We sit down around a circular picnic table, the sand on the benches prickling against our thighs as we settle in. The palm trees reach over our heads, shivering against the wind. The salty air raises the hairs on the backs of my arms, warning of dusk, but the sun is still high enough. I feel its warmth on my cheeks, on my knees.
Mike opens a beer at a time and passes them around the table. The can sweats from the heat; a droplet swells and plunges over the head of a shark stretched over the aluminum. I roll my thumb over the label. ‘White Tip Lager’ curls up into the barrel of a wave. I take a sip and turn it in my hand, eyeing the intimate little anecdote printed on the back. Some version or another of lifelong friends. Some love story fermented with wheat and barley. Here, in this beautiful place. This different place. I’m here too. Tasting your tastes. Smelling your smells.
I listen to the chatter of the group, mixed in with the sounds of waves lapping up onto the beach. The wind picks up and tosses my damp, tangled hair across my face. I close my eyes and pull the air into my chest, let it fill me up, hold it there. Dev calls out to Islay and I open my eyes, let my breath flow out my nostrils. The dog runs under the table, burrows herself in the sand, and drops her ball between her paws.
Mike stands up, adjusts his shorts, and grabs his camera. I look up at him.
“Want to go walk over there?” I slip on my sandals under the table.
“Sure.” He nods.
We walk along the rocks, carved out by the ocean’s relentless strikes. The wind and the waves grow stronger in my ears. I follow in Mike’s footsteps. He points the lens out at the ocean. Will his picture capture this infinite expanse in front of us? Will it capture the rolls of the waves? The swells of the sea, and the joy in my belly?
The sun is being pulled towards the ocean now, radiating in resistance the faster it falls. It knows that once it sinks, this day will succumb to the next and the next after that. As do I.
Kindred spirits, me and this sun.
Camera credit for the best of these shots goes to @shotbybuks
And best friends credit goes to Dev and Ben for showing us what it means to live the island life, what it feels like to soak up every day. And we did just that. We’re so grateful for our days and nights spent in this beautiful place with these beautiful humans. Until next time you two!
Looking for a guide to Cayman? Check out these two locals’ blog at: www.happilyinpursuit.com