We spend three long, luxurious days by the ocean, tucked away in our little paradise. Gamers fill the deck between the pool and the sea: scrabble, bridge, dice, and crosswords abound. Some of our friends are sun worshippers, while others huddle under the umbrellas and bask in las brisas instead. The whales come back to amaze us with the sound of their breaching and the wonder of their sheer size. Ships glide back and forth to and from the harbour. Over these few days, we lose Camilla and Bruce, greet Deanna and Paul, lose Marilynn and Bill, and greet Chris, Dave, Barb and Doug, and lose Pat and Bill. It’s busy, but masses of fun. We have dinner at the restaurant down the street one night – El Caribe – and drink copious amounts of wine. The organ player provides upbeat Mexican tunes and the three women end up dancing. Camilla asks him if he can do Pretty Woman on his organ and we spend hours laughing at the unintentional double entendre. They write a wonderful poem about being here and give me a boogie board for my birthday! We make tequila toasts down by the beach or on the sand, basking in the silvery glow of a full moon. Our friendships, both new and solidified, demonstrate the true nature of good people, the kindness, generosity, intelligence, and love of life they all possess. Being here makes me appreciate how fortunate I am in having these people in my life. When Chris and Dave arrive, Gracie realizes that this is a very special moment: mi hermana es aqui. Deanna is my friend from Grade Nine and she is here for my birthday, all the way from Victoria. How can I possibly deserve such love?
I wake up early on the 31st to a warm, cloudy day, the moon riding high in the sky, still in full radiance over the bay. Birds trill as they glide back and forth, feeding and calling. The waves are fairly calm and I wonder if there will be whales in the inlet again today. I am sixty years old and still pondering life, where I fit, who I am. Does this never cease? Today I miss my mother. She no longer has a daily memory, forgets that I am here, but when I call her, I can hear that she somehow misses me too. I also miss my father-in-law; it's the first shared birthday that I will spend without him. Today I want nothing more than being with my husband, my dear friends and family – or at least, skyping with those who are not here. I long to hug my son and daughter-in-law, whom I’ve not hugged in over a year. And my daughter, to whom I talk most days, and my grandchildren – oh I miss them on this auspicious, misty early morning. I will be all right of course, and will celebrate in laughter and style, but awakening to this day has been tinged with sadness for some reason. Could I be somewhat homesick or am I just in shock that I have already reached this advanced age? There is still so much to do!! So I guess I’ll just pull on my swim shoes and get out there and boogie.