I wake up on the morning of Thanksgiving Day (October 25th) in Grenada, feeling like I have been re-born; just having emerged from the other side of a long, dark, scary tunnel. I have a lot to be thankful for.
Rewind Two Weeks:
With giddy excitement, I arrive at my new house-sitting gig in Grenada. Despite over 30 hours of travel from Saigon already under my belt, the last 10 hour flight from London has me giggling like a schoolgirl every time I look out the window at the sparkling ocean; the ocean which is to be my front yard for the next three months.
And arriving in Grenada is no disappointment. Everything is beautiful, from the luscious green island, to the friendly people, to the gorgeous property, to the sparkling ocean.
I take a day to settle in and meet a few neighbours before calling my “Swedish Squeeze”.
The ball drops.
I’d had a feeling something wasn’t right with us for a while. Despite a brief and lovely interlude in Sweden, we had been apart since June and I felt an ever-growing distance between us. After an email to him to make sure he still really wants to come in two weeks when he’s scheduled to arrive, he suggests speaking on Skype.
I learn that while I was on a train somewhere in Siberia, my “Squeeze” was “Squeezin” another lady, who is now pregnant.
The initial shock quickly gives way to anger. Although the terms of our relationship were still somewhat undefined, there is no room for promiscuity in my books – especially when there are pregnancies to contend with. I end the relationship, and his invitation to house-sit with me in Grenada is promptly revoked.
And with that I end the call, and go grocery shopping. (As you do).
Standing in front of the cans of tuna, it starts to hit me. My knees buckle, my vision darkens, my stomach turns. Overwhelm and panic overcomes me.
I’m here. On a desert island. In the middle of the sea.
For the next three months.
I’m now the statistic of two big breakups while traveling, and left to contend with trust issues that infidelity brings up in the best of us.
Buy your stuff and Go Home, Nora.
My inner voice is strong, guiding me carefully and quickly out of the store and back to the comfort and safety of my villa where the fallout can begin.
In the following days I lay low and nurture myself from so many things: recovery from the very hectic Ultimate Train Challenge which took a few bars of strength from my coffers, relaxing into the heat and pace of “island life”, and – of course – a broken heart. As much as I may have had reservations about our relationship, I had not expected this.
The ball drops. Again.
And then I get sick. I mean, really sick. I maintain a fever so high and so constant that I can’t do much more than sleep. With the accompanying headaches and body ache, I am unable to sit up for more than 10 minutes before having to lie down again. I lack the equilibrium or strength to do any more than feed myself simple food (thank goodness I went shopping earlier) and shuffle ungracefully from bed to chair to bed.
I’m too sick to even make it to the car to drive out for much-needed painkillers.
Being sick is never fun, but it’s additionally scary when you’re alone – and a stark reminder of it no less.
Through the following week of solid fever and associated symptoms, I battle a number of demons – seen and unseen, physical and emotional. I sweat through night after night of tormented, fevered dreams.
And I pray.
And then I wake up.
It’s Thanksgiving morning in Grenada.
I’ve weathered my first full night without a fever or headache. I have a long way to go to reach total health (for instance I now seem to have developed an unsightly and painful body rash and my hands and feet are so red and swollen that it actually hurts to touch anything or wear shoes), but – I’m moving in the right direction. At least I can make it to the car to get what I need now.
I have a new take on my relationship. It was clear we wouldn’t have been together forever, and I’m in a perfect place to rest, recover, hike, mediate, write, reflect, and mend. For him, his new partner of choice is apparently a good one; an old friend with whom he can build a life and have a child. This is good.
The sun is shining, the ocean is sparkling, and I’m living on a tropical island.
And so, I am thankful.