When we were living in paradise and had passed the half time mark, when we were counting the full moons backwards (only ten, 9, 8...more to go) and felt a little heavy around the heart every time we passed the airport in our battered Moke I made a pact with the Indian Ocean.
Every day, and I mean every day: Monsoon shower days, windy days, hot and dry days, long working hours days, sore from climbing mountains days... I drove over the hill to this little beach, parked above to the right, took in the view, the sounds and the smells and pulling off my shorts and Tshirt, dropping towels and basket, slowly walked down between the rocks and straight across the sand into the surf.
Sometimes I stayed in the water for close to an hour, just hanging in there looking into the deep drop below at the rocks and coral and the teeming fish, or on my back floating and almost asleep with the sun on my face. Other days there was more vigorous swimming back and forth between the rocks, crawl, backstroke, crawl, backstroke, crawl.
On my very last day, our very last evening the ocean threw me out. Literally. A sudden massive swell gripped me, whirled me around and around deep down and spat me out with my swimsuit torn off me spitting sand and salt water. Shaking, laughing and weeping I sat on the rocks watching the sun go down, saying my good byes.
Months later back in Dublin, Dr. Fleetwood rinsed the last of the fine white sand out of my ears.