if i were to someday write a book about my time in st thomas, i'd write of beach bonfire parties beneath a multitude of stars, sliding around rusty truck beds with a gang of friends, swimming daily with vibrant sea creatures i saw more frequently than people, and sailing into the sunset with a boat full of sunburnt strangers from all over the world.
i'd write of skinny palm trees rustling right outside my condo balcony and views of overlapping islands on the horizon and water that has the same salinity as our tears--of water so clear and so blue that it looks about 5 feet deep when it's actually 30--of water so salty and dense that our bodies could just float at the surface without the help of our limbs.
and i'd write in depth about things i can't quite publish right now.
...i'd write about boatie drama--all of the interwoven relationships and the rampant substance abuse and the wildest nights i've ever experienced. i'd write about falling a little bit in love with a boy i hardly knew, and then got to know so well that i loved him in an entirely different way. about walking along the waterfront just for the sake of walking, and because there was nowhere else to go on that tiny island. i'd write about the death that shook me for weeks--about the stranger's name that is engrained in my mind for eternity. i'd write about the everlasting bond that's cemented when something intense and terrifying is experienced with a friend. about friends who become closer than family.
i'd write of underwater glances and secret embraces and all sorts of new strengths.
i'd write about the hilarious interactions, the heartache, the total loss of self-control, and the sort of happiness that hurts because you're just so damn vulnerable and there's just so far to fall.
st thomas was all-consuming. i lived it and breathed it, and had no time for anything but those constant island antics. i met new people everyday, both foreign and local. i lived incredible stories that felt part of a novel. and i felt as content as any single girl could feel working on a sailboat in the caribbean.
but more importantly than that, i'd write something that would ignite a spark in readers, and encourage them to step out of their comfy routines--to be brave and take a gamble with failure for the chance that it could bring extreme happiness--not the mundane happiness obtained from watching a favorite television show or doing what you're told, but the sort of happiness that terrifies you because it's so great that you're afraid it's somehow not real or that it'll disappear too easily. the kind of happiness that makes you dizzy because you're so high and vulnerable that you know it'll hurt real bad if you fall down.
my experience in the virgin islands left such an imprint on my soul that couldn't possibly be smudged out any time soon. i've become a calmer, less judgmental and all around happier person because of it. i know the meaning of patience and the importance of compassion more than ever before. and i certainly have a better concept of time... island time.
and in terms of time, i know that now is my chance to roam about as much as possible. though i thoroughly enjoyed the islands, there is so much more to explore. now's my time to fly free and seek an even greater variety of character. to "live deep and suck out all the marrow of life."
the islands were only the beginning.