I have never craved the island in the beer commercials. The white sand beach, the turquoise water, the palm trees. Sure, I like to swim and I like to read on a beach blanket when these option are presented to me, but it’s not something I seek out.
My preference is a dry martini, not a sweet rum cocktail. Doing and not lolling.
So it has come as a surprise to me, in the time since my marriage suddenly unraveled, that all I have wanted to do is lie on a beach, just like the one in the beer commercial.
Although all the strain I’ve experienced has been psychological, and although it has been commonly remarked that I am Doing So Well, and that I myself have realized that my life is much better this way, I still feel battered, physically, like I have been thrown down a flight of stairs.
I’ve been told this is the normal effect of months of stress and tension. For the first time in my life, the thought of lying in the sunshine and doing very little — if that — seems restorative, not boring.
My job as a travel writer gives me a unique justification to go pretty much anywhere I’d like and so when I’ve brought up this craving with my friends in these past months, the sensible question was; well why don’t you just go? My answer was that this beach craving was so uncharacteristic of me that I worried that if I booked something, by the time the trip came around I wouldn’t want to do it anymore and then I’d be stuck.
But instead, the craving stuck. And so here I am now, at the W Vieques, in Puerto Rico. After one day, I’m partially sunburned, entirely relaxed, and wondering why I resisted this for so long.
Although one thing has not changed: I still prefer a dry martini to any drink made with rum.
Alison J. Stein
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