Goodbye and farewell –

How good are you at saying farewell? I am terrible. I am happy leaving, but when it comes to saying adieu, I’d rather be the thief in the night than the girl in love saying goodbye to the bad boy from down the street. Some of my friends know that when it’s time for me to go, I’m more likely to say a quick, “Ok by-ee, see you tomorrow.”  No long drawn out sentimentality for me. But to say goodbye to my island, a fantasy place that became my reality, is a little harder. So I have been slowly making the rounds to favourite places and people. Quietly taking in the view, the smells and the sights.

Each day I wake up to the little Red Fodies in my garden singing their song. I smile as the Yellow Weavers steal long strips of leaves to build their nests and I watch how the Bulbuls sit on the fence eyeing the insects and worms in the grass. I see the giant green geckos swaddle up the walls and eat the smaller day geckos right in front of my very eyes and I realise that the nature of things is harsh and cruel and beautiful. At sunset, I sit quietly by myself – never altered by cocktails or distracted by snacks, I just take in the stillness of the day as the sun sets over the houses and salt flats. The tranquil moment always makes me hold my breath as the clouds swirl and twirl over-head and I dangle my feet in my pool. And as I feed the bravest of the brave mosquitos with my blood, I think of the guests I have had in my house, the wonderful times and the easy days. I get a lump in my throat as I feel it all slipping away, with just days left on my island.

I take a trip to Ebony Forest and like a tourist, I have a guide. He speaks about the history of the area, teaches me about the Ebony tree and the wasteful ways man has abused the forest. He points out the beetles that look as if their shiny gold coloured shells are bejewelled. Knowing about my love of reptiles he makes sure I see every lizard, gecko and iguana around. And standing in the midst of this growing rejuvenation, I listen to rare birds’ tweet and enjoy the smell of trees with apple-essent leaves and the aroma of carrots and the sweet perfume of pretty flowers. This island is different from the other places I have lived in. There are no indigenous people. Everyone arrived either through their own design or against their will as slaves, and standing there in the nature of it all, I see the wonder of man and nature.

For one last time, I am sitting at my writing spot at the Bay Hotel, in the left corner, on the couch with the sea and the Bougainville and the tiny birds who try to steal my bread. I smell the salt and hear the waves and memories come floating back to me of times just barely gone by when I wrote my heartache away. Where I sat with a long flowing skirt and sweat dripping down my body, lost in thought and then lost in typing. This place will always be special to me. Here where the waiters know my order and greet me with a smile. So much of my three years on this island with its dichotomy of paradise and junkyard will forever hold my heart. So once again, I will not say goodbye. I refuse to do it. I’ll just say a tout allure jusqu’à la prochaine fois.

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