The last few days in a flawed paradise

It’s been a few days since last I wrote, so here is a brief recap:

On Sunday (Sunday Funday as some call it here), I woke up, did some cleaning about the house, and Ian gave me a ride to church in Isabel II.  It had all these pathways of air, an architectural form that I hadn’t seen before.  There was no traditional nave with the two arms.  Rather, it was shaped, from my vantage point like a “t” with a crossbar that stopped at the single line.  The priest and his entourage (altar servers, I know, but I like the word entourage) entered from a side entrance, processing straight to the altar.  They processed in front of the congregation, not really through it, and then took their places for the service.  In this service, there was more singing, and, something that I had never seen before, an explanation of the history of the readings before they occurred.  I thought that was really interesting as the tactic was far more educational than my usual church experience.  One final thing that I liked was the liked was the kindness on people’s faces, how this kindness was shown in everything, from those who left their seats to give the sign of peace to many others to just the welcome that they showed to everyone.  When Ian picked me up, I was filled with bliss. 

After there, we checked out Sol Truck, a food truck on the way back.  It’s a very popular place with the expats and tourists.  In the time we were there, I didn’t see one local come through.  The food seemed more Hawaiian than Caribbean, but it was good. 

After a brief nap at the house, we went to the beach with Dave, taking a cooler with us.  This is where things went awry for me.  Here in Paradise it seems that the clear waters are really a sea of rum.  I have partied in some of the most lively places – Tenerife, New Orleans, Rome, Dublin, and São Paolo, and by the Red Sea – and in all of my experiences, the moment that things start to feel a little off to me, I go home.  When I lived in Bamberg, my apartment was just two blocks from the local Irish Pub and favored haunt of expats and locals alike.  Then, especially, it was easy.  As soon as the folks – generally men, but when women get belligerent, it’s actually scarier to me – would start to act reckless and at the edge of blackouts, I always got out of Dodge.  I can defend myself.  My father taught me well.  I just don’t want to hurt people, especially not in their good time, so I go home.  My level to feel safe is far lower than some, though. 

On Sunday, a late afternoon by the sea quickly shifted for me.  My 6th sense was going off, and I was starting to also get annoyed quickly at recklessness, especially when I had no other options to seek safety or space.  I don’t like having no options … but then I found that I did.

I could leave in love with the folks who had offered me their time, stories, home; I could honor the depth of that love and caring by treasuring it, identifying my boundaries, and moving to a place that was within my boundaries while allowing folks to just be who they are.  It’s not for me to be a dominating influence;  it is mine to accept and determine my next move.  That evening I identified a place in town and on Monday morning, I expressed my discomfort and my gratefulness.  I acknowledged my difference, my need to feel safe, and the difficulty of gaining that feeling back once it had been violated.  No need for apologies.  And in leaving, I would have the autonomy that I was ready to have.  The first few days were all about work.  I needed to be in one place, have a few comforts nearby, and write furiously.  I did that.  On Monday, I was ready to spend the remaining days at the beach, moved to the sands when the sea called, and not on the waking patterns of others.  It was for the best, and, I think, preserved the happiness of us all. 

On Monday, after settling in, I had lunch at Duffy’s; Ian, Regina and Dave met up with me there (chicken pasteles are delightful); I hung out there and at Lazy Jack’s, talking with the customers and bartenders.  That night, I went to have dinner at Orquideas and Ian happened to be there.  He was having a rough day.  We shared some drinks and reestablished that our friendship is not the kind that dies.  

Tuesday, I had a late breakfast at Banana’s where some dude attempted to impress me with his iPhone (while I was carrying my iPhone.  I sat down to eat unimpressed), read Radical Acceptance, went to the beach, promptly lost my glasses, combed the beach a few more times, gave it up, pasteles, conversations, Orquídeas for dinner with Ian and Sonne.  Sonne, a nonfiction writer, gave me some of her work to read.

Wednesday, at breakfast, I started reading Sonne’s work, which I devoured, angry when I got to the end, which I told her later that evening.  Wednesday was the call (next post), beach time, a bit of a walk, a return for lunch at Duffy’s (pasteles, because I love them), reading and doing some writing finally, Instagram, Facebook, the recording of my life.  I met Sonne later to talk about her work, which was great.  I was jazzed to geek out on writing.  It’s great work, and I told her so.  I think she needs an agent.  I wish nonfiction was something that I really understood.  I just don’t have that background.  Perhaps if I have an opportunity to study for the MFA I’ll find some nonfiction connections, which will expand my understanding of the field.  Trade Winds and lobster for dinner … hanging out at Orquídeas, a transition to Lazy Jack’s, and for me, I went early to bed. 

Today, I am mourning the leaving.  How do you leave paradise, even when you see the flaws?

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