Twenty-Two

We made a pros and cons list today. I hate lists. I’ll do everything I can to avoid one. Shows how puddled we are trying to make this decision to stay in the Caribbean for one more season or go home. To write a list.

Our list was made into four columns. Stay – positive, stay – negative, leave – positive, leave – negative.

I stared at the paper. ‘Why’s it in four columns? Aren’t the positive reasons for staying the same as the negative ones for leaving?’

My husband glared at me. He was holding the pen. ‘Just get on with it and stop moaning.’

So we began. He was right – though I hopes he never reads this. There is a nuance in the staying and going. And when all was said and done, we counted up. At this point I did merge the columns into two numbers: for leaving and staying.

Gulp. ‘There are more reasons to leave than there are to stay,’ I concluded. That number balance felt suddenly heavy – and frankly unexpected.

I stared at the column. ‘Hold on a sec. If we take out “Hannah’s remedial mannerisms” and Jack’s tyrannical moments” that evens the board. We did write them as a bit of joke.’ I pointed a look at him. ‘Right?’

Jack glanced up. ‘What do you mean?’

‘I mean, if I take those two points out, the numbers are even again. The same. Twenty-two for each.’ I scanned the lists again. ‘I guess I could take out “flog the blog” in the negatives for leaving.’

This was referring to Jack’s opinion of my blog’s quality when we go home. The ‘how many times can you write your blog as you’re walking round the bog-walk every day?’ question. Not that I could do that right now anyhow. Since you have to drive five minutes to get there.

Jack smiled enigmatically. ‘No, leave it in there. I like it.’

Shrug. I had another look. The car staying in storage for another year: positive for going. The summer in the UK approaching: positive for going. Winter from October onwards with a possible second virus wave at home: two positives for staying. We’ll definitely want to be back here then.

I said, ‘So if that’s it, then it stands as even. We have exactly the same number of reasons to leave and sail home than we do to stay here for another season.’

We took in the scene around us. It was another windy day. The trade winds have been set on consistent hair dryer high for over a week. Last few days have been cloudy, so it’s been relatively cool. Not much rain either.

This is sugar cane burning weather. We’ve been catching big gusts of smoky air from the land. Brushing the ash off Quest’s decks.

Sugar cane is burnt before the cane is harvested. This way you can get rid of all the insects and leaves, making the cane shoots easier to pick. Farmers call this burning the trash. They’re left with only the stuff they want.

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