All things considered—including the recession—rentals were a lot better than we expected that next season.
In fact, business was so good we had a hard time carving out a free week for ourselves, but eventually we blocked out a delicious ten-day visit in late February.
We couldn’t wait.
January was tough to get through—unusually cold and dark, with lots of rain. But then, just when we were ready to lower ourselves into a hot bath, chug down a bottle of Stoli and slit our wrists…
…the day of our departure finally arrived.
The morning after our arrival found Michael jumping on his bike for a punishingly delicious tour of the island while I positioned myself strategically on our balcony for a brisk workout in the sun.
The occasion, already golden, was made all the more delicious by the fact that it was Monday.
Yes, Monday—and guess what?
I didn’t have to go to work; I didn’t have to sit through an interminable staff meeting; I didn’t have to loiter in my small, obsessively neat office at the non-profit where I worked and stare out the window and wish I were in Vieques instead of there.
Instead, I could simply lie on my sun-drenched terrace and empty my mind of all remotely negative thoughts.
I accomplished this cleansing process through a variety of means. Sometimes I pictured my mind as a kitchen sink full of murky water, then mentally pulled the plug and watched the crud swirl down the drain to oblivion.
That was a pretty good one.
Other times I focused on a particularly positive image—a bank vault crammed full of thousand dollar bills (yes, I’m aware that bills in denominations larger than one hundred no longer exist; please bear in mind that this is a fantasy)…
…or a languorous afternoon spent with the Royal Family at Windsor Castle during which the Queen remarks, oh-so-casually, “Since you’re here anyway, I might as well knight you. Kneel down, my pet.”
Yes, yes, I also realize it’s unlikely the Queen has ever called anyone “my pet” in her life unless it was to address one of her corgis or Prince Phillip on their wedding night.
Do get hold of yourself and remember that this is a mental exercise, not a fact-checking jamboree.
In the meantime, you may call me “Sir Patrick.”
But that day, as I lay on our balcony soaking up the noonday sun, I didn’t even need to dig into my bag of old tricks to feel good about Life in General.
A gentle breeze (compliments of the trade winds) gently tousled my hair. The sun warmed my bones without making me sweat. And although it was barely noon, I was gently nursing a Bloody Mary. Okay, my second.
The house was coming along just fine. We had new windows, new doors, a new retaining wall. Everything was brand new, rock solid, and sparkling. There was certainly more to do, but for now things looked great.
And although I knew from experience that disaster was probably lurking just around the corner, for one brief, shining moment I decided to allow myself to feel unabashedly happy.
But what to do with myself during this certain-to-be-brief interval of peace and tranquility? What should I fret over?
Luckily, there are always things to worry about. Global warming, genocide, the rising price of chorizo sausage.
But my heart wasn’t in it. In fact, I was literally aching with contentment.
In the meantime, mid-day had come and gone, as had two more Bloody Marys.
The mid-afternoon ferry was inching its way across the crystal blue horizon. I really should drag my lazy bones inside and eat a bite of lunch, I told myself.
I was feeling a little drowsy. Maybe I’d just close my eyes for a minute or two.
And then suddenly, just when it seemed true relaxation was within my grasp: