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A hot day with clear skies, not unlike any other. I had only three days left in Nevis and more importantly only 24 hours remaining with my rented jeep. Two o’clock in the afternoon – aunts, uncles, and cousins at work, younger cousins at day camp, me left to my own devices. Not that I minded. A short drive with the windows down and Ray-Ban’s to cool my mood, Mishka’s “My Love Goes With You” over the radio set the tone.

Ahead, the shuttered Anglican Church, posted with authority on the hilltop, is my cue to slow down. I turn left down the uneven dirt path through the field to the beach. Cows grazed allowing their chains to lie haphazardly across the road. I hesitate before driving over them. I tend to be cautious around chained or caged animals. It stems from my fervent distrust of monkeys.

They’re shifty animals. Just as smart as (if not smarter than) us, they watch us, tracking our every move, committing our habits to memory so they can calculate the perfect moment to attack. Shifty.

These thoughts run through my head as I release the brake and slowly roll over the chains; relieved my family had prior commitments…

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___________

I am alone on the beach.

________

The sand is hot as I wrestle with the wind to lay down my towel. As I turn to face the water, I see St Kitts in the distance swallowed by darkness – clouds showering the island in a rainstorm. The wind was moving south, away from my beach, and I smirk thinking of all the sunbathers running for cover just a few miles away.

Here the sun makes its presence known. The sound of the waves lapping on the shore soothes my mind as I settle into the sand with my book. With the waves and the wind rustling the palms, I’ve found my own little paradise within paradise. Countless trips to Nevis over my lifetime have made it no less charming than the first.

I am never happier anywhere than I am when I’m here.

Several pages go by and I’m ready for a swim. Just as I’m about to step into the water, I notice something dark surging towards me with the next wave. I step out of the way in time for a large, burgundy Starfish to float by, becoming beached on the sand. I watch as the next wave carries it back out, and then as the next pushes it back onto the sand. For ten minutes I watch and follow as the waves torment the animal down the shoreline. Four or five waves go by, and just as I think it has broken free, the sixth sets it back on the beach where it rests for several moments.

I consider picking it up and tossing it deeper into the ocean. But I don’t. I just watch.

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