Getting ready for battle, eyes wide open, scared and frozen, preparing myself for possibly my last day on this planet. I sit in this crowded transport awaiting our arrival. The smells of blood, sweat, and tears surround us. Everyone’s anxiety level is skyrocketing. I look around and see bitten off fingernails covering the floor. The door of the transport opens with a loud screech as we stand up and storm the beach. It is one of the most dreary days, but perfect to keep us hidden from the enemy. I look around and see men, with boots and helmets as dark as night running to shore like a stampede of cattle. Running in the water gets tougher with each step with the heavy equipment we have on our backs. With conditions as smokey as a wild forest fire, seeing past your own hand is pretty much impossible. I look down and see red all around me, water as red as a giant Christmas bow. Trying to be as quiet as possible while racing to the beach like horses on the track, the waves are coming in like a gentle push from a friend. Finally reaching the beach, the skies are as gloomy as a funeral in the rain. Danger is everywhere around me. I look around and see my brothers, seeing them flood the beaches and get into position. I hear screams in the background as I try to find out where they are coming from. I put myself in a dangerous position, crouching and hiding behind the tallest palm tree I have ever seen, hoping it is big enough to hide my whole body. I tighten my helmet and secure my backpack. The next step is to check my ammo level and start to hunt. I start to move ahead and hear trees getting shot at. I lay on the ground and cover my head with my helmet that is as hard as the shell on a turtles back. I hear bullets ricocheting off of trees and hitting the ground right next to me. I yell to my brothers “ambush! Everyone down!” I look around to see everyone laying on the ground now. I start to shoot back, aiming and shooting. After a few headshots and hearing uncontrollable screaming for what seemed like hours, I stand up to a bloody massacre in the field at least 100 yards in front of me. Looking around the field, almost every palm tree is on the ground, chopped in half almost clean cut across. My brothers and I stand tall watching the brush smolder. The ambush is over and many lives are lost. We keep moving forward, walking past streams of red, pouring down the hills towards the beach. Finally we reach our destination. We keep a close watch on the area as we settle down. We see nothing but huts built out of palms for miles, most of which unfortunately have been burned down. One could tell this was once an exceptionally beautiful place to be in its past time. We hear nothing but the sound of crackling fire blowing in the breeze; the breeze fueling the fire. I look around at my fellow soldiers, my brothers. They are the closest thing I have ever had to family. I will do anything in my power to protect them because I know they would do the same for me. Everyone is covered in an ugly mixture of blood and sand. We made it through the objective in one piece.
“We are called to Evangelise and love all people” a sign reads in the distance. Arrive at the church doors, hanging there is still a decorated wreath from the holiday season. Investigate further into the church, a beautifully crafted stained glass window stands tall in front of you. Listen to the wind blowing past your ear and the scent of freshly cut grass grazes past your nose coming from down the road. Sit on the steps of the church and look down the street. Watch as the bright blue, yellow and black flag blows in the wind. See the tower that stands tall in the scorching sun as it looks over the smaller buildings below. Stare at the front lawn, trees that look like overgrown pineapples decorate the ground. Watch as the pickup trucks and busses drive past much faster than the speed limit says. Move down the street a ways. See the stage sitting just off of the shore hiding behind a cut off wall that blocks the grass from touching the sand. Sit against the stage and listen to the things going on around you. Hear the waves crashing practically next to you. See people walking to and from work for their shift changes. Look up at the sky and try not to be blinded by the intense rays of the sun. Glance around the stage that you are sitting on. Count all of the ants that are climbing the walls to get to you; there are too many of them to count. Look to your right and notice a statue of some kind of native animal. Go over to the statue and notice that it is a blended brown and tan color. The top scales are rusting and make it look like it has been there for quite some time. Realize this is the center of town based on the placement of the statue. Witness a school bus stop in front of the statue to let children off as their school day has come to an end. Walk down the long narrow street. Pass by the souvenir shop that has a painted lighthouse on the front of the building. The sign in the window on the door reads closed as it is not yet time to open for the day. Observe a group of local high school kids walk by speaking a different language. Greet them and ask them what language it is they are speaking. Find out that they are speaking French. Say goodbye and be on your way. Read a sign that says “Jays Discount Variety Store” with an arrow that points down a side road. Follow the arrow down the side street. See the store just waiting for you to go inside and purchase something. Walk into the ice cold store, you find an extravagant variety of imported goods throughout the whole store. It is easy to spot out what has been imported and what has been made on the island. Go through the aisles; try to take in all of the different items on the shelves. Walk up to the check out area and make a purchase. Stroll out of the store and continue walking back to the main street. Turn left and notice a building that has massive pool balls painted on the front of the building. Take pictures of the building and some elements around it. Finally you are called back to the truck. Make the hike back up the hill and notice that the town gets busier as you are leaving. Pass by the church one last time and give it one last glance. Get on the truck and pull away from the town, leaving all of the wonderful sights behind.
Feeling the gentle breeze blow past me, I overlook the island with my over extending, eggshell white body and wonder how I am not tan yet. I have stood here for so long that it feels like it has been an eternity. They built me in 1887 and I haven’t moved since. Some say that I am one out of only 5 others that share my birthday and are still standing today. The love I have for my home is unbreakable. The sights I have seen are remarkable and unforgettable. From up top, the smell of sea salt fills the air, blowing in the breezy wind. The wind and sun are good old friends of mine. The scorching sun keeps me nice and warm both inside and out with its gentle glow, while the wind keeps me cool with a calm breeze during the hotter days. It never gets cold here until night when the moon is out. During that time, I shine my eye catching light over the harbor where the boats pass by, waving an accepting hello with a wink of my eye. When I see large ships float by, I get excited because I know there are new friends coming my way. People from all over the world come to see me every day. I am always making friends and some even write to me explaining their experiences they have had while climbing my stairs. I enjoy smiling at the people taking pictures of me, it gives me great joy to know they will show others what I look like and maybe one day come to visit. I look out and see fluffy white and gray clouds right above my head. Sometimes I wish I was a taller so I can be among them. There are two people that I like to call my assistants. At night, they climb up my tall odd shaped body and make sure I am working correctly. Sometimes during the day if I am getting some color, they paint me with bright white paint to make sure I have a fresh new look. I wish they would paint me like some of those neon colored houses but I like the traditional look much better. The island is the most beautiful place, between hearing the crashing waves, seeing the multicolored blue water, watching birds fly past me, and feeling the wind breeze by me, I know my home is where I want to stay.
Listening to and feeling the breeze against my skin, blowing my strands around, the wind is trying to tell me something. It’s as if the clouds are holding in their tears until the perfect moment, just waiting, as the waves form in the ocean breeze. Palms sway all around me as I hang here from this tree. There is a constant breeze on my shell , making my insides cold in this heat. At times, it seems as though it is my time to ripen and detach from this overgrown plant. Overlooking the most beautiful view of the beach has given me a positive outlook. Waves swirling around and folding into themselves as they turn from a turquoise- blue to a tan- white every second of the day. A beautifully lit sky, heated by the hottest of stars, somehow keeps everything warm around me. The horizon holds a wonderful mystery. Where does the sky and the water meet? Do they even touch? Those puffy white clouds are great at playing hide and seek with me and the sun. Sometimes I can’t find the sun for a few hours, it’s very good at this game. Winds are picking up all around the island. The sun is deciding to play what looks like a long game of hide and seek, this time with much darker clouds. I can now smell a storm approaching. Rain feels cool on my shell with the breeze coming from the direction of the ocean. The storm is like a warning, telling there is danger in the future. The final gust of wind. That is the one that takes me away. Here I lay on the cold, rainy ground. This is my new home.