Me too. No place in the world elicits that kind of draw than an island in the South Seas. Like sharks. And long sea journeys. And sublime beauty. And all the other things that get your senses humming. Also, having written two books about the region, I liked the idea of completing a South Pacific trilogy.
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You followed in the footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson. Why him? Have you read his books? Stevenson has long been peripheral to my life, just hovering in the margins. It seemed like no matter where I washed up, whether on the islands of Kiribati or the Central Coast of California, I was somehow following in his footsteps.
I liked how he described the early books on the South Pacific. He called them sugar candy sham epics. This dude can write, I thought. And then, the more I read of him — the more I began to immerse myself in his world — the more I felt like I was communing with some kind of soul brother. What was it like going back to Kiribati? Really trippy. At low tide, it seemed like nothing had changed since I lived there, which is remarkable really.
Elsewhere in the world, the pace of change seems to have accelerated to warp speed.
Kiribati, however, resides elsewhere in the space-time continuum, in a place where the movement of a turtle would be regarded as swift and reckless. At high tide, however, it is apparent that everything has changed. The islands are sinking. She lives with her husband Alex and step-children Katherine, Mac, and Perrin. With a smile, of course. As a dedicated weightlifter with two recent half marathons in her wake who could be mistaken for a local in foreign countries using her multi-lingual superpower, Rebecca felt that she was constantly striving, but still incomplete.
My own inner strength can inspire others. Although she relates with the person who is concerned for looking good and getting it right, her yoga practice taught her that these feelings prevent growth. Jump into Crow! Whether you fall or stick or halfway stick it — you are doing the work. To the angels and all the saints. And God. In the great silence it sounded like a bomb. With an effort he continued to keep his eyes closed. He remained still, and quiet. But there was no peace anymore.
Now there was only turmoil, inside and out. He could feel it, vibrating from and between the two rows of waiting men. He could feel it vibrating within him. Dom Philippe counted to one hundred. Then opening his blue eyes, he stared directly across the chapel, to the short, round man who stood with his eyes open, his hands folded on his stomach, a small smile on his endlessly patient face. And the bells began. The perfect, round, rich toll left the bell tower and took off into the early morning darkness.
It skimmed over the clear lake, the forests, the rolling hills. To be heard by all sorts of creatures. A clarion call. Their day had begun. That would be ridiculous.
In the background an old Beau Dommage album was playing. Beauvoir hummed quietly to the familiar tune. Beauvoir laughed. Poor Mom. Felt she had to marry him. After all, who else would have him? Beauvoir laughed again. I could hardly give you a worse gift. He reached down beside the table in the sunny kitchen.
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A platter of bacon and scrambled eggs with melted Brie sat on the small pine table. The cat leapt to the ground and found a spot on the floor where the sun hit. Beauvoir lifted it into plain sight. Happy anniversary. And I got you nothing.
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Annie took the plunger. You are full of it, after all. She thrust the plunger forward, gently prodding him with the red rubber suction cup as though it was a rapier and she the swordsman. So like Annie. Where other women might have pretended the ridiculous plunger was a wand, she pretended it was a sword. Of course, Jean-Guy realized, he would never have given a toilet plunger to any other woman.
Only Annie. As he spoke he looked at Annie. Her eyes never left him, barely blinked. She took in every word, every gesture, every inflection. Enid, his ex-wife, had also listened. But there was always an edge of desperation about it, a demand. As though he owed her.
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As though she was dying and he was the medicine. Enid left him drained, and yet still feeling inadequate. But Annie was gentler.
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More generous. Like her father, she listened carefully and quietly. With Enid he never talked about his work, and she never asked. With Annie he told her everything. He told her what they found, how they felt, and who they arrested. Beauvoir nodded and chewed and saw the Chief Inspector in the dim cabin.
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Whispering the story. So as the two homicide investigators deftly searched, Chief Inspector Gamache had told Beauvoir about the bathmat. And somehow deciding a bathmat was the perfect hostess gift. Her mother never tired of asking either. Her father, on the other hand, decided I was an imbecile and never mentioned it again. That was worse. When they died we found the bathmat in their linen closet, still in its plastic wrapping, with the card attached. Beauvoir stopped talking and looked across at Annie.
She smelled fresh and clean. Like a citron grove in the warm sunshine. No makeup. She wore warm slippers and loose, comfortable clothing.