The Island

The island is a place of legend. It must have a name, but nobody uses it. It is just the island. To speak of it is to speak of a private boat, summoned at our command to cut through glittering waters and arrive at a lamp-lit landing stage, amidst warm welcomes that draw us up stone steps, through the pines and to the terrace that rests on the island’s saddle.

It is to speak of wrought iron and bougainvilia, a long wooden table laid out beneath a fig tree, and the sea sparkling on either side. It is honey from the comb and whipped, frothing yoghurt and countless tiny dishes of fresh fruits and olives, cheese from the mountains, strange spiced sauces, thick sesame syrup over soft seeded bread. Each tiny morsel is an experience that needs closed-eye contemplation and is met with deep-set satisfaction.

Then, when the very last sip of foaming, minty lemonade is finished, the island changes form and becomes a stony shore, warm waters lapping as sailing boats drift by. It is surprise at the lack of shock as skin slips into saltwater, and the deep pleasure of stretching muscles unbound by gravity.

It is the small rebellion of slipping under ropes and splashing into the open, paying a visit to the cormorants who perch like pompous guardians on the barren rock that rises from the bay, and watching the grace with which they dip and dive before returning to their vigil.

It is laying back in brilliant blue and listening to the roll and rattle of pebbles below. It is drifting in and out of perfumed sleep beneath long-overdue afternoon sun, before clambering across to the peninsula’s furthest point where the whisper of wake is amplified by the blowhole bowl, and watching the sun begin to sink beyond a stony bridge carved by the sea itself.

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