A novel from childhood - A High Wind in Jamaica - a story the man had never read, came to him again on the hundredth anniversary of the Great Storm of 1913. As it had been back then, this was also a night of blind tempest, wind tearing through the upper limbs of leaf-shorn oaks and maples, shearing branches from towering balsam poplars.
“A high wind” he said to himself as midnight drew near and the November gale refused to abate. Indeed, it would grow ever stronger as the night wore on. He had been reading “Album Leaf” by Robyn Sarah, a piece on how the storm of Nazism, as if by malign sorcery, changed a charm of good fortune into an emblem of death: a storm of hate that forever transformed Europe, a storm he was conceived within during the snow squalls in early March of the year Hitler died.
Odd how events could alter everything, topple the stoutest trees, flatten homes, displace whole populations, and destroy one world so that a new world could arise from the void. Stranger still how a book never read can colour a life. Today the man lives in a small town far from the city of his birth, in a different country, with a new wife more beautiful than any woman he could ever imagine. The novel was a romance of friendship and deceit on the high seas, a tale of adventure and betrayal, just the thing certain to claim the imagination of a lonely boy. No one can explain why he had not read it during childhood’s long years, or why he does not read it now.