Paradise had mixed feelings. She never knew how to feel about us. When she first asked us to land on her shores, her arms were wide open and her smile, oh here smile was warm. But Paradise became confused soon after we arrived and she took a terribly long time to decide what to do with us. There were the days when Paradise set the table with hibiscus and oleander, parrot fish, turquoise seas, soft warm sand, a goodly breeze, puffy little clouds marching along the North Shore, sweet sun, long happy walks on a Wilderness Road, and would invite the best of friends to surround us and make good conversation. On those good days, Paradise would make a dessert of cobalt sky that fell out of the West, filled with sugary stars and then a comforting Bromide full moon to settle our stomachs. This was when Paradise seemed as though she was all we needed.
Paradise went on angry strikes in the kitchen though. She would throw the pots and pans and leave dirty dishes in the sink. She would cast a hot burning stare on us as she sat in the yard and dragged us in to her blue funk. Paradise would make the sky turn a milky humid white and would blow a 30 knot wind for days to rattle the windows, beat our skin with driving rain of cold pins, churn the seas to a witchy green that threatened to swallow us and even Paradise herself. Paradise could shut us in the house for days and drive us to tears with our boredom and sadness and hope for home. She often offered us thunder and lightning that could come in the windows and through the floors and shake our hearts to pieces.
Paradise is not forgiving and when she started cooking good meals of sun and calm seas again after a gale, she often lulled us into believing that all was forgotten. We stupidly bellied up to the table, smiling and thanking Paradise, and she would serve a meal so filling that we became sleepy and unable to move. Then Paradise would begin to play her little tricks on us just to see what we might do. Paradise would tell us secrets and attempt to divide us with her cunning – she adopted the most bizarre methods of mind control and experimented on us, just as she did with her beguiling recipes. Her all out tirades became much easier to stand than her quiet trickery.
And then as suddenly as Paradise came into our lives, she decided it was time for us to leave. Paradise showed us the door and handed us a little brass box containing a tiny peeping tree frog to keep us company on our trip home. It was over and weirdly, we would miss Paradise and her cooking.