I haven’t dared to write, nor I have the strength to do so. A crisis at home stopped my trip and left me hopeless in San Marino. My uncle Joseph died from COVID-19.

I couldn’t say bye.

I remember working remotely from a Cafe when I received the notification from mom that he was sick and they were going to the hospital to check it. When he reached was too late. He died in less than 24 hours.
My uncle Joseph was an extraordinary adventurer. He travelled from Chile to Alaska on a bike in the span of three years. Also, He built his own boat to sail through the Caribbean, starting from The Bahamas to places in the Caribbean South American coast such as Cartagena on the Colombian coast, Aruba, Bonaire or Tortuga Island, Venezuela.
I remember I was just a kid when he returned from that trip and brought all these delicious candies from those remote places. I am still very grateful that he carried that stuff for so long.
I remember eating a Colombian pop called Bom Bom Bum. It had expired two months ago, but my uncle said it was ok. I ate without saying a thing to mom. The flavour was lulo, which is an only-Colombian fruit.
I remember five years later, I was still a child, a black woman appeared at home with a kid. By that time, cellphones were only for the rich.

That day I met my cousin Nicholas from The Bahamas.
Later on, my uncle moved to The Bahamas and tried to play the family game for a couple of years. But he couldn’t as he was an adventurer by nature. He came back to Québec, and Nicholas came to visit us from time to time until he got enrolled at the University in Montréal.

My uncle loved to play basketball too, and he made sure Nicholas learnt that. I remember playing the three of us in the court in the backyard in our house.

I have been sad since my uncle passed away; I still cannot believe that a person like him is not in this world anymore.

The situation back at home doesn’t look good. The nurses are in crisis, the hospitals are packed, the omicron variant is killing people even though it is less aggressive than the previous mutations of the virus.

I stood weeks in San Marino without knowing how to move a finger until I received a New Year’s call salutation from mom.

“Benjamin, the only way to honour the memoir of your uncle is by travelling, by having fantastic adventures. The last thing your uncle wanted you to do was remaining in one place. Go and explore the world.”

Minutes later, I received a call from Jessica, the other Bahamian in my life.

I expressed all my feelings to her and even cried. She didn’t say a thing. Just listened.

“I’m leaving the Schengen area soon, Benjamin Gunst. Come and visit me in Geneva”.

I didn’t doubt it and bought the tickets. I just hope Pierre is not around.

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