Friday, January 09, 2009

day four:

it is the last days for a few visitors. one of her step mothers brothers, and her aunt, uncle, and cousin are going back to the mainland now that the party is over. in the morning they shove gifts for all of us under the tree, which stands seven feet tall in the living room and has an entire lifetime of ornaments hanging from its branches. some hand crafted by deceased relatives, some given to them in holidays past. she points out one to me she made while in grade school. i fondle at it and comment on its precious simplicity. a santa head with the words "merry christmas dad" stitched into the back.

we all go to brunch at an upscale restaurant that sits at the tip of a golf course. there are golf courses everywhere in maui. they all look gorgeous and cost an arm and a leg to play on. none of the locals ever enjoy the sport. it is a luxury reserved for tourist and professionals. on the way out i see football games playing above the bar and me and her stop to catch the scores. it feels weird watching the snow fall in new england, especially with the sun still rising above the twelfth hole outside. we check the weather in new york and its in the thirties. in chicago its negative three. i make the suggestion we go to the beach and she nods her head and gives me a look that says where else would we go.

at home people say good by and we give a lot of hugs and there are people telling me it was nice to meet me and it was nice to see me again and her step mother starts crying because it always breaks her heart to see her brother go. when the commotion has settled and those that are leaving are on their way we grab some fins and snorkels and the keys to one of the cars. as we pull away i roll down the window and the air is warm and wet and there are christmas carols playing on the radio. it isnt even eleven am yet.

we park the car in a resort parking lot and she tells me to act natural, as if im a guest there. i remark how, being one of the very few black people in maui, i will stand out regardless. she laughs and agrees and says to act natural anyway. on the way toward the brush we see a cleaning lady and i nod and start searching the doors for a number to blurt out if she ask what room im staying in, but the cleaning lady only smiles and nods back and pushes her cart filled with supplies to where ever she is going.

we take a small hike on the side of a hill overlooking the ocean and arrive on the edges of a small formation of rock that makes a series of coves. there are a few teenagers there already jumping from the higher points into the water. we go pass them wordlessly and find a private cove where we do the same. the water is crystal blue and after i pace my breathing and get comfortable in the snorkel equipment, i see the fish. they are everywhere and a thousand different colors. she dives under and i watch her body as she expertly dolphin kicks into a school of small, orangish fish. she points at the living coral and warns me, with hand gestures, of certain crustaceans on the reef that can poke my feet if im not careful.

only once do i suck in sea water and that is because i get so excited when she points out an eel. we go further out, away from the cove and closer to the reef, and see a dozen squid lurking near the bottom. a long, pointy, transparent fish lurks by and we both marvel at it and i can tell beneath her mouth piece she is smiling. when we make our way back to the cove and reemerge from the water there are a lot more people there, mostly teenagers, jumping into the ocean from the highest point there is. they are all locals, she says. tourist dont come here that often, they cant find it. i watch as one guy front flips off the side of a rock. he lands with a slap and all his friends groan for him then laugh. so this is what the kids in maui do for fun. its just like the brochure.

we grab our things and go back to the car. i tell her how amazing it is and she says wait until you see Hana. it is mid afternoon and i mention the sunday night game and a beer. she knows of a place near the local mall. we go to a bar and watch the giants beat the panthers in overtime while eating sashimi and drinking blue moon. there is still sand on our feet and salt attached to our skin. she wonders aloud how the cats are faring back in new york. i bet they're fine, i say.

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:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at downtownalleys.blogspot.com.