I Can See Clearly Now

Illustration: OWN Digital

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Carin Clevidence leaves her pain on a distant shore.

I'm with my sister, Shelly, on the rocky peak of a remote island in the Falklands. Below us, black-browed albatrosses wheel toward their nests. My sister breathes in and cries, "I love the smell of guano in the morning!" Then she laughs, big and loud, full of joy.

Once, in a movie theater, my husband shushed me for laughing that loudly. Six thousand miles away, in Massachusetts, he has just moved out. For months since his blindsiding betrayal I've felt lost, trapped with a cold stranger. The pain is like a dark, locked room.

Now Shelly, my 10-year-old daughter, and I have joined my mother and stepfather on the ship where they work. No one on board has ever been to this island before. Few people have.

My sister's laugh peals out. She throws an arm around my waist, and something in me swings open. The world rushes in. I feel the sun blazing on my face, hear waves crashing on the rocks. Below us my mother and daughter search the tussock grass for Magellanic penguins. The blue sea unfolds before us in every direction.

I know the sadness that waits for me at home. But right now I'm here, in a wondrous, unexpected place. I want to inhabit this moment as fully as my sister inhabits her laugh. That familiar sound, one I've heard all my life, pulls me back to who I am.