I swam without ceasing around the rocks guarding the island, the looming black rocks slick with surf. In sunlight they shone like onyx, as if polished. In a storm they were flat and dull as slate. I used to search for an opening in the rocks, some small gap through which to slip my body, in the hopes of finding calmer waters, because the seas were so choppy then, the waves churning as if in anger, the foam roiling up to the rock tips, but the rocks made a wall around the island, a wall that seemed impenetrable. I swam around the rocks with my thrashing crawl—I was never a good swimmer—always wondering where my strokes would take me, the sun like a deity watching my slow progress, scratching its head and muttering, Why her, why here, swimming in circles? I could never find a space in the rocks through which the island was visible. I could only imagine a place, wild with raw beauty, running with springs and vines, where the flowers grew as high as trees, the trees high as skyscrapers, where horses galloped on the sand, horses majestic as clouds, leaving sand upturned behind them like trails of sugar, which the waves would wash over, wash away, where blue butterflies and tropical birds dotted the flowers and trees like confetti, and all the fruit I could bear to eat. What a vision, this island. I swam around it for years. If only I’d thought to swim away.