Paradise

Paradise, I am coming.

Early morning, sun scraping up over the horizon.  Taxi-driven, far from home.  Alone.  Shards of sunlight dance across the cold white metal of the Airbus wing.  Bone tired, crushed with fatigue, I crave teal blue waves crested white with foam.  I long to feel powdered sand slip through fingertips dried and cracked from a winter that refuses to thaw.  I want to escape.

Escape from the kids, who build up my love with each smile, each giggle, each new word spoken, but then suck me dry with sleepless nights, shrieks and whines, and endless demands.  Escape from the chores; dirty diapers, milk-stained clothes, grapes squashed into a scuffed wooden floor, meals to cook, dishes to wash, clothes to fold.  Escape from the elements, which offer no reprieve; from park swings dangling by cold metal chains and mud-tracked slides puddled with day-old rain, from winter jackets, mittens, scarves, and hats; from whipping winds, ice tinged air, and steel gray skies sliced by shallow rays of sun.

The plane soars skyward, through the clouds, away from home, to paradise.  To fields of sugar cane swaying in the balmy breeze.  To bone white beaches and teal blue seas.  To a room that overlooks the sea.  I open the door and find a suitcase against the wall, a toothbrush still wet in a glass by the sink, and crumpled receipts by the phone.  I smile and drop my bags, then pause and take in his cologne that still lingers in the air.  First hints of paradise.

Detoured by a business trip, he finally greets me on the white sand as dusk settles in.  Gentle waves lap against our feet, the salty water licks at our toes.  In one hand, my purple drink, a thick, cold, delicious slush cut with rum.  In my other hand, his fingers linked with mine.  His hand is warm and soft, tender but strong.  I feel the fading Barbadian sun envelop us, love us.  Our hands, our love, our lives intertwined. We talk about home and his work, we talk about the kids, we talk about the mundane moments that add up to a life built together.  I feel the tangled pit of stress in my gut start to unwind, months of pressure uncoiling, disappearing into the balmy breeze. The conversation stops and we sit in comfortable silence, the stillness near-perfect. The marrow-deep fatigue drips away and I look past him to the horizon beyond, where the sun sets slowly, and I smile.

Paradise.

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