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Four Years at the Mount

Stranded on an island...

Paradise Found

Michael Kenney Jr.
MSN Class of 2019

(8/2016) Before I give you my answer, I have to partially answer the prompt with a pivotal question: What kind of island am I stranded on?

I would like to think myself as resilient and innovative as Tarzan, but I know that if I was stranded on a fierce jungle island with only a pocket knife and some flint, I would quickly prove Darwinís theory that nature rebukes the unfit. Indeed, if I were stranded on hellhole island, my three wishes would be simple: a paper bag to control my hyperventilated breathing, an exorbitant amount of bug spray, and of course, a one way flight to anywhere else.

But I hate to think of myself shuddering from a cannibalís distant coo and dodging the emerald stares of panthers. So, if I have to be stranded on a fictitious island, I may as well reside as its tiki king. My response below records my reasoning for picking the three quintessential items necessary for a solo trip on an oasis island.

Iím pretty much alone. There are a few clouds shaped like hula dancers, but they slowly dance away. I see a parrot orbiting the treeline, but soon enough, he too glides off. There is a cruise ship, floating far off in the distance, and I hope it never catches me. Indeed, I am on an island paradise reserved just for me.

As I explore my new home, I come across a bluff hidden in the treeline. A steady stream runs down it and crashes into a warm spring. I figure "up" is the best direction, so I scale the skyscraping rocks. About midway up the bluff, I misstep and tumble into the spring below. The warm water fizzles through my hair and slides across my skin. It feels like liquid gold. After floating and splashing for while, I feel refreshed and decide to give the bluff another try.

After about an hour of climbing, I reach the apex of the island and my eyes meet the most spectacular view imaginable. To my left, I spot a pod of dolphins bounding beside the shoreline, and to my right, I see miles of palm trees, draping across mountains and valleys alike.

But rock climbing made me tired, so I make my first wish for a hammock. There it is! A silk-woven hammock drooping between two palm trees. I curl up in the manmade cocoon and rock back and forth. Thereís a gentle breeze. The leaves flutter across one another, in seeming efforts to chime in with the rhythmic ebb and flow of the waves down below. The symphonic blend sounds like the tune of a Bob Marley song, and with its gentle whisper, I rock to sleep.

I wake up, but my dream is far from over. As I suspend between the two palm trees, I reach down and pluck a strand of Dendrobium flowers. I string the flowers into a lei and place it over my neck. I remain there, gaping at my surroundings for what must be several hours.

After some time, the sun shifts, shedding light into my once shaded area. The sun and I rarely get along. I am of Irish descent, which means I have the complexion of a ghost in the winter and that of a tomato in the summer. But today, on this island, the sun knows Iím his only client, so I do not need to waste my second wish on SPF 100 sunscreen. Instead, the sunís rays tint me into the perfect shade of golden-brown.

I do, however, want to curb the sunís inevitable glare. As I make my way back towards the shore, I make a wish for a pair of sunglasses. I figure if I am going to be looking at my reflection in the water, however, the sunglasses may as well look good. So I wish for signature aviators with black lenses and golden rims.

When I reach the shore, I dig my feet into the wet sand and crinkle it between my toes. CRASH! The wave meets the shore and splashes up to my knees. Unlike the hot spring, the water here is brisk and crystal clear.

A rainbow of colors scatter in the coral reef beyond me. It reminds of a painterís palette, but its image is an absolute masterpiece. Fish of every kind dash to and fro, and once again, I am completely mesmerized.

I see one notably juicy fish, and my stomach begins to grumble. I realize itís been nearly an entire day and I have not had a bite to eat. I make my third and final wish for a fishing rod.

As I stand knee deep in the water, I imagine I must be the luckiest man alive. Thereís a tug on my rod, and I have caught another fish -- this time, a particularly sizable one. I cast it into my hammock, a makeshift fishing net, and sling it over my shoulder. I suspect there must be a volcano near the hot spring, so I retrace my steps with the bundle of fish flapping on my back.

Before long, I find a volcano that bubbles and occasionally oozes over its crust. One by one, I pierce each fish with a stick and watch them crisp through the lavaís steam. I imagine I look like a boy roasting a marshmallow over a campfire.

I set up my hammock again, devour each bite of the fish, and lick each of my figures to get the last of their savory promise. The sun begins to set just as beautifully as it rose hours earlier. I place my aviators and lei on my bare chest and let the fishing rod slip between my fingers. My eyes slowly shut, and I take a deep breath. I hope to be lost forever.

Read other articles by Michael Kenney Jr.