Part 9: And So It Ends
Monday morning. Those words alone are sad.
One last cup of coffee on the terrace watching the hummingbirds, one last trip to “our” beach. I know I should just be grateful for our time here. And I am, immensely. But I am also deeply, incredibly sad. Far more so even than our departure from New Orleans, where I thought I’d left my heart.
I would love to spend the entire morning on this beach, as our flight doesn’t leave Philipsburg until 2:30. But the kids are curious to see a bit of Marigot. So instead we cram all our suitcases in the jeep with us, take a long last look at Pelicans, and depart for the ferry.
I can’t even look in the direction of St Martin. Instead I stare glass-eyed as Anguilla grows smaller and smaller, until it is a mere line on the horizon.
Marigot is quaint, and the ferry clerks generously offer to keep our luggage safe while we peruse the town. I only briefly worry it’s a con. Look what Anguilla has done to me.
A friend of the girls had sung the praises of Sarafina’s, so our plan is to eat a late breakfast there. But Sarafina’s, it turns out, is closed Mondays. We find another patisserie farther down the street, and munch on almond croissants while looking around for the chickens.
We browse the open air market near the ferry terminal. Lots of trinkets, but they’re of no interest to us. They all say Sint Martin/St Maarten. No AXA.
Back on the other end we find a large, modern mall. It’s very glitzy, with some high end shops. All quite chic, but of no interest to us.
We walk back outside, hoping to see a goat.
We end up just catching a taxi to the airport, arriving hours early. Customs is only a small hassle; in the end they take pity on Zoe and Lauren and generously allow them to keep the bag of shells they’ve collected.
US Airways, on the other hand, makes us pay for our week of relaxation. Every single flight is delayed, starting with the one out of Philipsburg. We touch down in Columbus finally around one in the morning Tuesday.
And wake in the morning to snow.
Oh, Anguilla. For weeks you are all I can think of. I am like an obsessed lover, stalking all things Anguilla on Facebook and the Internet. I make a brilliant discovery on TripAdviser: the Anguilla forum, full of people who seem to love the island as much as I do.
Daily I miss the sound of the roosters crowing at dawn, of the surf lapping the shore. The aroma emanating from the scrub brush. The people just smiling.
How can a trip report end any way but in sadness? Especially a Trip of a Lifetime? We squeezed so much into those eight days, yet left so much untouched. Still so many beaches unvisited, so much music undiscovered. And definitely a lot of food uneaten. I’m talking to you, crayfish and lobster.
Tiki Girl takes the return harder, if that’s even possible. She sits on the windowsill unmoving. Her pal Penguin tries to encourage her, but she’s having none of it.
My tan holds for about a week, then gradually begins to fade. Each time I shave my legs, another layer of vacation skin leaves me. Yet, the more the visible traces of Anguilla depart, the more its spirit seems to lodge under my skin. My body came back on that plane, but I left my heart on its beaches.
It is clear that one Trip of a Lifetime will never be enough.
Every now and then I go on Google maps and hone in on the satelite view. I can see Pelicans and its tennis court and pool. I can almost see that mighty big rope.
Sadly, Tiki Girl has not danced once since that day in March 2014. We plan to find a nice spot for her under a palm tree when we return in March 2016.
Hold on, Tiki Girl. Only forty-four days until we’re reunited with our hearts.