The periodic stranger
When exile becomes home. Dominic Preziosi explores in this fictional piece for Nautilus, the perils and mysteries of the sole inhabitants of a barren and isolated fishing rock. This rock is really two rocks, which are linked by a short natural bridge that twice a day is quietly submerged by the tides and, several times a year, somewhat less gently overtaken by the storm-churned seas. Lampedusa — and I understand there is much to recommend about that island — lies three turbulent hours away by supply boat, a small, steel-sided skiff that brings lemons and whatever fruit might be in season, along with cheese, bottled water, flour, ink, medicine, tobacco, wine, and the occasional newspaper. The skiff leaves with the octopus my wife and I catch in submerged pots arrayed like the beads of a necklace drawn snugly around the island. Octopus fetches an adequate return, and this exchange of goods, this bartering, is how we make our living, such as it is. And as it is, we need nothing more."