Sorry I’ve taken so long to post anything. This blog has been on my mind, and I’ve had many ideas but a lot less time than I had during the recovery days of winter.
Almost a year to the day of my surgery last October, I finally left for Eleuthera with my house-building partner. Our goal was to see our house in its almost finished stage, and to catch our respective breaths following the summer madness. The next few blogs were written in Eleuthera–I’ll begin with our first encounter with our new tropic retreat:
Lynn is so excited she can hardly stand it. Of course, she has worked with the house from the beginning, drawing the design, deciding on paint, buying the knobs for the kitchen doors. Me, I’ve only had the dream which lies, glowing deep inside me. It was a warm hope, a shimmering place which gave off healing and strength during the long hospital days.
So I am excited, yes, but not like Lynn is—she radiates energy and enthusiasm. I simply sit in my airplane seat in deep stillness, listening to her chatter about curtains and corner sinks and Kervin the builder. As we skim over the mottled Caribbean water, blue then turquoise, deep holes and shallow reefs, we descend deeper into our separate anticipations.
At the airport, greeted by Kervin’s wife Brenda, Lynn is ready to forget the suitcases. “Go!” she says, “Let’s hurry!”
“Lynn,” I remind her. “The luggage.”
As we drive over the hill into our little seaside village, we see it, sitting high on a more distant hill, the pink cottage with the gleaming new roof, poking up out of the tangled green of the palm and acacia trees.
And down toward town we go, past Papa George’s Internet and Pizza, past the Tarpum Bay Shopping Mall, and turn the corner at Bert’s for the Best grocery store.
Our house (“Cottage,” Miss Brenda reminds us) is small, built on the footprint of the original Culmer Cottage, with two-foot thick walls on the bottom story and an added second story complete with a balcony stretching across the sea side. The village side is has a walled back yard, high steps leading up to an open entry door, with Kervin standing in it, rigid with anticipation. “You like it, Miss Lynn?” he asks, before we are even inside.
And we love it. It’s pure Caribbean—huge, shiny floor tiles, white walls and deep window wells, pickled light wood cabinets, ceilings and accent walls. Downstairs there are high ceilings and many windows, an open floor plan with a living area and kitchen and a front patio under the upstairs deck.
Upstairs, there are two small bedrooms and a bath, and a large closet that will store clothes and personal items while we are gone. My bedroom is in the southwest corner, with two windows and a glass door onto the patio. I have futon for bedroom furniture; Lynn has a bed frame which Kervin has built.
Our downstairs furniture has already arrived and Brenda has cleaned our house thoroughly. On an earlier trip here, Lynn bought a wicker living room set on sale at the Tarpum Bay Shopping Mall and so we have our white wicker couch, chair, love seat, and assorted tables, resplendent in a pink and aqua print and—incredibly–matching the floor tiles just as if a professional decorator had planned it.
We dance from room to room. Our feet barely touch the ground, it seems, and Kervin follows us, “You like dat?” he asks, again and again.
Indeed we do, Kervin, indeed we do.
(To see more of the photos of the house and the people of Tarpum Bay, please visit my photo gallery.)