Waves of Maui

There's a good chance Indiana has decided it can be spring now. I hesitate to say that because, well, it's Indiana. Tomorrow it could prove me wrong. Because Indiana. Nevertheless, this evening Miss Monster and I enjoyed a lovely walk. Things are greener. There are hints of pink, white, and yellow peeking around the corners. The chill in the air tamped back from sub-zero. All in all, it approached nice. As we wound our way around the neighborhood sidewalks, we reached a bridge that provided dry access over a...creek? Drainage ditch? On the other side was a couple walking with their toddler. Upon seeing Miss Monster the tiny tyke was obviously nervous, so Miss Monster and I stepped into the grass. Heck, Miss Monster was taller than she was. Of course she was nervous.

The kiddo tottered across the wooden structure, ushered along by her kind parents who were very courteously trying to clear the path for us. The little girl pulled away from her mom and began to scream, "I want to see the waaaaaterrrrr."

Preach it, kid. For a brief moment, I thought Miss Monster and I would both tilt our chins to the sky and join in on the howl. I assured the parents I was in no hurry and they let the kid gaze into the trickle of water. Sometimes it's important to see the water, I thought as they passed by. I want to see the water, too. I ache for the water from the depths of my being. And not just the water.

I miss the feeling of Maui. The comfort, the assurance, the peace. A combination of beauty and kindness that no words can do justice. Occasionally, I get a wave of that inexplicable feeling for a brief moment and find myself grasping at the foam as it recedes back across the Pacific. As if the island is reminding me it wasn't a dream, that it patiently waits for our return. I'm left with feelings of grief, longing, and a few tears of hope for the future. A future in Maui.

It's amazing how quickly the brain can be re-wired. A single year on the island seems to have erased much of the familiarity that should be in this place where we spent so many decades. I get lost more often than I should. I'm overwhelmed in stores by the shear quantity of choices. The dismissal of strangers on the street, at the checkout counter, standing in any random line. People making little to no eye contact. I feel odd and out of place. I drive slow and stand too long gazing at the horizon as if somehow the west Maui mountains will suddenly appear. I crave Spam musubi and rainbows. Hot skin chilled by salt water. The scent of plumeria carried on the tradewinds. The power of the ocean that will reach the top of the tallest cliff. I miss everything, but I miss the people the most.

The past month has been a scramble. All of the family reunited, we've landed in a lovely house situated in a nice neighborhood outside of the city. It's still more people than we're used to, but doesn't feel as congested as the city. The neighborhood has sidewalks, playgrounds, retention ponds, a pool, and quite a few people that knew me a half lifetime ago. It seems I bump into a new blast from the past almost every time Luna and I venture out. It's lovely. And a bit disorienting as I still find myself "catching glimpses" of familiar island faces. A similar profile, hunch of a shoulder, or familiar laugh has me doing a double-take. As soon as my heart leaps to "Is that..." my brain has already crushed the fleeting hope. It feels like space and time are colliding in these moments.

I landed a job which I will begin at the end of April - about the same time our stuff should arrive including that blasted car which I both love and despise. It's a quirky beast with crazy island car attitude. I almost hope that attitude continues...as long as it doesn't chew into the bank account, of course. It's almost a fifth member of the family with its rainbow license plate, permanently embedded sand, and salt stains. It's a beast, but it's our beast. It carried us up Haleakala; it can certainly handle 465.

So, by mid-May we should be back in full swing. Jobs handled, a roof over our heads, contributions resuming into the retirement accounts. And executing the plan to return back to where we belong. To the moment we get a wave of Maui and ride it all the way back home.