L'PAJ. By Susie Dunham

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There were about thirty of us creative types sipping coffee and conversing at round tables covered with black cloths spattered with melted wax from past and present candles. The Australian-born Creative Director of our church sauntered to the front, and with his engaging smile explained what the topic of the night was going to be.

Some groaned, others gave affirmative nods and I froze. I leaned into my friend. “Did he say, ‘exorcise’?”

“Susie! Exercise. We’re doing an exercise.” She rolled her mascaraed eyes.

I inhaled and blew a soft breath back out into the room. “I knew that. I was joking.”

“Imagine you have an island,” he said. “You can do anything with this island. It’s yours and yours alone. Name it. Do with it what you will. Then tell us if you would or would not live there.”

Oh! No worries. It was an exercise. A writing exercise. Yay! I can become a real estate developer for an hour.

A few of my fellow creative-types invented islands with specialty coffee shops while one developer grouped all CEO’s and World leaders on their isle and if those leaders failed a morality test, they died. One owner’s refuge was an ultimate retreat for mind and body, and another’s  island, point-blank, went up for sale because the owner didn’t like beaches or water.  One overseer sequestered every male prisoner in America on it.

My island was for people with disabilities. On my island there was a perfect amount of gravity so bodies no longer carried the weight of their disability. The air was the purest ever found on Earth. The sky, a perfect collection of blues, created a backdrop for the buttery yellow sun that warmed but never burned. The water swirled softly at a perfect temperature for whoever was in it, turquoise in color but turning crystal clear when kaleidoscopic colored fish came into view. If someone wanted to experience the water, without being submerged, they could walk on it, feeling only the soft tepid cushion under their working feet. Beds, wheelchairs, walkers, canes and crutches were out of sight and mind while their owners enjoyed their sabbatical for as long as they wished with their loved ones.

I would name this island, L’PAJ. Liberty, Peace and Justice. 

My daughter would be the resident Guardian of this island.

I just might go into real estate after all.