In-between space invites sweet nostalgia of times passed, and dreams of all the places yet to discover. Oh, the many adventures to be had.
Move into in-between spaces, with so much love for the pleasant sea breeze that whistles in the open mouth of the plexiglass bow and the flapping rubber tarp canopy.
Little islands pass, like little worlds. Home to entire realms of creatures and their elaborate tales. The speedboat travels between my island home and the mainland every day at 11 o’clock. The daily trip belonged to a mighty ship with a giant rooftop deck where tourists would press into the railing and point and gape at mesmerizing tropical mounds that rise from the gentle cerulean blue. Then the virus came. The ship was replaced with a little 30-person motor-boat. Locals make day trips to the mainland or mini-vacations to visit the beach. Foreigners, nomads, who’ve made Thailand their home have a wanderlust itch to scratch.
The breeze is lovely on this sweltering mid-October day. It threads through the fabric of our cotton face masks and tugs them below our chins so we can taste the salt and welcome fresh wind. Billow into our lungs. Clear the mold from our sinuses.
A woman with fuchsia lips lethargically places her mask on the unoccupied space of her leather loveseat. It snatches the wind like a tiny parachute and catapults into the air and down the narrow isle of navy-blue benches. An arm inscribed with Sak Yant ink reaches out to valiantly rescue the little baby-blue kite. It dodges and excitedly soars to the back of the boat and out to sea. Anything not carefully held close can be taken by the wind and disappear into the endless ocean behind us. A wind that cleanses the sweat between your skin and the florescent foam life vest. Wind that ripples playfully along the china blue polyester of the captain’s shirt, as though trying to tug the unflappable bold letters pressed into collapsed shoulders.
Dreamy faces gaze across the open water. Distant translucent silhouettes, layered like glass panels in an old cartoon animation box. The woman with the stained lips gazes idly out the plastic window. No matter what you see, you’re still looking at a screen. She grazes the empty space next to her with an idle hand. It rests in the empty space while the wind moves between loose fingers. Clouds morph into faces of old lovers and friends, gently drifting across the open sky.
Smells like Hilton Head. Smells like memories of our annual Easter trip to Daufuskie Island, where my little brother learned to ride a bike along the little paved lane between jellyfish-strewn sand and pastel Southern family cottages. Where we fished from golf course ponds with worms that Mom showed us how to dig up. The neighbor’s kid stood at the edge of the manicured green, looking out for the twelve-foot alligator that supposedly had fourteen dog collars in its hundred-year-old belly. Easter Morning, two colorful baskets waited for my little brother and me by the front door, stuffed to the brim with chocolate bunnies, egg-shaped peanut M&M’s. Aren’t they already wobbly egg shapes anyway? I grin. That’s something my mother would say.
The boat stops and the breeze deflates in the heavy heat like a collapsing balloon. We step onto the dock and make a mild connection with the world that once was. The world I left on an airplane nine months ago.