The Tiny Island
The car passes by and it is loaded with the suitcases, the bikes hang off the back and the kids- the kids look at me through their back window. I wonder if they are wondering where I am going. And right beside me- there he is, looking straight ahead. It is almost as if he is willing himself to not be drawn into the same thoughts that I am having. Being drawn into the passing car brings us to their destination- one that we are not yet strong enough to go.
We would load up the boat and head to the barrier island- away from the summer tourists to our deserted sands. As we set out she would sit on my lap and stretch her legs on top of mine- and each year her feet getting closer to mine. I would close my arms around her knowing that as soon as we crossed the channel she would take off and become lost in the day. She would swim with the fish- becoming one of them. She would comb the shallows for the beautiful shells that served as homes for the hermit crabs. When she found one, she would reach down and hold it in the palm of her hand. It became one of that day’s treasures that would make a home on the wave board she pulled behind her.
It was the gulls, though, that always took notice of her arrival. They would flock to her and welcome her back each summer. She would run to them – it was as if they shared a secret language. Maybe they knew that all too soon she too would be soaring overhead- a part of their flock. They always took notice of her and came to her. I wonder-will they take notice when it is just three. Will they sense the weight of our heartbreak and grant us the quiet solitude to slowly heal?
I will someday return to the small island where she would roam. I will stretch my legs out straight and listen for the beckoning gulls. I know that when I arrive on the tiny island, Catherine will be there to greet me. She will be soaring and circling in the skies above. She will be in the sun that warms my face. I will close my arms tight and I will feel her as she nestles into my heart.