It’s always in the middle of the night that I reach my most delirious mental state. The ridiculous seems normal, and my irrational fears completely justified. So it was last night, at the uneasy hour of 4am, that I woke suddenly after hearing a strange noise.
A snake, I decided in my bewildered half-awake haze. A snake inside the house. Probably coming to get me.
Naturally, the only course of action possible was to lie very, very still. And wait. And listen. Which is what I did for the next two hours. After reaching out for my cellphone to check the time about an hour in, I accidentally knocked the TV remote onto the floor. My heart just about stopped as the clang of it hitting the ground echoed through the house. “Shit”, I thought, panicked. “Now it’ll know where I am!”
Christ, lady. Get a grip. Thirty years old and afraid of the dark.
Waking up a few hours later to daylight and the world is a different place, with my mind its normal, rational (well, that’s debatable) self. And, after the longest, most dawdling introduction ever, here I am, in beautiful Key West — where I’ve swapped central heating for AC, and raccoons and squirrels for geckos and roosters (but thankfully, so far, no snakes).
I’ve run away (temporarily), and Key West is my haven. Nothing quite lifts the spirits like its endless blue skies, hot, sun-filled days, balmy evenings and swaying palm trees. Just the smell of the place sets my mind at ease — its tropical, heavy air. I resisted planting a kiss on the tarmac as I left the plane, but I did grab a Corona inside the airport in celebration, while I waited to be picked up.
I’ve come to escape the cruel Toronto winter, but I’m also hoping for some self-improvement time, as well as sun therapy. I want to feel inspired, get some work done, and generally transform my mood, after my long winter of discontent. A tall order, probably, but if anywhere can help, it’s Key West. I think we’ve all got a place like this — somewhere we’ve been before or at least dreamed about going, a paradise where all is well, deep breathing comes naturally, and mundane, everyday worries slip away with each pool-side cocktail or dip in the sea.
I feel extremely lucky to be down here and I’m trying to appreciate every moment of well-above-zero-degrees bliss. I’ll feel extra lucky if I can transform my skin from a shade that currently wouldn’t look out of place on embalming table, to what most people would consider a touch above pasty. I figure if I can accumulate enough freckles to conglomerate into what, from a distance, could pass as a tan, I’ll return home happy.