The day of the quake dawned much like any other – a little early for my liking. I pulled back the curtains, heavy eyes squinting in the morning light. The sun was already shining on the swimming pool, shimmering on the clear blue water and the birds were chattering noisily in the trees above. A lazy iguana was stretched out below; reveling in the potent rays and the monkeys began to howl from deep within the jungle.

I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply, almost feeling the air, lightly scented with Hibiscus, breathing life into me. It was a morning ritual I had gotten so used to and yet, somehow, could still barely believe was real. This time last year I stared bleakly ahead at the mildewed walls of my dingy, windowless, ground floor apartment, the perpetual drilling of the round-the-clock construction site grating at my fraying nerves.

No matter how tired I feel today, or the fact that I would rather be splashing around in the surf or lazing a little longer under the comforting covers of my king-sized bed, I smile at my moment of peace and the morning sun that dances on the water just for me.

If I had known that would be the last time I would look out of my balcony while the world was asleep at the glorious morning below, perhaps I would have dwelled there a moment longer, memorizing the intricate details of the life from this vantage point that I would never see again…

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