There's so much about Hawaii I miss, so much that will always be an ache inside of me. I can't even begin to quantify the things which tug at my heart every time I think of them. I will sit, enrapt, starting at the screen when even a glimpse of the Pacific comes into view. The sound of surf breaking on the shore. The smell of plumeria and hibiscus wafting through the air. The sound of keikis running around, shouting for their Aunties. A friendly smile from a passing stranger. Shaka waves for letting people into traffic. The salt in the air. The afternoon showers (windward and mauka, you know), often coming from the brightest, clearest, bluest skies. Stupid little mynah birds, hopping out of the way of oncoming cars. Boxes of mangos at the ends of driveways. Coconut insurance. Short school days on Wednesday. Red clay dirt that would never ever come out. "Fasi's limo." Ala Moana (when normal people could still shop there). Slippahs. Pidgin. Chinese and Japanese and Filipino and Vietnamese and Hawaiian and Portugese and haole, all mingling as one. Palm trees. Watching the sun come up over Kailua Beach. That ridiculous rock over Kalaheo. The H3 lookout, over Gilligan's Island. Chinaman's Hat. Sitting on the beach at Camp Mokuleia, listening to the distant sounds of friends around the campfire, watching the surf crash up onto shore, digging my toes into the sand and feeling the wind whip through my hair. Bicycling down Kailua Road, racing against traffic, late for work at the beach concession. The Tuxedo Man, with his suitcase and his fastidious ways. Election candidates standing roadside, waving. Graduates buried in leis. Sumo. The voices. Playing pool into the wee hours at Corner Pocket or Hawaiian Brian's. Driving over the Pali in the dead of night, windows down, cigarette in my hand, music blasting on the stereo in my poor little abused '80 Toyota Tercel hatchback (the one with the improbability drive). Dancing (yes, me) away my anxieties at Pink's Garage. Going to the movies at the Waikiki Twins and walking Kalakaua Avenue after, watching the hookers chase the little Japanese salarymen on vacation. Sitting on the steps on Fort Street Mall, shoes off, hair back, sunglasses on, smoking a clove and wondering if I'm going to go to my next class. Sitting at the top of the Pali Lookout, wind pushing against me, holding me in place as I lean into it, staring at the cars zooming below me, and at the expanses of Kailua and Kaneohe far below. Playing Warhammer in the car port of our little house on Auwai Street. Sneaking the (highly illegal) car out to get groceries. New Year's Eve, with its raucous celebrations, and the 15 solid minutes of explosions at midnight, and waking up the next day to find the streets covered in red confetti from the dragon strands. Those insanely tear-jerking GTE commercials featuring "Far Too Wide." Oh god, Hawaiian music.
K'den. Da kine. Shoots. Bodda you? Like beef? Wot? No mo'.
Billowing clouds of huli huli chicken smoke. Manapua. Chicken long rice. Spam musubi. Loco moco. Saimin. Poke. Fruit punch. Meat jun. Lumpia. Haupia. Portugese sausage. Kalua pork. Shave Ice. Crack seed. Ani's sweet bread. Hawaiian Sun. Boston's Pizza. Patty's Chinese Kitchen. Liliha Bakery.
Leonard's Bakery. Zippy's. Andy's Drive-In. Ciao Mein. Broke da Mouth. Hungry Lion. Auntie Pasto's. Yum Yum Tree. Woolworth's Hotel Street lunch counter. Coffee Manoa. Island Manapua Factory. Craig's Bakery. Yummy's Korean BBQ. L&L Drive-In.
Cornet. Long's. Jelly's. Records Hawaii. Honolulu Book Shops. Aloha Tower. Restaurant Row. Hungry Ear Records. Gecko's. Interlude Books and Music. Crazy Shirts. Arakawa's. Liberty House. Holiday Mart. House of Music.
I'll sometimes find myself stopping, transfixed by a moment. Maybe the sun is just right, or the wind has the right feel, or the weather has shifted just so, and if I close my eyes, I can almost imagine I'm home. But it never lasts, and it never will.
I've had this dream, lately. Going home, and starting a business, where my friends can all come and follow their own little dreams, and being with the people I love in the place I will always consider home. I know it won't happen, but the dream... sometimes I need it. And sometimes, it just hurts.