Essay From Delanie Kirwin

Diploma from the University of Life, Awarded by Delanie J. Kirwan October 21st, 2013

Victoria was an old family friend from the Keys. I remember counting down the days until I got to see her and the islands again. She was a short, stout woman with wispy silver and white hair. Hours in the sun left her face and shoulders covered with freckles. When she hugged me it felt like home, a warm safe embrace. She always smelt like the beach; Salt, Sunscreen, Sand...Dressed in long sarongs, a wide brimmed sun hat and dangling stone earrings. It only seemed fitting she lived on an island.

Her voice was calm and intriguing. It seemed to me she knew everything a person ought to know. She shared her knowledge, and a smile, with the people around her, no matter where she went. I clung onto every word.

Together we used to spend hours exploring the mangroves, pulling on fins and snorkel masks, we'd dive into the cool, crystal waters. We'd chase the brightly colored fish and crabs, then return to the surface giggling. I was convinced she was a mermaid. It was the only thing that made sense to me as a kid- how else could you explain the dolphins coming up to us, begging to part of the fun ? Today I have the same mentality; a sparkling image in the waves, of the curious mermaid who taught me the beauty of the world.
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