Life’s a beach

A sunny day. Puffs of clouds. A lagoon, I guess and two sailboats. One beached and decrepit, the other, in not much better shape, anchored in the bay. Seagulls flitting, Scrub bush and an occasional crab.

Home on the range, so to speak.

It’s the place he enticed me to, when I was 19 years old. “Come on, ” he said, “We’ll live on an island, run around naked and have babies.”

It sounded wonderful at the time. So bohemian. So nomad. Except for mother. She was furious.

Don’t marry him, she chided. Not unless you want a husband who sits on a stoop drinking beer in his undershirt all day.

(Little did she know. He went on to make millions. On Wall Street no less!)

But that was way after we ran away, lived the barefoot (and undershirt) life, and had two kids of our own.

Of course, the “marriage” didn’t last, but since it wasn’t actually a marriage, there was no divorce, either. Or alimony.

Life hands out its share of surprises. It bestows bounty with an extended palm, and does a sleight of hand with the other. No surprise there.

Those three years did give me something to write home about, though. Although, I didn’t.

Too busy running around barefoot, wearing an undershirt, drinking beer, and having kids. No stoops on this island. No time to sit around, either.

There’s something about living on an island. All that water and no place to go. The way we lived, complete with fried fish, fresh vegetables and fruit, in season, gave the title “Earth Mother,” new meaning (Make her tan and lean, with tangled dark brown hair).

No job of course. For him. (Perfect set-up in my mother’s opinion) For me, either, for that matter. Except for the having babies part. And taking care of them. Not for the faint of heart, a million miles from home and the nearest baby sitter.

But you can’t beat the beach life, except for hurricane season. Then you have to do some fancy barefootwork. Grab the kids, get the chickens, and head for the hills. Except there weren’t any. Not on this island…

We survived the hurricane, but not the “marriage.” I took one look at what used to be “home,” and realized that I’d have to start over. Too much work, I concluded. And headed back for the real world.

He can stay; I’m out of here.

But what’s a girl to do, after alienating her family?

I’d have to choose a place to live. A place that I could afford, go back to school, start over.

But I was ready. For one thing, I could fry up fish like nobody’s business. I could take care of kids. Teach them how to swim. Survive on the water’s edge. We might not have city smarts, but we had our own kind of intelligence — a gritty, sandy kind of thing. And, alas, we did survive.

My experiment as island queen played out, the kids ended up clothed, and, eventually, educated.

He, thank god, stayed on the island. For the time being at least. Guess he didn’t mind sleeping out in the beach, in the sand, under the stars.

I still dream about that place though. In my mind’s ear, if there’s such a thing, I can hear the soft lap lap of the water, the swish and swirl of the waves. The sound of the breeze tussling the palm fronds. Who can resist the Garden of Eden? It pulls, it sings, it beckons. And then, a slight shimmer, a vague quiver, and it disappears.