I took a cab to the house and spent the ride looking out the window, silent, gazing out across the bog that blanketed the inland. Even with the windows rolled up, I could smell the cloying aroma of the bog, so strong it almost completely obscured the smell of the sea. Dully shining red splotches of pitcher plants marked the browned green landscape. Little pools of water scattered across the flat topography were glittering mirrors reflecting the stark blue sky. Dotted in patches throughout the bog were small copses of squat pine trees, twisted and bent like shriveled old men huddled against the prying fingers of the screaming wind. The sharp outlines of mountains cut through the sky in the distance, gleaming gems of snow still at their peaks.
After a few hours, we began to pass through little villages; the squat, tired looking houses were painted surprising bright, chalky colors, like Easter eggs. The villages were a rare splash of color on the desolate landscape.
When I was little, I loved seeing those vibrant houses, loved living in a place that for all appearances could be a village nestled in a fairy tale. But now when I looked at those houses, I felt sick. Now, those colors were a desperate attempt to feign happiness, a colorful mask to hide family fights, financial troubles, despair and depression. To me, the people painted their houses those bright colors and hoped that they would be protected from all the harshness of reality; as if that thin layer of paint could keep out the inherent bleakness of the island, could protect them from the shrieking wind that leaked through cracks and seeped through ceilings and whispered and whispered and whispered to the villagers, you cannot escape, and then carried their soft sobs away, that sound the only thing to betray the true feelings behind those brightly painted houses.