Yesterday I was given a reprieve. After almost five days of quarantine in my apartment here in Barbados, I was allowed leave to get my second COVID test. Michael met me outside our building and I dutifully followed him to the on-site doctor’s office. “It’s in there,” he said, pointing to an unlatched door in a taller-than-me white picket fence. I passed through, ducked under some trees, walked across three stepping stones and stepped onto an outdoor patio complete with a small five-foot deep pool, two chaise lounge chairs, and a tent-shaded dining area. On the covered porch sat a woman clad in jeans and a T-shirt looking at her phone. “Are you here for testing, too?” I asked. “Yes. This is my third time quarantining here. They won’t arrive until exactly 9.” I had read about “island time” and honestly would take every moment possible to sit in the sun on that lounge chair; the sun only kisses my private deck until 10am, at which point I mourn its passing until I wake up the next morning at 6am and wait for the clouds to clear so I can feel it on my skin for a few hours more.
The medical technician arrived–a tall Barbadian woman carrying three different bins, all marked with biohazard labels. “I’ll be with you in a few minutes,” she told us in her accented English.
A few minutes later, test complete, Michael met me outside the gate. “We’re going to take the long way back to your room.” He was eager to show me the rest of the resort. “Can you keep your hand in your pocket though or something?” he asked. The blue band on my left wrist indicated I wasn’t really supposed to be out of my room yet. So I stuck it in my bag that hung at my side and when we passed people I’d pretend to be hunting for something in my bag.
“Here’s the building I stayed in when I first got here,” he told me. The ocean outside his window was a little louder than I would have preferred, so before I arrived he moved us to a room that still overlooked the ocean but from a further distance. “And that’s where the private residences are,” he said, pointing out another building. “Look up on the third floor–that’s the one I looked at for us.” (We are still deciding if we want to stay in our current rooms or move elsewhere on the property.) We meandered the paths past pools and restaurants, Michael telling me which were open for outdoor dining, take-out, or closed. “Look at the view from this one,” he said as he led me onto a deck.
“I’m just really nervous about being out here right now,” I finally confessed to him. Between growing up Catholic and attending Catholic schools for eight years, I still couldn’t shake the guilt of not following rules. “Where’s our building?” I asked. “Don’t worry–we’re almost there,” he said.
Despite my fear of being found out, I still managed to take in my surroundings. They were nothing less than stunning. The Crane Resort, founded in 1887, is where King Phillip (yes, the one in The Crown) stays when he comes here. Pop-star Rihanna used to stay here before she bought her own mansion on the island. Michael and I would NEVER choose to spend the kind of money it costs to stay here in any other year. But this isn’t any other year. Prices have been slashed dramatically. And that doesn’t stop Michael from asking for better and better deals. So let’s just say our rooms overlooking the ocean cost not much more than a stay at the Hampton Inn back in Asheville.
We pass multiple pools–all devoid of life because the current lockdown forbids entering said pools until Monday. It was nearly 10 am and there was not a soul on a beach chair. In any other year, this is the prime season. These days, though, you can have an entire pool to yourself.
“Here’s the elevator down to the beach,” Michael said. We peeked over the railing. The beach was almost completely covered with sea grass. “They’re going to clean that up on March first,” Michael explained. It wasn’t necessary up until this point because the beaches, during the lockdown that started on Feb. 3, were only open from 6-9am and only for physical activity (i.e. walking).
“And there’s where you’re staying,” he said as we turned back toward the resort. I snapped a quick picture as we took our time getting back to the building.
As we parted ways, I said, “They told me I’d get my results in 24-48 hours.”
“They tell everyone that,” he said.
Here’s hoping. . .
Most mornings Michael stands at the spot where this picture was taken and he and I wave to each other–I confined to my apartment, Michael on his way to his morning walk on the beach (for those that don’t know, Michael arrived three weeks before me, so is finished quarantining and staying in a separate room).