She's Gone (revisited)
Sitting in the hospital cafeteria outside the cardiac surgery room, I look around at all the people buzzing about. Doctors, nurses, and people like me, waiting for someone they love to come out of the big doors so that we may eventually feed them a couple of cups of tapioca pudding.
Hopefully, in two hours, I will be doing just that, with an extra one for me.
This cafeteria is an interesting place, much lighter than the pre-op area and yet it holds a flavor of intensity.
For some reason, my mind makes its way to a piece I wrote a few years ago, about our life chapters, about our us-of-the-past. I pull it up and read it. Then I choose to share it again with you today.
I hope you enjoy it.
I really didn’t need a reason for this trip. Who needs a reason to visit Hawaii? But I still came up with a few: I hadn’t been back in twenty years, I wanted my kids to see “it,” and mostly I wanted my kids to know “it,” this thing that I had only ever found on these little islands, this heady blend of peace and vibrancy, this Hawaii-ness.
So a few days ago, we boarded a plane, and for the last couple of days we have been high on the sun, the smells, the water, the “it,” too.
But as soon as we landed, I knew that none of the above were the full reason why I was here.
I wanted to catch a glimpse of her. To say hello. And more if she would let me.
As soon as we landed, I started to look for her.
I looked for her at the airport, and I looked for her in the Honolulu rush hour traffic where she used to ride her moped. I looked for her at the foot of Diamond Head - where she spent important time - and I looked for her in the hills of Kahala. No luck.
Not only could I not find her, I really could not feel her.
On the North Shore, among the little tiny beach houses and on the side of the road where she spent time working on movies ... I looked. Nope.
Yesterday, we went to the house where she used to live — her sweet little house on the hills of Haleiwa Heights, overlooking the city. At first, I thought the house had been torn down, but it turned out that there it was, the macadamia nut tree twice as big as I remembered it and all the plants all around so much lusher. We even talked with the lady who lives there now.
But even there, in that place that she loved so much - nothing.
The rest of the day, I looked for her on the beaches of Waikiki and in the waves where she used to spend a lot of her time, but she wasn’t there.
I had to have known that. I had to. But I guess I didn’t. Somehow, I thought that she had stayed here and that while I was busy building businesses, raising children, dodging raindrops and getting older, she had kept on living wild and free, riding her moped from beach to beach, taking each hour at a time, and wearing a tiny bikini.
So here I am. As the sun rises over Kailua this morning, I know that the next few days will be different. Wonderful and different.
I don’t need to look for her anymore. I just need to love her.
Hers were powerful times of growth and searching, and while I have lost a little bit of her magic, I know that I have found a lot of what she was looking for.
In the end, it is possible that it may have been more important to come all the way here to say goodbye than to say hello...
So goodbye, my sweet darling. You were beautiful and courageous, and I know, a little lonely sometimes, too. You had so many lessons ahead of you and the fact that you did not know it was very possibly what allowed your magic to flow so freely. Really, you were perfect just as I am today. Just as we all are.
And while I would love to fit in your bikini again, I am so very grateful for the peace I have found in its place... there is no substitute for it.
I love you.
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