I was born and raised in an island. A tiny island in the Caribbean, filled with songs, heat, and humor. The breeze carries a salty flavor that sticks to your skin on humid days. A flavor that lingers on your tongue after swiftly brushing your lips in particularly humid days. The breeze, a soft and warm carrier of all kinds of aromas; freshly ground coffee, coconut oil, pineapple juice, cinnamon, and sea.
My island loves music, loves rhythm, loves percussion. It dances to the sound of drums as if it’s possessed by African gods. Marching its way through the pebbled streets of the old city, it shouts for joy and celebration. For all the good and the bad.
I yearn for my island. I miss the people, their smiles and faces. The familiarity of everything, the streets I grew in, the songs on the radio, singing out loud while driving my old car, my dog, my short pants, my flip flops, the island state of mind, watching the coast fade away on my rear view mirror, the long days at the beach, eating street food and a beer.
Those are the things I miss.
I wrote these words about five years ago.
I was going through a particularly hard time, and I really missed my former self. The sensations described belong to a different time, yet they felt so vivid still. So intensely mine.
When I was younger and my interest for reading was growing, I remember my mom getting me these sets of books where I could choose what the main character would do next. For example, if “Little Johnny” was at a mall, I could choose if he took the stairs or if he took the elevator. Simple decisions made by the reader. You would jump from page to page, reading what your choice made “Little Johnny” do next in the plot. It was so fun! Some endings where tragic (“Little Johnny” would get killed!). Others were less entertaining, but more realistic and sober. It was all about deciding on a path to follow.
Leaving is something like those books. It’s a conscious choice. Leaving your home, leaving your country, leaving your partner, leaving your job, leaving a habit. All choices. Some of them harder than others, but choices still.
And yet, somewhere in the journey, we always stop and look back, and wonder if the choice was the correct one. We now have more information than we had when we left, so wondering “what if” is inevitable. The only problem is that these are not books, this is real life, and you cannot undo the choice. It’s done.
Yet, there is something that we must always remember. Making a choice will always be a strategy. New alternatives will come. Different points of view will show up. Information will keep pouring in, and you will always have a choice.
You just have to make the best of it.
What choices have you been pondering about? Tell me, I want to hear your story.