Chapter 5

Written by: Suraya Dewing

Feeling lighter than she had for a long time, Angelica followed the path. As she walked she ran a hand over the rough bark of the trees and felt her fingers tingle. She felt liberated. In the tiny split second between breaths and thoughts she saw her future. She knew exactly what she had to do.

She half ran and half skipped to catch her bus. It was extraordinary to be so filled with certainty and to know that everything she had done in her life had led to this moment. It made her feel special…. chosen.

When she got to her flat Craig was flying out the door to a lecture, late as usual. As he passed he sent an apologetic look to the stacked dirty dishes on the benchtop. She did not know why he even bothered. It was always like this.

As soon as she had half-heartedly tidied she set her computer up on the wobbling wooden table and typed ‘travel to the Pacific Islands’ into the search engine. As she scrolled through possibilities she studied a map of the area until her narrowed eyes settled on a small dot in the middle of the blue ocean. Something told her this was Taru, where she would finish Dr. Noland’s study.

She could easily apply for a grant once she was there. Feeling inspired and driven she needed to leave immediately. The big challenge was to get herself to this remote Island.

The next day she packed a few belongings and boarded a plane. The flight to New Caledonia was three hours and when she landed she was instantly struck by its beauty, its pristine golden sands, the swaying palms and the delicious smell of coconuts. Weaving through all those sensations was the sweet heavenly perfume of frangipani. Contentment slid over her.

When she asked directions, a leathery fisherman smoking a pipe pointed to a tatty old boat bobbing beside a rickety wharf. She stepped carefully over coils of rope, buoys and the odd fluttering piece of rubbish and onto the boat. It dipped dangerously over to one side and when it got going the motor chugged black smoke into the air. 

Finally, there was an island with tufts of bush, tall palms, sand and a small village which appeared deserted. The boat suddenly stopped.

“You’ll have to paddle yourself in,” the captain gruffly said, nodding at a small skiff moored to a rusty steel pole. 

She nervously lowered herself into the boat and energetically paddled, afraid that, at any moment it would sink. As she paddled, she searched the shoreline but could see nobody. The waves pushed the boat up onto the shoreline and with one last brisk paddle she anchored it. Greatly relieved, she leapt out onto the sand.

But instead of feeling grainy as she expected it to, it felt soft. She dug her toes into it then lifted them. Minuscule plastic balls glided over her toes and wobbled on her nails.