I got to drive to the airport for a covid test. It was bright with occasional quick sea squalls. I took the scenic route down the five mile road. A kite coasted surprising close to my car, hunting for something in the scrubland. These are sand dunes turning to lush soil and then in turn to walls and buildings of that peculiar red granite that this island rises up with. Much has changed since those simple days when I lived here uncluttered. But much is the same.
Looking out at the dunes I shouldn’t have been surprised when I felt the tears on my cheek. This island … it’s my home. It carries that mark of a first place. The colours and sounds are how they are supposed to be here. The sea, ever present, blowing scent and life across this fecund rock, is right somehow. And in so many of my memories there are companions. The lost. Casualties of time and how is it possible when they feel so close, so close?
I drove past the stop sign where my grandparents had a mundane conversation that I remember precisely. Both of them are long gone now, sent back round or however it works, bodies buried down the road by the sea. And there, on the right, what used to be The Windmill House. Mum would say “Look, it’s The Windmill House!” There are no windmills anymore. I’m driving the car now, not her. She’s up on that hill in the weather. I’ll go and talk to her, but her voice will just be the wind and the grass and the stillness.
I was happy here. I didn’t know the island like an adult might. It was colour and light. It was smells and sensations in that way that children can be sometimes closer to dogs than people. I was digging in the mud and laughing large and running hard and totally unpolluted by the mess of responsibility and pain that comes with this adulthood. I was happy, and I feel their spirits gathered now. The energy of the lost perhaps to help me as I try once more once more and this time without giving up at the first knockback. I’m stronger now, and ready.
I miss them. Mum and dad. Da and Danda. Even Peter bless him. All taken too soon. I pulled up and waited for it to subside, watching the the sea as the waves broke over me. We can’t get out of time. It just keeps rolling. What little we have left is for joy. Not for being shut in a beige hotel room.
I’m exhausted. I’m going for an early bed, and believe it or not I’m allowed out tomorrow properly. I get to stop and touch the water, to talk to people, to begin things. It’s a long way between now and the end of this. If I had a home here, in my home, it would be easier. But I’ll muddle by somehow. Jersey. Now it’s time to start.