Damn him for even presenting that option! I mean, how was I supposed to turn down sex when my Gemini mind was already drunk with conversation and his pheromones were teasing my carnal senses. My mind said, “Keex, have some fucking integrity” but my body said “Fuck it”. Next thing I knew I was back at his crib and our pattern of “friends with benefits” started all over again. The difference was, I knew this was temporary. I knew that moving to Turks & Caicos would totally redefine our relationship and that he might phase out of my life completely over the next two years. I certainly didn’t want that, but I had to be realistic. Two years is a long time and I’d have to be naive not to recognize the possibility of him falling in love with someone else and the awkwardness that would cause in our friendship. At least for me. So I wanted to enjoy what we had in the meantime. Besides, moving to an island with a population of three hundred made sex seem like an unlikely possibility for the next two years. I had to get it while I could.
Nothing amplified the potential for loneliness like my visit to the private resort island in Turks & Caicos (TCI) for my third interview. I arrived to sunshine and a remarkably slower pace. There was an ease and nonchalant friendliness that kinda jarred my hardened New York mentality. The drive along the main highway from the airport to the resort’s private dock was smooth and stress free; completely different from the high stakes bobbing and weaving of yellow cabs, that unnerving feeling of narrowly missed accidents, and the jolting sound of screeching brakes. Leeward Highway was lined with sprawling oceanfront resorts, small shopping plazas and restaurants designed specifically for tourists who flock there for TCI’s most valuable resource: the beach. The ocean, even from my car window, literally took my breath away.
The resort’s private dock made it obvious I’d been invited someplace exclusive. The Welcome Pavilion was infused with the spa’s signature scent where we were invited to sit and enjoy refreshments of our choice until boarding the boat. As we began our 25 minute journey across water so turquoise it looked artificial, I peered through my curls as the wind whipped through my hair and was awed by the endless liquid landscape and how the water danced behind the boat in Busby Berkley patterns. Hotel management greeted us with warm handshakes and I was driven by buggy to my ocean facing hotel room by a staff member and expat who’d been there for ten months.
I was instantly captivated by the lush beauty of the island as we traveled along the dirt road surrounded by tropical foliage, sunshine, luxurious private homes and beach villas tucked behind trees for privacy. I’d never imagined calling a place like this “home”. I felt my fears diminish and my expectations rise. So, with wide-eyed excitement I asked my driver and future colleague “Don’t you just love living here?”. Her disheartening response was “It’s alright”. Um, total buzz kill! So I had to ask how living amongst such magnificent beauty could only be “alright”. She said “It’s beautiful... but this is all there is.” And I spent the next two nights and three days on this quiet beauty of an island realizing she was absolutely right. It’s a perfect romantic getaway for couples, a place for privacy and anonymity, a place to disconnect from the outside world and reconnect with yourself and nature. But it is not a place where divorced women in their forties meet fascinating single men and lead adventurous dating lives.
I realized that by taking this job, I’d have to let go of everything I thought mattered; “benefits” with Mr. Weird Science, comfort zones, rigid expectations, busyness, convenience, accessibility and maybe even the possibility of love (for now). Moving to a Caribbean island would doubtfully be about getting my groove back, per se, but it would definitely be a rebirth of sorts. And I needed that. So I signed the contract and returned to NYC still full of the same fears, resistance and negativity.