I remember hours spent cowering in corners, hiding futilely from the waves, battered to and fro by sprays of saltwater that felt like curses. Slipping away from the storms and trying to be safe but never, never able to.
Now I’m here on my own and the feeling of safety is pervasive all around me.
Now I’m here and I get to build my own —
My own shelter.
My own place.
I search for sticks and vines and branches, lashing together a bed and a roof and a place to collect water.
I remember days when, surrounded by others, I felt so very alone. When the noise of the people and the sound of their laughter was like death.
But now that I’m truly alone, I feel alive. The noise of the waves and the sound of the silence is life.
Laying branches over my new home. Searching the island for a stream. Picking fruit from the trees and arranging my things.
I look out at the boat that brought me here. The water laps it constantly:
swish… crash. swish… crash.
It will deteriorate.
It will no longer be able to bear me away from this island.
The sky turns gently to black. The night draws near. And the temptation to leave strikes me then. To sail away in the morning. To flee from this prison —
I will never leave.
I will never want to leave.
I grab my flint and strike it, set a stick to burning. I run out into the water, toes reveling in the soft sand beneath them, and I throw the flame into the hull of my boat.
Running back through gentle waves.
Staring out at the slowly growing haze of smoke and the softly darkening sky.
The smell of fire and salt and sand and sea and freedom.
I will never, ever want to leave.
And the boat burns.
This episode of island living not inspired by “Burn the Ships.” Not that it’s not a good song. But… this isn’t about when you need to burn the ships, it’s about when you shouldn’t and yet you do.
Listening to “Burn the Ships” while reading recommended. That or “You’ll Find Your Way” by Andrew Peterson.
And wonder if this character will ever find the way.
Next installment arriving on next Wednesday.