An Island Watches Over Me – by Andrew Bairn

The smell of the ocean as I step out of the car… On the horizon stands majestic Kapiti Island. Just before sunset, perfect timing. I smile: I feel like I am coming home.

Opening the front gate I walk up the crushed shell path, each step bringing me closer to the family home of a dear friend.

Warmth as I open the door; I’m greeted first by a wide smile, then a rush of two small children as they clamour to hug me. A glass of red wine awaits me (indeed, several additional wines await me).

Paekakariki: this place is so familiar, welcoming and calm. A small seaside community, located on New Zealand’s west coast, just north of Wellington.

A simple yet vast dinner appears, and we all sit down at the dining table to catch up on events. A spectacular sunset flares across the sky, beautiful yellows, reds and oranges.

The two children refuse to eat broccoli. When it’s re-named “green carrots”, they are suspicious at first, then relent and happily eat this intriguing new vegetable. (Salad, however, is another matter.)

Throughout the night more wine is consumed than is strictly necessary. Conversation flows easily and continues into the wee small hours of the morning.

The evening comes to an end: the children have been asleep for hours, and the parents are envious, knowing too well that they’ll be up again very shortly.

In the spare room, I finally collapse into my bed. I soon drift off, warm and safe. Comforted in knowing that an island watches over me.

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