Salty air ruffles the strands of hair that hand free – too short to be collected in the hastily tied knot at the back of my head. The Caribbean sun beats down, battling with the fresh breeze off the sea.

From a lower part of the deck, someone shouts and tosses something up at me. My arm swoops down, catching the small orange ball with ease. It’s a rare treat and I peel back the rind with gentle fingers. The sharp juice bites into the scrapes which adorn my boat-worn hands but I don’t care. I was never allowed such delicacies back home. I wasn’t allowed much of anything back home. Probably one of the reasons I bolted the first chance I got.

From my perch on the prow, I gaze across the deck and up and down the rigging at the elsewhere unseen variety of people decorating the vessel. As I bite down on a segment of the orange – its sunbeam flavour bursting on my tongue – I think life has never been more wonderful.

(26/2/17: Oranges)

Heather Caldwell

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