Nine hours later we were arriving at the Honolulu airport. Cheers and applause from the passengers arose when the pilot announced our arrival. Looking out the window I could see dark clouds and rain hitting the window. The ocean was obscured due to the weather and I knew this was a sign. I couldn’t believe it was raining on what I thought would be a sunny paradise. The images of blue water and palm trees were replaced by dark, windy and chilly conditions. After instructions were given to the passengers who wanted to stay on the plane to be taken to other islands, we were allowed to disembark.
Kelvin was still in a “drunken” snit and unapproachable. He haphazardly grabbed the bags from the over head compartment, I grabbed the diaper bag and my purse from under my feet and held the baby the best I could. The airport was crowded with people going and coming from unknown destinations from all over the world. I hadn’t met his brother and sister-in-law so I didn’t know who to look for and it wasn’t advisable to ask Kelvin. He said, “Here they are!” Showing his best side as he always did in front of other people so they would think he was the nicest guy in the world, when in private in front of me he showed a totally different side.
They met us with leis that were made from live flowers, very pretty colors of pink, blue and purple. They hung them around our necks and headed for the luggage conveyer for the rest of our bags.
We crowded into the car and off we went to their house. They lived on a nice suburban Ave, I couldn’t pronounce the name, or the city south of Honolulu. There were palm trees and flowers, even tomato plants with fat red tomatoes growing in neighbor’s yards, along with Hibiscus plants six feet high or more. It was so unusual to see in February where at home that time of year there was snow and ice and very cold weather. I foolishly complained about the rain and the cloudy weather and was shot down immediately by his brother, Keith, and Kelvin of course. “You’ve come during the rainy season!” In my head I thought there would be blue skies and warm weather, isn’t that why people took vacations in Hawaii for the weather?
It wasn’t long though, the sun came out and after a couple of days the 80 degree temperatures were back. I always hated the wind. It blew my hair and made it hard for me to breathe, so the tropical gusts that blew in Hawaii always chased me back inside. I wondered how in the world I was supposed to enjoy this place if I can’t stay outside longer than a minute.
We unpacked our bags in one of the boy’s rooms where we would be staying. They wanted to show us around the island on the weekend when Keith didn’t have to work. He worked for his uncle, Ray, who owned and operated a construction company there. He had fallen in love with the island in the early 1960’s when he had been stationed there in the Navy. Higdon Construction was born during that time. Most of the houses on Oahu had been built by his construction company and was deemed a millionaire. He had bought a single lot and built a new house, mansion really, with a “For Sale” sign of over 3 million dollars. He had a pool, three car garage, maybe four, a huge open kitchen, large dining area, living area with a white grand piano. Upstairs wound around to empty into a large bedroom, walk in closet and huge bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub.
The side of the “house”, facing Diamond Head, was a large patio that wrapped around to the driveway over looking the pool. This is where he barbecued huge steaks and ribs for the lot of us. Keith and the boys got into the pool, I had brought my suit but the temperature was only 50 degrees and I decided there was no way I was getting into that water. Dakota got in with Keith holding him. We had a good time, laughed about the extravagance of the whole thing. I know my eyes had to be as wide as they could get. I had only seen places like that in magazines describing movie stars homes. I couldn’t seem to get enough pictures of it.
We ate in the dining room on a very long expensive looking table under the light of a magnificent chandelier. I was terrified, Dakota was onerous as usual, and Kelvin was again on his best behavior. When we left we agreed to go out to a fine restaurant before we left for Missouri. Ray, of course, paid for everything. Karen, Keith’s wife, had told me not to be shy about ordering what ever I wanted, and reminded me that Ray was loaded and it wouldn’t be out of the question if I wanted say, steak and lobster. Which was what I had wanted, and couldn’t wait for it to be served. When Charles and I were married every year starting with the eighth year anniversary we went to Red Lobster and I always ordered the steak and lobster tail. It was always so good and expensive we could only do it on our anniversary once a year. I stuffed as much of the crustacean in my face as I could, not know how long it would be before I could taste that succulent meat again.
We stayed for three weeks with Karen and Keith and her two boys. I had walked almost every day to the Wal-Mart store to get more film and the pictures developed. I stayed to myself, feeling out of place with strangers. I spent a lot of the time in the bedroom ready to go home. Kelvin on the other hand spent his time with Keith going out to bars and carousing around with his cousins he hadn’t seen in a decade or more, which would have been understandable but he wasn’t supposed to be going to bars and drinking. He was mean and hateful when he drank and I was trying to “change” his ways so he wouldn’t have to go back to prison and leave me with all the bills and a child to raise alone. He was embarrassing and rude but of course only to me. He never let anyone else see that side so no one understood why I was afraid, or why I hated him going out and having his so-called, good time. I knew I would be the one who would have to pay for it in the end.
One day Karen took us to the zoo at Waikiki. I loved the zoo and was the animal nut I had always been. During that excursion we stopped at a nearby park to rest. Karen told me to look at a lady, she appeared somewhat well to do but she was keen on studying a nearby trash can. Karen said, “Look at her; she is going to eat that!” Sure enough I looked and the lady had picked up a half eaten ice cream cone that was in the can and started to eat it. Karen said she saw a lot of that, all the time in Hawaii. I had only seen things like that on television on police dramas about New York City and other big cities. Even though I knew it happened I hadn’t actually seen anyone eat out of a trash can before. When Charles and I first got married we had gone dumpster shopping for furniture and stuff people had thrown away, clean it up and use it for ourselves, you’d be amazed at the items people would throw away, but we never ate anything out of them!!
On the way home from the zoo and park Kelvin started to have one of his anxiety attacks that I had seen often but he wouldn’t let anyone see. Now Karen was driving and he was riding in the back seat with Dakota strapped in the car seat she had borrowed from one of her friends. Dakota hated being strapped in a car seat and from the first day home from the hospital he always had a fit when he had to be strapped into one. He would cry and whine and Kelvin would get angrier and angrier and between the both of them, being trapped in a car, with Kelvin bellowing obscenities and threatening to kill all of us at the same time, the baby first, then me or vice versa. Karen just kept driving in silence. I was embarrassed as he got louder and louder and so did Dakota. The rampage went on and on until we finally got back to Karen’s house. She said later, she had no idea Kelvin was like that. I told her he was always like that around me.
He and Keith went out and got drunk and didn’t come home until after 3:00 in the morning. I was closed up in the bedroom with Dakota, no one to talk to, feeling homesick. Karen had left me to go out with one of her friends. They had begged us to come to Hawaii to visit and that they would watch the baby so we could go out and enjoy ourselves, the only time we had a baby sitter was when one of her boys was told to watch him while we went to dinner with Ray and his wife Dolores, the time when I ordered lobster. Dakota was showing signs of a cold and the teenage boy who was watching him about died when he had to wipe his little nose. He said, “I will never watch him again, he has slime coming out of every part of him!”
We finished up our vacation by going to one of the nice beaches there. It was like a post card. My eyes couldn’t believe the beauty of the volcanic rocks and formations, and the bluest water I’d ever seen except on TV and magazines. The ever present wind was blowing as we set up the picnic table with all the good stuff you bring on picnics. Kelvin and the boys had boogie boards they bravely shoved into the ten foot waves, paddled out and rode back in on their stomachs. The sand would blow so hard it would rip the skin off of your legs, stinging and burning as it went. Dakota wanted so badly to be near his father he tried to walk out onto the hot sand and would get only halfway when a big gust of wind would blow and the sand would start its blasting. I’d run out and get him, put him on the grass on a blanket under one of the strange and twisted trees they had there. I couldn’t believe I was wearing a swim suit and sun glasses in February, the temperature was over 80 degrees. When Kelvin finally came back to the beach he would lie down and Dakota would crawl over him with no fear of retribution. I knew if I did that or even said anything to him he would tell me to “Let him the f--- alone!” So I always did, gladly.
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