December 7th, 2007

Swanprincess

Jamaica Farewell

I dreamed about the ocean last night. It was a North American, East Coast kind of ocean, with pounding breakers on rocks, but it sounded more like the constant, gentle susurrus I heard outside my cottage every night, and there was a fine, soft, sand under my fingers.

I miss the sea. Living by the water in general and Jamaica in particular. It's cold here, and grey and everybody I pass on the street looks harried and glum.

Anyway. Our last night in Jamaica was wonderful. Two novels were finished, two others were plotted and outlined, a complete story was written, two others were started and substantially drafted, and good work was done by all. We were in a celebratory mood. No green flash, but the sun went down in a little tuft of cloud like a fan of seaweed, and looked remarkably artistic if a little coy. We drank planter's punch and pina coladas at Jake's and checked email and strolled back to the house in time for a dinner of incendiary jerk chicken and heavenly potato salad and pickled cabbage and carrots and pineapple cake. And then Damian (who oversaw the kitchen and the plant) lit a huge bonfire for us on the beach and we went swimming.

It was magical. It was a little cloudy, so we couldn't see the stars. We walked out into utter blackness--no sense of separate sea and sky, no sense of depth or distance. Just cool water against our bodies, the flaming tower of the bonfire on the beach, and our own pale, almost luminous faces and shoulders bobbing against the matt black of the sky. Creepy. Lovely. Magical.

We hung on to that moment as hard as we could next day, as we bounced and rattled over potholed and winding roads across the island to Montego Bay. Those of us who were prone to motion sickness grew pale and silent. Those of who were not developed a keen empathy for what it must have been like to ride in even a well-sprung carriage in the old coaching days. By the time we got to the airport, we were well-shaken. The flight itself was blessedly uneventful, and then it was JFK, a grim Immigrations agent asking where I'd stayed as if the wrong answer would land me in an interrogation room, the usual long wait for my suitcase, and the chill of my apartment.

It's better now that Ellen's home again, after a 2-day stint in Virginia Beach, and I've been to the gym and stretched the kinks out of my back and legs and printed out what I wrote while I was gone and found it terrible, but useful. I'm almost done with Chapter 13, which I've been stuck on for ages, and have the rest of the book pretty well plotted out. So I'm a happy camper.