3 Days In Florida

By Lily Durand

Day One:

After an easy day of traveling stand-by, a night of pizza delivery and beautiful sleeps, I was ready to prove Bennett wrong. I was ready to beat that pale nincompoop at this tanning quest. For some reason he believes he is far darker than me…

We had planned to wake and watch the sunrise, but 5 alarm snoozes later, we were up and ready to seize the day.

8:30 a.m.

I was STARVING. Our (my) bag was packed full, and shoved in the elevator, heading down to breakfast. We shoved our mouths with fruit and waffles, called ourselves an Uber, and headed towards the beach. I had just been to Fort Myers the previous spring break, and I was excited to show Benny what made me fall in love with this little beach town.

We camped in rentable chairs, and soaked in the sun for as long as humanly possible. This kind of behavior was not yet enjoyed by Minnesotans, being that it had just dropped 20 degrees and was snowing when we left. We were not taking a second of this weather for granted.

Benny was quick to hook up his speakers and music, while I reached instantaneously for my Chip and Joanna Gaines book (talk about goals as humans). We layed in those exact positions for almost 3 hours. The only thing to move was me, as I reapplied sunscreen. Bennett, thinking he is some sun God, thought this decision was beneath him, so he stayed put…

For lunch we walked across the street to Yo!Taco for steak burritos, topped off with 7 Eleven slushies. Then, back to the chairs we went. We spent the day laughing, and goofing off with one another. I love him.

As we grew bored of the sun, we headed to the back of a restaurant parking lot to change for dinner. I ended up doing my makeup and hair in the side mirror of a minivan, and we hid our bag under a back door staircase. We really trusted the humans of Fort Myers with no reason to what so ever.

We had gyros for dinner outside while live music played in the time square of the little shops. We quickly ran to the boardwalk, mid gyro bite, to watch the sun set on the horizon. The colors were beautiful, it’s amazing how many people crowd together to watch a big orange ball fall from the sky. And just as we were about to head back to finish our meal, we noticed a fisher had caught a stingray...that was a new one.

So many people ask if it’s annoying having a camera out all the time. What they don’t see is that it’s barely ever out. Everyone sees the clips of our trip and assumes that was the whole trip! There is so much more that happens when the camera isn’t rolling. Benny just has a knack of catching some of the most amazing moments together, without spoiling those moments in their entirety. He takes a photo or a video subtly, so that the amazing experience is never forgotten and can be shared in the years to come, but then is able to enjoy it along side me with no distractions. It’s a balancing act, and he knows how to keep the moment alive in his art while still cherishing our time. He rewrites our stories.

10:30 p.m.

Remember how Benny had thought reapplication was a myth? WELLLLL, what a lobster he had become. The look on his face when he finally met a mirror after a day of roasting in the sun, was priceless. He tenderly walked around the room, gently lying down, and telling me to not come near him. His exact words, “it’s our last night so we should probably cuddle, just don’t touch me”. What’s redder than red? Cause that’s what he had become. Certainly looked painful.

I slept soundly and tan, thank you for asking!;)

P.S. I know Benny would probably like it known for the record that he beat my booty at cards tonight. However, I let him win, just because he was hurting.

Day Two:

We attempted again, and much more determined this time, to watch the sun rise...

9:00 a.m.

That was a proud fail.

We chose to eat breakfast outside on the patio today and think of our plan for the day. The benefit to impromptu adventures, is the excitement of experience. You have no expectations, and therefore, are never disappointed. The lack of obligation, and the random surprises validate the chaos. Nothing can compare to the treasured moments found among the least expected moments of an unplanned getaway. Instead of viewing today as our “last day”, we knew that there were still so many hours to embrace the warmth, and far too many moments bound to make us smile.

We hop in our Uber, headed towards Sanibel with wide eyes.

We get dropped off at the very end of the island, right at the gate to a beach. The first thing I noticed as we trudged through the powdery sand were the shells. The glossy, unscathed, mint condition sea shells.

Every since I was little girl, I have been entranced by the beauty of shells. They came in all shapes and sizes, with the story of the sea left on their coats. The ocean is a terrifying unknown, yet those tiny shells have travelled and weathered among the vast waters of this Earth.

I just started scooping every single one that remained vacant and throwing the live ones back into the water. I had to volunteer Bennett and his pockets to store my handfuls of treasures while we continued to walk the rest of the shore line.

This beach was so unlike the public beach we laid latent at yesterday. It was peaceful, less populated and far more serene. Instead of loud music, and spring breakers, we were able to hear the melodic waves crash along the shore and really appreciate the oasis.

We walked the shoreline, hand in hand and talking about where we hope life takes us both individually and together.

The simplicities of life are so much more valuable than the extreme complexities, and that is a concept that has become lost among this generation.

We taxied to Captiva, the neighboring island, and ate at the Key Lime Bistro. We passed the time tricking each other with 20 questions, and binging on delicious sandwiches. It wasn’t until we payed for the meal, and opened the Uber app that we realized we were stranded. It hadn’t dawned on us that Ubers wouldn’t just be roaming around on these distant islands… and we had a flight to attempt to catch.

We eventually found a taxi service able to pick us up and bring us off the island. We took one last stroll on the beach while we waited upon their arrival.

At the airport, our chances weren’t looking good, the seats were mostly full, but we waited it out anyway.

11:30 p.m.

We found a hotel right off the airport where we stayed one more night in paradise. Tomorrow we try again.

Day 3:

OH BOY. OH BOY OH BOY. We learned today the joys of flying stand-by.

After a couple hours of stress, we triumphed and got to the terminals. We were hopeful at least one of these flights would be able to ship us home.

The thing about airports, is they hold so many stories. Each person has their own reasoning for their travels. It could be sorrowful, elated or boring business. Some are excited for an escape, or troops could be anticipating surprising their loved ones. Some kisses could be the last shared for a while before departure, and some are the first and most cherished. Airports are the centerfold for it all.

We waited for hours. Benny got a little crazy and stumbled upon a plethera of wheelchairs. He took the vacant devices as an invitation to navigate the terminal with it. He partook in a race with himself and managed to win and cross the finish line…

Bet you all didn’t know I was dating a 12 year old!!! But that’s how he makes me laugh till I hurt. He’s my goof.

I left the child for 5 minutes to get myself some Cheez-its (which they did not carry) and returned to see him fist bumping from afar with a ticket in his hand. We had finally made it. We were headed home.

I was sleeping soundly against the wall of the plane when I was starkly awoken by a SQUEALING baby. I thought to myself “it’s okay there can’t be much longer. I was napping for a while”.


It had been 10 minutes. And the baby didn’t cease until touch down. I love babies, but not in confined spaces I now discovered.

The woman next to me had started looking at photos on her phone, followed by silent sobs. Like I said, airports hold stories and emotions beyond comprehension. I was experiencing this first hand. I don’t know the ladies story, and I don’t know where she’s headed. They could have been tears of joy, or tears of sorrow. Nonetheless, I had two ears that work perfectly fine and if all she needed was someone to listen to her, maybe this was God placing me in her life purposefully. I acted upon my instinct and said “Ma'am are you okay?”. She looked surprised as if kindness and compassion was a rarity. She said politely that she was okay but, appreciated my comfort. As long as that woman walked away from today knowing someone cares, despite it being a stranger, that’s all I wanted for her.

The moment we stepped off the plane, our skin tightened and shriveled up like the sahara. There was no denying we were back in the tundra.

It may have been short lived, but it was amazing and memorable. There is nothing like 3 days with my love, the sun, and paradise.


Lil ;)

Bennett WittaComment