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Island Girl

We’ve been gorging on fresh-made mango sorbet this week, creamy, smooth and sweet ground out through the Champion juicer, the perfect treat for these baking hot days. Mangos are one of my favorite fruits, mangos and papayas eaten in a sarong dreaming of the islands. I really am an island girl at heart and could live happily for months at a time on a boat in the tropics, subsisting on raw food and fresh fish, spending my days half naked in or on the water. I dream of dancing the night away under the palm trees in tropic breezes, shaking hips, flashing eyes and sizzling salsa beats, getting down and dirty to funky reggae dancehall, wild and free under the equatorial skies.

My eyes turn turquoise in the tropics, my aura too, skin a golden brown, after a week I glow. I am happiest in the islands where the air kisses my skin, the flowers bloom huge and fragrant, the men are black or brown and everything grows with unfettered abandon. In the water, my dolphin spirit frolics, at home and one with the warm coral sea, I am happy.

Memories and fantasies fill my mind. Home from school, pack up drinks and snacks in the restaurant-sized kitchen, change into our bathing suits, roll a joint and head out into the Biscayne Bay for an afternoon of water skiing. Sundays taking the yacht to the Jockey Club for brunch, teenybopper jailbait flirting with Joe Namath, lounging on the front deck cushions on the cruise back home. Long weekends in Bimini or Key Largo, racing golf carts, sneaking cigarettes and vodka tonics on the 9th hole. Two-week Caribbean cruises back in the day, coming into port and my father’s customers spiriting us off into the hills, feting us like visiting royalty on large estates with manicured lawns where the servants were cheap and plentiful.

Flashing our resort room keys, signing for whatever we wanted in the cabanas, sport pavilions, restaurants and shops didn’t suck at all. The amenities of my childhood were the best part of it, I won’t talk about the family dynamics, it’s best to leave them alone, a beautiful exterior with a fractured, dark and troubled core. I escaped into my own world and separate reality, seeking the solace of books and water and silence. Long afternoons alone, submerged in the pool, attempting to breathe oxygen from the water, a 10-year-old meditating on amphibious life, suspending my breath for minutes at a time, longing for gills, swimming from end to end underwater on a single breath. No one ever checked to see if I was all right, which now that I think of it would be unimaginable if it were my child. Mansions and money, servants and cars, and crazy all around.


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