On sunny days the island lies like a shimmering green jewel in a dark blue sea. On grey days when the winds come north-east the island broods and the grey skies and wild grey seas create a restless wilderness all round.
She came to island alone. They told her the house was rustic but really, it has everything you could need, they said. And, knowing them as she did she knew it would be just short of luxurious. You’ll love it, they said. This time of year you’ll have the island to yourself. It was what she needed she had told herself as if it was important to have a reason, like the going had to be part of a prescription, not a just a choice. But that is what it was, wasn’t it, a choice. And in the end wasn’t that all one ever had, and all she had been missing for all these years. A choice. Her choice. A chance to be on her own, leave it all behind, breathe freely.
It’s been years, she thought on the boat ride out. She was glad for the throb and roar of the old diesel in Capn’ Eric’s boat. The sound isolated them and besides a shout or two to point something out he left her alone and she could watch the island detach from the horizon, approach and become clearer, without having to answer the inevitable round of questions a woman on her own faced. How long has it really been since it was just me, she wondered. But then they approached the little float in the tiny harbor and Eric, worried about the tide going out or coming in, had rushed along getting her and her baggage ashore and loaded onto his four-wheeler and little trailer. Insisting she sit behind him and bumping along the rutted, root-snaked road to the house although she could have walked and kept up easily. When he drove off and the rattle and clash of the old trailer faded and the silence descended soft as the drift of falling leaves, she let go the breath she’d been holding back for so long and breathed in fully. Sun warmed spruce and salt, notes of rose from the last blooms on the wild straggling bushes that bordered the path to the shore and a deeper, darker tone from the forest that crested and loomed up to the very ledge the house was built on. Finally, she realized, finally, she was on her own.