Once, I wished for a place in the Keys that I could escape to on a moment’s notice, directly on the water, with good fishing, good swimming and snorkeling, easy to launch a kayak from, no cost to spend a night or two there, and no law enforcement personnel to hassle. I didn’t need running water, a toilet, or a laundry list of rules stating all of the things I could not do while I was there. What I was granted was all that I had wished for, and then some.
On a whim, I strongly urged (read: flat-out insisted) Omar pack everything up (tequila, kayak, and fishing rods) a day earlier than our intended camping excursion, and make a run with me down to the Keys. He was reluctant but knew how important to me this was. I grew up surrounded by concrete. He grew up in Jamaican “bush”. He knew what I was missing. We didn’t arrive at our destination until midnight. Only a crazy person would seriously believe she could find a camp site in the dark, right? That probably says a lot about Omar’s mental stability as well, huh? We got to the area I had originally thought we could pitch a tent on and I saw nothing but “No Camping” signs for miles. “Just so you know, our back-up plan is to not sleep, go to a bar, drink tequila and sleep in the truck, try again once the sun comes up,” I said.
We stopped a couple of times to investigate potential campsites in the dark. They each proved to suck in different ways. But, like Goldilocks, we found something that was “just right.” We stood at the edge of the crystal-clear water while a waning half moon stared down at us. A cool breeze in the middle of the hottest summer we could remember in recent history came off the ocean and surrounded us. We pitched a tent in less than 5 minutes and set up chairs and fishing rods. Omar was moments from catching two snapper at the same time as I sipped tequila and tasted freedom.
Stars sporadically fell from their places in the heavens, and we silently wished upon each of them. After realizing that the very spot we stood upon was indeed a wish come true, I jokingly wished for “greens” to go with our fish. Within a half an hour Omar was pulling a reasonable size leaf of what looked like lettuce off of his hook. We stared at each other wide-eyed and then started laughing. This would be “our place” always. It’s just a place you drive by on your way to Key West until you wish to find it.