Red, white, yellow, green.

10:00pm. I was scrunched between cuddly friends on a leather couch in the dark back room of a wine bar in Durham. My friends were beside, before, and behind me. They sat on high black bar stools and low red velvet stools. Daniel bought me a glass of wine, and then Emily did, and then Allie did. I felt surrounded by love, and so happy, and so grateful.

2:00am. I was sitting in the bright white light of Raleigh-Durham Airport, which is abandoned in the middle of the night except for custodians whose vacuum cleaners echo across the empty ticketing bay. The chair banks have elbow rests so that you can’t lie down. I read Cloud Atlas and listened to the airport soundtrack, which, at 2:00am, was Tom Waits.

10:00am. I hadn’t slept at all. I was wandering near Gate E-2 at Houston International Airport, trying to find a place to lie down. The chair banks there also all have elbow rests. So instead I walked to the end of the terminal, where there were floor-to-ceiling windows letting in the sunshine, and curled up on the floor with my backpack as a pillow, and fell asleep.

4:00pm. On final approach to Philip Goldson International Airport in Belize City, the plane passes right over the Belize River. It’s jade-green, thirty feet deep, and infested with crocodiles. The jungle is so thick on both banks it looks like all the palm trees are about to fall right in. I screamed a little and then clapped my hand over my mouth. I felt surrounded by love, and so happy, and so grateful.

The Belize flag contains more colors than any other flag in the world.

The motto is Sub Umbra Floreo.

I flourish in the shade.



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