all."
The faint wail of a baby could be heard though, and they all huddled in fright in the corner of the hut that they called home.


Present Day

“Diana Boyd are you crazy?” her father yelled as he barged through her apartment door, dwarfing her grandmother who walked sedately behind him. She paused beside him and gave Diana a triumphant look before locking the door.
They both stared at Diana as if she had grown two horns and a tail. She resisted the urge to charge to the mirror to check that she had not.
She ran her fingers through her newly cropped curls and tried to remember that she was twenty-four, not twelve. She knew her grandmother would have gotten manpower to back her up. She expected Aunt Tracy and her husband, Pete, and her Uncle Raymond and his family, but obviously her grandmother decided to get the real big man, Thomas Boyd: the loud, father extraordinaire who wrote the book on how to emotionally blackmail children.
“Dad, I just mentioned to Nonna that I was thinking of going back to Jamaica. That’s all.”
Her grandmother shook her head in denial; her long, gray braids swayed behind her. “Wrong,” she said, moving from behind Thomas and taking center stage. Her ribbed, purple sweater hugged her thin frame.
“I quote: ‘I am going back to Jamaica to find my brothers and sisters and meet up with the rest of the family and sort out my life.’ End of quote.”
Her grandmother smirked after her speech and turned to her father who looked as if steam should be pouring from his ears.
“You just finished your graduate degree,” Thomas said, obviously trying to keep his temper under control. He was a big man, very muscular, and still handsome. His toffee-colored skin glowed under the lights in her cramped apartment, Diana could see that Nonna had dragged him from the gym; he was still in his sweat suit.
“You just got an offer to teach at that university you were talking about; you just got this new and bigger apartment, plus you have student loans. You have loads and loads of money to pay back. We are your family; forget Jamaica,” he finished in a rush.
Nonna nodded, egging him on as Diana leaned against the counter that separated her tiny kitchen from the dining room.
She stared at them in fascination. She told Nonna, only three hours ago, that she was planning to go to Jamaica, so clearly, they hadn’t met to plan a strategy to dissuade her—they were improvising. She stared at them, eager to see what would come next.
She knew better than to make a retort or even defend herself. She had studied her family for most of her life, and she was not going to make a bad move where this was concerned—next would come the emotional blackmail, and she braced for it.
“Diana, you know we love you,” pleaded Nonna, who looked genuinely distressed at the thought of her leaving the country.
Tears gathered in her eyes as she looked at Diana.
Diana hardened her heart against the tears. Last time she checked, Jamaica was a premier tourist destination that over a million visit each year. What was wrong with her wanting to visit for a while?
She was used to their clinging, bullying ways, and their absolute resistance to any show of independence on her part. She had to fight like a lion to move out of the family home in suburban Philadelphia. She was usually the loyal subject who was bombarded with their larger-than-life personalities, she was not used to creating waves where they were concerned. She made a valiant attempt to make them see things her way now.
“Nonna, I just want to visit Jamaica. I don’t remember much of the place. I want to know what happened to my other brothers and sisters. That’s all. I never got the chance to find out, and now that I am free, I want to go for a few weeks.”
“Where will you stay?” asked her father as he folded his arms and leaned against the wall in a contrived relaxed stance.
“I can stay with Aunt Phillipa,” Diana answered, naming her grandmother’s sister. That answer was met with silence.
They had no objections to her staying with Aunt Phillipa. She was a widow who went back to Jamaica two years before and was now living alone and constantly complained that she had no family for company.
“What about your job?” her father asked. He moved to my overstuffed love seat and sat down. He was prepared to head for the jugular. He knew she barely had two cents to rub together since university had drained most of her credit.
“I am not supposed to take up the job until the end of August. We are still in June.”
“What about vacation money? You know, airfare, that sort of thing?” This time Nonna sat down, and they were both looking at her with identical, stubborn expressions.
This was the time for her to get defensive.
“I don’t understand,” she said, pacing in front of them. “I have not had a vacation since forever. I worked and studied hard. All I am saying is that I want to go to Jamaica for two lousy months. I will come back and take the job and—"
“You will get hurt,” interjected Nonna.
“Why?” Diana spread her hands in frustration. “Why will I get hurt? All I want is to be at peace with the past. My mother died in childbirth. I have brothers and sisters who I barely remember, but I want to know them. Is that too much to ask?”
Her father looked at her grandmother and sighed. “Diana, do you remember anything at all?” he asked.
“Yes, I remember fishing in the pond at the bottom of that hill where we used to live. I remember fighting with my brothers and sisters, and playing hop-scotch in the dirt, and eating cornmeal pudding.”
“She is romanticizing it,” her grandmother sneered. “When I went to Jamaica to get you, you were living with twelve other children in a one-room house on your other grandmother’s property. You were in rags and half-starved. I vowed to myself that I would never let you go back.”
“But they are family,” Diana rebutted. "And that was years ago. Everybody is grown up now."
She looked in the mirror above the mantle and stared at herself. There was something inside her that was not all Boyd, something that was trying to find itself, and Philadelphia was not the place where that would happen. My roots are in Jamaica, she told herself, and I'm determined to explore that side of me.
She stared at her father with a stubbornness that she was sure was reflected in her eyes.
He harrumphed and stared back at her defiantly.
“Six weeks and not a day more,” he muttered, standing up. “Call me and tell me what the airfare will be. I don’t want you to max out your credit cards. If you are not back here in six weeks, I am personally coming to get you.”
“But Thomas…” Her grandmother got up to follow him from the apartment. She glanced back at me desperately. “This is not over, Diana.”
Diana smiled. She knew she had already won.
She slumped on the wall as they exited her apartment—family sessions like those were so taxing, but she had won this round. She perked up and grinned.
Jamaica, here I come! She went to her small bedroom and opened the closet wide. She needed island clothes; she knew that thick sweaters and pants wouldn't cut it in Jamaica. Aunt Phillipa lived in Negril, so she would definitely be taking swimwear.
Anticipation swooped through her body. She looked in the mirror at her short, curly hair. The style was a great one to manage, and it accentuated my heart-shaped face—she had told the hairdresser to cut off the processed part of her hair, and the resulting hairstyle was stunning, the natural curls cupped her head in shiny corkscrew curls. She was young, cute, and healthy.
"Jamaica, here I come!" she squealed again in delight and fell over laughing on the bed.