2015, Grand Manan Students, island life

Off-Island

By Lawron Ingersoll

A young lady looked out over the ocean, tapping her fingers against the weathered wood of the wharf’s rail to an imaginary beat. Admiring the water’s glassy surface, she hoped she would never leave this moment. The seagulls were not particularly loud that day; the weather was so humid it felt as if bits of rain were hanging motionless in the air. Perfect for contemplation.

It was a slow day at McLaughlin’s wharf, making for only a small amount of summer tourists, for which the girl was glad. In recent months, she had almost grown jealous of those who came and left the island as they pleased. Grand Manan was once her happy place, her serene bubble of tranquility. Lately, she had only felt longing for new experiences.

Graduation day was swiftly approaching. It was a whirlwind of emotions to even begin to think of leaving her friends and the island on which she was raised. She had never properly left the island in her life. The girl had lived all her nearly eighteen years on the same island, surrounded by the same people. The never-changing sameness was once a comfort to her.

The island just wasn’t as idyllic as it once had been. The shops lost their folksy charm, and she realized, as if for the first time, the roads all dead-ended into the ocean. It worried her that she had grown dissatisfied with such a seemingly perfect place. It worried her more that she had had very little other experience.

It was plain to see that other islanders thought differently. They were perfectly content with their quaint lifestyles, or at least they seemed to be. They would often tell her horror stories of how she would have to push through throngs of people simply to buy a coffee anywhere else. Secretly, she knew she could handle it, and that the exaggerative ways of islanders were to be taken from whence they came. Still, she was bombarded with family friends insisting she would be back with almost a smug tone. “They’ll be back. They always come back.” They seemed to taunt.

“But what about my aspirations?” Her thoughts would shoot back immediately. Education, career, and hopes of exploring the world all beckoned her off-island.