By Sue William Silverman
I didnít want to leave.
Even though Iíd been young, just six, when we originally moved here from the States, it was as if my skin, itself, still remembered the chill of asphalt-gray mornings, frigid hands and feet. All winter bleak trees longed for green. I longed. Static, suspended in ice, we waited to finally melt into summer.
Only here, on my island of mimosa-scented charms, sun-drenched amulets, I felt transfigured into endless days of warmth.
But the move was decided. My sister, now in high school, was too old to attend the Antilles School. She would have to continue her education in the States. My father, a banker, had a new position outside New York City.
After liftoff, I pressed my forehead against the window.
I seemed to see all of my Caribbean life far below, in one glance, as
we arced toward the horizon. For years, Iíd ridden my donkey up/down
volcanic mountains, hooves clip-clopping Calypso rhythms. Our cook,
Sylvanita, twisted the necks of chickens, voodooing them into dinner.
I slept frothed in a mosquito net, stars and moon bluing the reflected
viridian sea. I waded into dolphined waves, seaweed haloing my hair.
We landed a few hours later, like magic, at Idlewild
airport. On the way to the hotel, speeding across the city in a sun-yellow
taxi cab, I pressed my face to the window. Times Square marquees blazed
red and white, like neon frangipani petals, fluttering. Skyscrapers
soared high as West Indian mountains. The Marlboro man, tanned golden
as a pirate, puffed halos of smoke-- almost like my breath, gently fogging
the window. Rising above Riverside Drive, Yale Truck tires spun billboard
lights, around and around, as our taxi crossed diamond-studded suspension,
bridging water frozen by alchemy. Snowy clouds mystically caped stars
Sue William Silverman's first memoir, Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You (University of Georgia Press), won the Associated Writing Programs Award Series in creative nonfiction and is in its sixth printing. Love Sick (W. W. Norton), her second book, is under development for a Lifetime Television original movie. Silverman's books have been translated into German, Norwegian, Chinese, and Japanese and her poems and short works have appeared in such places as the Louisville Review, Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Charleston Review, WordWrights, Nebraska Review, Chronicle of Higher Education, Redbook, The Writerís Chronicle, Rockhurst Review, Southern Poetry Review, Mid-America Poetry Review, Absinthe Literary Review, Poetry Motel, Potomac Review, and Prairie Schooner. She is associate editor of Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction as well as a faculty member in Vermont Collegeís MFA program.