The boat approached Key West and I was suddenly seduced by the tropics. The swaying palm trees, the island music, the smell of conch grilling on the harbor BBQ – we were finally here, ready to bask in the sun for 48 hours and de-ice from the frigid Boston winter weather.
The room at the Wicker Guest House was perfectly eco-friendly, clad with a baby gecko in my bed the next morning. I hope he was happy there, because it took about three seconds for me to jump up and scream, which I’m quite sure startled the little guy right out of his relaxation.
Outside our room a hammock swayed in the breeze and palm trees shaded the pool area. There was an unmistakable Hemingway-esq ambiance of the place that tucked guests in for a good night’s sleep.
The next day, wild dolphins welcomed us in the Gulf of Mexico – five to be exact. The night was capped off with a sunset sail, complete with a storm approaching from the east. As we sailed back to land, water spouts formed behind us – mini-tornadoes were stating their claim on the sea and I was eager to get my feet back on land.
We walked through the rain past a dark man in all white. He had long white hair and a white beard and appeared randomly throughout the day on street corners or in storefronts. He was hard to miss, and was now perfectly perched on a wooden chair ready to read my palm. The storm was getting closer, but I was focused on the man in white.
He turned my hands over and said, “You will travel, and travel far. Foreign places feel like home to you. You are most comfortable in far away places – be kind to the foreigners you meet along the way, they will guide you.”
He went on to tell me I should never worry about money, “riches will not be your problem,” and that might stress and digestive issues can easily be cured with raw carrots and grapes.
“You were a straight-A student, or you could have been. Studies came easy to you. You are meticulous – everything you do is black and white, matter-of-fact, with precision and thought.” (In case you’re wondering, I was not a straight-A student until grad school.)
The man in white confirmed, “love is not easy for you- mainly because you haven’t yet found love within yourself. You seek companionship that allows you to be free,” and went on to shed some light into my later years.
My tears were flowing as fast as the rain, but it didn’t matter – I was completely enamored with the man in white’s analysis and I felt a odd sense of security after listening to him.
We walked out in the rain. Next stop: unknown. And just then, as if the heavens had opened up just for me, Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” wafted through the damp air.
“Over there! Let’s go!” I shouted. Gerd Rube playing live at Willy T’s on Duval Street. I sipped my Cuervo 1800 (it was tequila or watered down margaritas) and we spent the night at Willy’s with Gerd singing our favorite songs. The rain subsided and I walked in puddles back to the hotel, the words of a palm reader and the sound of an acoustic guitar still stuck in my head.