by Leanne Dunic

Story

Large, emerald mountains materialize through the haze as our ferry approaches Tokashiki. The landscape is a contrast to the flat terrain and the bustle of Okinawa. The ride becomes rough as we get closer, but the bumps are no problem. I’m on boats regularly for work. I can handle waves.

Due to lack of sleep, I barely made the ferry on time, boarding at exactly nine in the morning. The boat departed from seconds later. A similar event happened yesterday when I nearly missed my flight from Kyushu to the Ryukyu Islands. The doors of the plane closed two minutes after I reached my seat.

I’m exhausted from traveling and the strain of communicating with limited Japanese. I’m exhausted from counting and collecting marine life, watching bodies fade, unable to reverse death.

Back in Tacoma, I felt foggy, alone, and helpless – unaware of what I wanted from life. Although well over a year had passed, I’m embarrassed to admit I was still heartsick about the break-up with my boyfriend – if you could call him that. He was already married. There was nothing I could do about that, and it seems, there’s nothing I can do to stop his presence from continuing to blow wildly through me.