“Right now I’m only trying to focus on what’s actually in my power to change. My father always says if you have time to feel sorry for yourself, you’re not working hard enough,” Dominick says as he pulls up to the Government Center Metrorail station in Downtown Miami. He is dropping off a fellow volunteer after a long day spent preparing and delivering meals to underserved families around the city.
“Your old man has a good point,” the young man responds. He thanks Dominick for the lift and wishes him a happy Thanksgiving before getting out of the car to catch the metro.
As he pulls back onto Biscayne Boulevard toward his apartment, Dominick thinks about all the changes he has had to deal with in his life. His exotic upbringing began in Miami, where he was born to Jamaican parents working in the hospitality industry. After ascending the ranks of a large hotel chain with properties all over the Caribbean, his father decided to invest in his own boutique property in St. Thomas, USVI. The family relocated to the island permanently and a couple years later Dominick was sent to an international boarding school where he spent the rest of his adolescence.
The holidays are a busy time in the tropics, with snowbirds flying south to shake off their winter doldrums with frozen drinks in the warm turquoise waters. Dominick has spent Thanksgiving weekend with friends since moving back to Miami for college. His family is usually busy tending to guests and preparing for tourist season, so they spend most of their time together as a family during hurricane season. The last time he visited his family was the weekend before Esthie’s twenty-ninth birthday.
Dominick tries to fly home as often as possible, even though it forces him to increase his carbon footprint more than he would like. Life in the islands vibrates at a different frequency than life in the continental US and sometimes he just needs to turn his internal clock back. Seasons don’t change when you live close to the equator. The mountains stay green all year, the sun comes out unless there’s a storm and nobody is ever in a rush to go anywhere. But as much as he would love to lay on the sand counting the little white rooftops poking up through the trees on the mountainside, the responsibility of becoming a father weighs heavily on him.
As he opens the light blue door to their apartment he remembers Esthie peeking her head in with green cat contacts on looking all crazy. When she finally told him she was pregnant, his initial reaction was shock. He had always been careful in the past and found it difficult to imagine that one night of passion could result in pregnancy when so many of their friends have struggled to conceive. Even though he had assumed Esthie was happy based on her recent bout with baby fever, he made sure she knew that he would support any decision she made regarding the matter. Once it was confirmed that he was about to become a dad, he felt a tightening in his chest that hasn’t gone away since.
With an outbreak leaving the mother of his child quarantined in Coconut Grove and the future of his climate change initiative threatened by a drastic change in political leadership, Dominick can’t figure out how to move forward. Should he listen to his brain that’s telling him to stop being so altruistic and take a high paying position to provide for his family? Or should he listen to his heart that’s about to explode with a desire to fight for what he thinks is right?
Section 501(3)(c) of the US tax code prohibits his organization from endorsing a political candidate, so Dominick feels the responsibility to remain neutral when it comes to politics, only sharing opinions on public policy with regard to climate change. His mission is to create a consensus about saving the planet in the hearts of students before they become registered voters. He has made progress toward that goal, but it has not resulted in significant financial success. And while he tries to remain optimistic about future, he sees a dark cloud looming over the progress the country has made toward taking responsibility for its carbon emissions.
With only a few minutes untill he needs to head to dinner with Esthie, Dominick shifts his focus to getting ready. Before getting into the shower, he reaches for his phone to let her know he’ll be on his way soon.
Hey beautiful. Just got home from meal delivery. Gonna shower and head over in a few.
He sets his phone on the side of the bathroom sink, then picks it up again to for an addendum.
I have a really good feeling about this article coming out about your dolls. All of your hard work is gonna pay off soon, you’ll see.
He adds a muscle Emoji and some fireworks for effect. Even though he hasn’t had any premonitions about her business booming, Dominick figured he would put it out there. Planting that seed of positivity in her head would at least boost her confidence and if nothing else make her happy for this brief moment before Thanksgiving dinner.