So This Thing Happened …

Scene 4

Except for the open air wall of humidity, the Kahului baggage claim area was like any other – a combination of activity and waiting, reunions and chit chat.   But it felt completely different from other American airports.   Familiar somehow.  Annie had only been there one other time, but each time she landed on the island of Maui, she was overcome by a feeling of being at home.   She smiled as her kids walked towards them, laden with baggage.

“Aunty Rose, I feel like this is exactly where I’m supposed to be!”   Apparently Emma had the same experience.  “I just feel like I belong here.  It’s only the airport but it really feels like I’m in paradise already!”

“Well I don’t know about perfect.”  Joe reached for a copy of the Maui News.  “Look at this – ‘Tourist body found on Wailea Beach.’   Ha, kinda sounds like home to me, too.”

Annie took the newspaper from her son’s outstretched hand.  “Wow,  a tourist shot dead.   And no suspects…”

Rose frowned at the headline.  “Yeah, that’s all anyone is talking about today.  Stuffs like this nevah happens here.   We get maybe 3 or 4 murders a year, but mostly from arguments between drug users or something.”  She pushed the paper away with a shudder.  “Gives me chicken skin just thinking about it.”  Noticing the puzzled looks before her, she laughed.  “You say Goose Bumps, we say Chicken Skin.”

“Chicken skin…” Joe repeated the phrase to himself.  Ever the analytical one, Annie could just imagine her son measuring the phrase against the reality of a chicken’s skin.  “I like it.”    Tall and lithe with straight blonde hair and green eyes, Joe not only looked like his Polish American mother but inherited her analytical nature as well.    People had a hard time believing he and Emma were twins.    Dark, compact and of barely average height, Emma was the ultimate “Act first, think later” kind of child growing up.    Eddie would look at his wife and kids and say that his daughter was the heart between two heads.  But maturity and life in general had brought a balance to the young woman.  Now Annie wished that her son would live a little less in his head and a little more in his heart.

“Okay, here’s the car.”  By now the four had made their pilgrimage through the crowd, across the street and to an aging but friendly looking maroon van with a LIVE ALOHA bumper sticker.  The back window had alternating turtle and hibiscus decals framing it.  Rose unlocked the doors and they loaded the van and then piled in themselves.  Now I’ll take you to your hale and then tomorrow you can get a rent-a-car.”

“You grow holly here?”  Emma looked puzzled.

“Huh?” Rose looked even more puzzled.

Annie mentally rewound the conversation, trying to find the problem.  Ah, there it.  “Hale, Emma.  HAH—lay means house.  Right, Rose?”

“You get ‘em”.

“Okay, ha-lay means house and mahalo means…””

“The Management.”  All eyes turned questioningly to Joe.  “You know, when they put up those conduct signs. ‘Please don’t litter, mahalo.’  Or ‘Employee parking in the other lot, mahalo.’  I figure it must mean Statement by the Management”

“No, Joseph.  Mahalo means THANK YOU!”  Aunt Rose shook her head in disbelief, and then catching the boy shoot his mother a wink.  “Ah, you…just like your father!”

Driving slowly through the parking lot, Rose eased up to the line of cars waiting to exit, patiently waiting her turn.  Annie smiled to herself.  If this was Boston, the driver would be swearing about waiting in lines.  The voice of a DJ was coming through the radio, telling a funny story in pidgin English.  Annie loved the cadence of the local language.  So melodic and unique – almost song like in itself.

“Eh girlfriend!”  The parking lot booth attendant was obviously a friend.  Rose ignored the money Annie was trying to hand her for the parking fee.

“Aloha, Nani!  How you stay?”

“Not bad.  Hey, you hear about da guy dey found Wailea side?  Stupid tourists.”

“So sad, yeah?”  Typical Rose – what others found to be salacious gossip, she sees the human aspect.  “Hey, you comin’ to da party tomorrow?”

“Shoots,  girl.  We all gonna come!”

“Shoots.  Aloha, yeah?”  And with that, they were off, down the parkway into a new world for the kids, and return to a treasured haven for Annie.

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  • ronmitchelladventure: Truth be told, I wanted to ask, "Can we touch with anything we want?" Decided not to ask, as sometimes a sick sense of humor falls flat. Plus, I was c
  • martiwrites: On one hand, I actually facilitated those training classes for years. On the other hand, I'm a Serb living in the land of aloha. Double whammy and h
  • ronmitchelladventure: As a manager, I refrained from my cultural hug and kiss on the cheek greeting after attending sexual harassment training for managers. We learned that
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