I am a teacher’s aide and student at college on a small island of a family of islands in the tropics. It was summer break, which meant no work and no school for some time. This was my time to do me and unwind big time. On a good day at work I needed a lot of energy to run around, play with and teach the children. On a bad day at work I needed a lot of energy to run around, play with, teach the children and calm multiple screaming tantrums or little fights. College is just papers, presentations and tests non stop, so summer break is my time for peace and tranquility. Consequently, one of the things I like to do is watch the sun rise or set over the sea. On this particular day I decided to follow the sunset on the cliffs at the most western point of the island. As always, I went alone.
The seaside cliff is a beautiful place, where the waves make continous music against the rocks, sometimes gentle, sometimes wild, but all beautiful. I breathed in the salt air and began to follow the sun as it made its retreat. I was careful, because even though this was a tranquil place it could also be dangerous. The sea constantly ate away at the rocks which created many holes that a person can fall through into the deep. Cracks were everywhere and one had to respect the fact that the ground beneath you could give way at any time. Again my confidence on walking this cliff was built up over many short walks and fishing trips I made, so this time I went further than I had ever traveled before.
I walked for as long as I can see the sun in the sky, only stopping when there was no more open cliff to walk, and I was to the edge of the thick, darkening tree line. There was only a gentle breeze, and being the whimsical person I can be in these situations, I began to sing … thinking I was alone.
As I sang I heard a branch break in the tree line, but I thought nothing of it, it is nature after all. I began to sing again letting the view take in when I heard not only a branch but some leaves crunching. I turned around. This was the first time that I realized that altough there was still some light in the sky, I could see nothing beyond the first two rows of trees in the tree line. It was really dark there. I got the sense that I should go, but it was still so beautiful, I was stupified… because I decided to finish the song I felt inside of me… I kid you not… stupified… I did finish my song when I heard the crunching of leaves again, this time closer. I turned around scanning the tree line, but I could see nothing. Sighing I turned to leaves when suddenly I heard many branches breaking and heavy hurried steps like running towards me, so I ran.
In the fading light on the errroded cliff side I ran. I ran fast and hard, jumping over the holes to the deep, staying close to the tree line in spite of my persuer because it was the only sure ground on the erroding cliffs. I cannot recall when I kicked off my slippers, but I had them in hand, running in the wind all the way to my car. Thank God I was a former high school athlete.
I wasted no time getting in my car. I didn’t fumble my keys. I got in, locked my doors and sped to the most populated, well lit, high traffic gas station in that area. It was only then, when I knew I was safe, that I sat in my car, and pulled out over ten fairly deep, and slightly painful splinters from each foot… I never went to the cliffs alone again.