Alora could remember getting off the plane and looking around at the palm trees and having it feel all distant and far off and imaginary. It was quite like the first time she had driven through the desert with her family on a greyhound. The dust was something like snow, but she knew the difference was like night and day. What’s strange is that she had grown up into the heat and had formed blood alliances with the way it grew inbred. Her bones were like cacti and she knew she needed a lot of water in order to grow.
But this, this was something extraordinary. Everything about the sky was elegant and the constant blue, gave her this refreshing amount of desirability to learn and do everything that she could. And yet, she was veiled off and self-contained. She was holding back the emotions of inner beauty, because she hadn’t been taught how to show them, after being taken away and force-fed hugs from people who didn’t even know her. In fact, the islands were so new to her, that she really just felt like her life wasn’t even real anymore. She’d rub her eyes multiple times, hoping a new lens would snap back into place, allowing her to scrutinize the ugly like she had always done. But here, she wasn’t sure where that ugly existed. Everything was just completely alluring.
Then there was the elimination of real time. One never followed the clock back in Hawaii, let alone Molokai. I mean, maybe in Honolulu everything still led towards a certain amount of bustle, but beyond that, there was nothing. No rule of salty hurriedness. Just the soft tapering of sunlight and starry romance.
The stars were like gems, the night she had joined Kawika on the back porch of her aunt’s house. He had a knife in one hand and had been scraping it against the wood of the stairs. Quietly he whispered things obtrusive but systematic. You could tell he was serious in the way he cut his pidgin’ slang and talked all formal and saucy. “What if I took this and slit my throat right now? Would you go to my funeral?”, he asked with malice lining his teeth.
Each tooth was a dagger quite like the knife, and instead of getting turned off, Alora was intoxicated with the intensity through which he spoke. She refused to answer such questions however, and grabbed for her copy of McCuller’s The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, reading it at the foot of the stairs, hearing the scrape of his knife serve as some fitting onslaught of pain. He liked that.
Ten minutes later, he had wrapped his body around hers, asking her forcefully to read to him. She obliged and her voice was far more fragile than it had ever been. Within minutes though, it had picked up a clarity and freedom that expanded towards the dawn of forever. She was reading with such grace, that he thought to apply pressure to one of her shoulders and squeeze it, while stroking the skin of one arm. It was in fact, the first time she felt a sticky white liquid fall between both her legs. She was wet and wild and applied pressure to his abdomen with her back. He knocked back softly with a curling finger that extended to her lips, only to disappear just as fast. Oh, how she roared.
The next day, she attended a religious service at a tiny church in a green field with a father Damien statue out front. Plump ladies toting dresses with flowers, talked before and after, with large voices that had a sort of echo to them. Young girls were dressed just as similar, but seemed to reveal more of their bodily form, in the way they both walked and carried their inner persona. Laughter really just skipped all around. In one of the back pews, Kawika called Alora a dirty haole, and met this bruise with a flaming kiss, that he applied to the back of her hand. She was ashamed and felt crass, all the meanwhile, stroking his thighs, so that he might bare those dagger teeth again.