In 2005, I moved to Hawaii, I believed I was moving to Paradise, to my first home with my beloved. In reflection, I can see it was the beginning of the end.
Now, it feels like half way around the world to take a non-stop from New York City to Honolulu. Like flying to another planet
After 11 hours in the air, I touched down to a hot and sunny Honolulu and an hour later boarded a puddle jumper to Hilo that descended into a thick sediment of gray cloud and dropped out into a black night of warm and driving rain.
I bike the city and only drive a car once a year when I come to Hawaii. It takes me awhile to get up to speed. Literally.
So hitting the gas pedal to drive 50-miles an hour on an island still blackened with the pitch of the new moon and hit with a fist of bullish tropical rain, is a tough passage.
Though it is only 7pm, it’s midnight for me, and I drive out to the area I lived, and then further on to the coast to stay with friends. In the dark, on a road with no cars, I drive on and on and can barely discern road signs.
I seem to drive much further than I ever remember driving and when I see a car on the road behind me, decide to pull over and wave the lone car alongside to check I’m on the right track.
The car kindly pulls up and the driver asks, Kiki is that you?
How sweet, in the middle of a seeming nowhere, I meet an old friend.
We first met as yoga students in Mysore, India 9 years ago. She was heading home to Hawaii pregnant and ready to start a family. She heard I was to be moving there from Los Angeles and we looked forward to meeting.
Indeed when I moved, she was already friends with a new group of friends. We spent a memorable night hiking out over the volcano on a brightly lit full moon.
She kept bees, and shared honey.
And then she and her partner were rocky, and she left.
Then my husband left our marriage.
And I left the island later that same year.
And the Hawaii friends I was closest to, who shared my home, left too, to look after a dying parent and only just returned with 2 boys.
The husband has reached out to me on Facebook and shared news of the growing family, but never his wife, who was like a dear sister.
Along with the grief of divorce, I nursed a broken heart for this dear friend. I sought friendship, and never heard back.
A week before this trip to Hawaii, I contacted she and her husband; I’m on my way.
When I touched down in Honolulu, I had a voice message from her. A sweet, heart-filled apology, asking for my friendship, hoping I could forgive her absence, her regret for not reaching out.
I immediately called her.
She answered and tentatively asked, Can you ever forgive me?
Dear Friend, you had me at Aloha.
As for my guardian angel on that night’s dark road, she now lives on the very road I was staying, she guided me home and nearly tucked me in bed. Her son is now 9. She is back on the island with a new love and settling in.
Today I will see my dear long lost friend and meet her boys and share food with her family.
I mourned so much loss at that time, while my stepmother died, and then my Guru and then my father. Everywhere I looked I saw loss and heartache. Grief settled in my bones like a hungry ghost.
After a long day’s travel on that first Hawaii night, I went to bed in dark rain, and woke in Paradise.
The healing has begun.
It is an everyday magic that whispers, keep your faith.
My heart brims with love and gratitude.
Hope is rustling in the sound of every palm touched by the winds under a sky as vast as love and rich with possibility.
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