Lexis’s Writing

A Lone

This is a poem that desperately aches for air
In the panic-stricken darkness
That strangles out the life of one.
Because her story isn’t told
Because she isn’t strong enough.

And when she cries at night,
Isolation and judgment kill her

This is the poem that brings light to the unspoken
In a place of only darkness and despair
Like a lonely speck floating in the expanse of the seemingly endless ocean.

Unfinished Business

Did I change the world?
Make a difference
Show my family honor
Leave a legacy
Impact a life

Or did I:
Engage in peace
Spread love
Stop war
Create joy

I hope I:
Left a mark
Inspired a life
Created compassion
And changed the world.

Never said goodbye

It weighs down on your shoulders
Boulders…of Regret.
Words never said.
And gone instead into the depths of the ocean.

Drowning out the shame,
or lack thereof
Those who blame you
disappear, shoved into the twilight.

Clinging to knowledge
sporadic movement causes
migraines of dread.
The allurement of reality reflects off the face of the moon.

Engulfing, sadness overwhelms
seeping into every cell,
trapped in an unknown realm looking
For a way out.

Tired,
So tired
of being strong.

Let me break,
for just a moment
intake a breath

Let me vanish
into the mist of my own subconscious

Blink Once

Lexis's Book Spine Poem for the Web

La Respuesta es Alegría*

*The Answer Is Contentment

Life just isn’t about being the best.
It’s not about winning everything,
Or getting straight A’s
Life just isn’t about going through the motions
Being a robot,
Or conforming to society’s mold.
It isn’t about superficiality,
Or staying in style
Or always having the newest things
Life isn’t about making others miserable
Or judging them by what they love,
Or what they look like
It isn’t about living in the past
–throwing yourself a guilt-party
Or showing off how “damaged” you are

Life is about enjoying the little things
And finding bits of the world to make you smile.
It’s about laughing until your stomach hurts
and singing out as if no one is listening
Life is about embracing your past
And enveloping yourself with good vibes.
It’s about loving so hard, it physically hurts
And persevering, every day
Life is about finding your own passions
And doing whatever it takes to grab hold of contentment

Life is your own, make it your own
And embrace your challenges with a smile

A Prom Nightmare

My dress doesn’t fit.
My teeth aren’t white enough.
I don’t have my shoes.
My nail chipped.
My foundation isn’t the right color.
My mom forgot about pictures.
Our roses don’t match.
The party bus is running late.
I forgot to charge my camera.
I blinked, my make-up is running.
I’m sweating.
I didn’t shave!

I need to stop having these nightmares.
Prom is still a week away.

I’m so excited.

Everything is coming together.

A Super Dream

There once was a girl from Haiku
Who wanted a dream that was new
She wanted to fly,
But didn’t know why
Watch out! She’s coming for you!

Crazed Shark

I once met a shark from Ewa Beach
Every day he wished he could teach
Throwing passion away,
It led him astray,
Now he scares with a very high screech.

Birthday Cake

I have measured
the ingredients
and put
the mix in the oven

and you
were expecting
a big surprise
for your birthday

i’m sorry
that I burnt your oven
it was my
first time making

Birthday cake

Madness

engulfed
the city strangles

terror, pure madness
hits the city

squeezing out shrieks of disillusionment
emanates in to the expanse of the absence of light

shine is gone
glimmer is too

no billboards blind
no streetlights blind

dark,
millions (eyes)force impact

madness
moments frozen in darkness

choking it in
turns to claustrophobia

madness
madness

Alarm Clock

It’s 5:37 I feel the vibration of my phone’s alarm clock signaling me to wake up.

No. Not yet, it’s too soon, I’m too young.

I silence my alarm and, stabilized, I return to my normal steady slumber.

Ten-minutes later…

It’s always that dang buzzing!

I reach under my pillow and turn off my alarm again and just as I relax, my sister’s alarm clock starts going off, and a screeching, shuddering dub step starts to blare through her phone speaker.

Does she not realize that I am desperately trying to fall back asleep!

Five minutes pass…

Oh no, I hear it, my dad’s heavy footsteps are coming towards the room, the door is starting to open.

Oh dear God, no! Not yet, can’t you just let me stay a bit longer, it’s not that time, please just turn around. I swear, I’ll be a better person, I’ll do my chores, just let me sleep!

“Wake up, Lexi,” my dad says as he gently shakes my shoulder.

“It’s 6:00. You need to get ready for school. We’re going to be late,” he says.

I begin slipping from the grasp of my dreams.

Oh no, not yet, it’s too early, don’t get up –

My eyes shudder suddenly and then flash open. I rise from my bed shaking off what remains of sleep from my mind.

No. I had to wake up. Today’s CQ day, waking up is worth it.

I grumble as I get up and see my lonely bed beckoning me, but realizing where I was going I think, “Hey, my Sleep, my dreams will be resurrected on the bus.”

Distance

“Mom, I really want to go to the surfing seminar today,” said Mapu, a fourteen-year-old surfer-boy.

“Well, Im sorry honey, but I have to go to work. I wish that you would’ve told me earlier. I would’ve asked Uncle Kawika,” answered Mapu’s mom, her voice muffled by the business suit that she was attempting to put on.

“And again, the perks of living Kahana,” Mapu grumbled under his breath

His mother came out of her room, fully-dressed in formal business attire.

“Hey, I know you’re still adjusting to this move, but you know how important it is for me–and us–to keep this job.” His mother looked at him.

“You could’ve just kept your job in Pāʻia mom–or I could’ve just moved in with Keoki,” Mapu added.

“You know that we were struggling Mapu, please just give it some time. I know you really wanna go, but I just can’t right now, honey,” she kissed his forehead, grabbed her bags and rushed to the door.

“Maybe you can catch the bus or something, I left some money in the kitchen for you, make sure to check-in, I love you Mapu-boy,” she added as she walked outside.

“Love you too, mom,” Mapu shouted through the front door.

There is no bus all the way out here he thought.

But maybe there is another way.

Walking into his mother’s room, he logged onto the computer, and clicked on his favorites.

“Maybe Craigslist can help,” Mapu said aloud with a smile.

Quinceñera

Like the swaying and shaking of the coconut trees twisted by the harsh Kona winds, bodies twist, turn and slink to the melodic rhythm of the music.

——————————————————————————————

Getting ready.

Finding the perfect outfit.

I begin running my hands across the clothes hanging in the over-loaded closet. Pulling out a soft pink dress, I slide it carefully over my towel-wrapped hair. No.

Next, a short pleated-skirt and a cheetah-print blouse. No.

A pile of about a million outfits stacks higher and higher on my bed. I have nothing to wear.

Hopelessly, I move on to the next thing, I unravel the tight towel that has been squeezing my head for the past hour. Now, my sister begins to tame the beast. Yanking and harshly brushing, my shoulder-length hair, her magical hands begin to transform my twisted strands into a sassy piece of art.

Being released from the chomp of the curling iron, I return to conquer my enemy. Pulling all of my clothes to the left side of the closet, I see it. The sacred outfit –from my mother –that I have never used before. Perfect.

Now knowing what I was wearing, like a sculptor, I pluck my eyebrows to perfection and line my eyes with jet-black eyeliner, paying special attention to the thickness. A touch of buryberry-bliss lip gloss, and fin.

Accessories, earrings, shoes and bracelets –check. Big, chunky Polynesian earrings, my favorite. Shoes, raven black, five-inch wedged pumps. And my outfit, a soft cashmere-like full body romper.

At the party, it’s been two hours, my sexy heals aren’t feeling so sexy. I decide to release my imprisoned toes –slightly discolored – onto the coolness of the tiled floor. Fully rested, it’s time to dance.

Like the swaying and shaking of the coconut trees twisted by the harsh Kona winds, bodies twist, turn and slink to the melodic rhythm of the music. The best part of the party, the dance. The night progresses, cares seem to brush past the dance floor.

Bouncing, twisting, coercing across the dance floor, hearts start to mend, the cares of the world melt away as sweat builds upon the foreheads and necks of the rambunctious dancers.

The night finishes with the final song. I dance my heart out of my chest, dizzy and out of breath, content and overjoyed.

Monster

His blood pumped faster than the filter of a 35-gallon fish tank. Thu-thunk, thu-thunk, thu-thunk. Run.

Run.

Run.

That’s all that was going through his mind as he bolted up the road towards Pukalani Elementary School. Opening up all the jetways of his senses he heard his older sister’s sinister laugh as she watched him struggle to keep ahead of the heap of muscle that was nipping at his back.

“Get away from me!” he shouted at it, close to tears.

“Oh my gosh, suck it up. It’s nothing. I don’t know what you’re so scared of,” his sister irritably scolded from behind.

“You’re not the one being chased by a monster,” he huffed, running out of breath.

“Uh, hello, he only has three-legs, and he’s small anyway,” his sister began to laugh again.

In his mind, he was being chased by a hellhound with a toothache. Going through a mental ‘Last will and Testament’ the boy realized that he could only run so long. Flashing past him, the road was filling up with morning drop-off traffic. The school was also quickly coming up on his left. Realizing that he was coming up on the end of the journey, he set eyes to the corner of the road that if crossed, would take him to the safety of his second grade classroom.

The whistle blows, allowing one of the boys’ friends to cross to school.

“WAAAAAAIIIIIT!” the boy screamed as he sprinted to and across the sidewalk.

Yes, he thought as he stepped on the blessed mud-sprinkled ground of Pukalani Elementary School’s sidewalk.  Wait – what this? He heard a panting noise behind him. Dear God, thank you for my short time on this Earth, and please, please, please let there be a chocolate fountain up in Heaven, Lord, he prayed.

The monster approached. The boy felt its breath from behind. He also felt that he was about to be swallowed whole. Right then and there he decided that he would die a warrior’s death. The boy inhaled sharply and pivoted suddenly to face his opponent, eyes shut tighter than a window during a hurricane.

“AAAHHHHHHHH,” he yelled into thin air as he opened his eyes.

He didn’t see anything at first, but that’s probably because the thing that was chasing him was about knee height. Finding the courage to look down, the boy cringed at the sight of a rusty-brown, three-legged pit bull.

“Nice doggy, good boy, please don’t eat me,” the boy – voice quivering and close to tears – pleaded.

“Hi, Boy! Good doggy, are you thirsty? You just ran a whole lot–yes you did – oh, good Boy,” the boy’s sister came up, petting the dog.

“Look, he’s friendly,” she added as the dog playfully licked at her chin. “You stay here and watch him while I go and find a bowl for him to drink out of,” she shouted as she ran across the field to the 5th grade building.

The boy looked down at the dog.

“Hi, Boy. How are ya’ today?” he tentatively asked

The dog looked at him with his head slightly tilted and big brown eyes. He started to pant and move closer to the boy. Frightened, the boy moved back one step at a time, away from the advancing dog until it barked at a nearby car. Distracted, the boy tripped over a rock and landed flat on his back. He shut his eyes again, anticipating the pain that was to follow.

“I’m back, dork,” the sister called out.  The boy was nowhere to be found.

“Where are you?” the sister called out, receiving no response.

Scared, she was about to call for help when, all of a sudden, she heard hysterical laughter coming out from behind a bush. Peeking above it she saw her brother, covered in muddy paw prints, trying to escape from the sloppy kisses of his newly found friend.

“You were right, I love him,” her brother said spotting his sister.

The ABC’s of Kindness

*Editor’s Note: This is an ABC story. Note the letter at the beginning of each sentence.

A little ant anxiously waited amongst the grass for his mother.

But what he did not realize was that a great anteater was just a few feet behind him.

Closer and closer and ever so slowly the anteater walked along.

Did he know that the little ant was alone? Did he know that a snack lay hidden around the bend?

Even the green, giddy grasshopper realized what was going to happen; he needed to do something.

Frantically the grasshopper made a plan.

Grasshopper knew that he needed to distract the anteater until his mother returned.

Hopefully she’ll be back soon he thought.

If she’s not back, there’s no telling what will become of the little ant.

Just as the anteater was about to come upon the young ant, the grasshopper jumped out.

Knowing that the grasshopper was acting a little odd, the anteater spoke.

“Little, lovely, lonesome, insect, why do you flitter so? Are you hiding something from me?” asked the anteater.

“My friend, I am merely protecting my minute water supply that I have been collecting on the miniscule leaf behind me,” the grasshopper replied.

“Now, are you sure of that my friend?” asked the anteater.

“Of course! You know, I thought I saw a big ant hill just west of here,” said the grasshopper, convincing the anteater to leave the area where the little ant was.

“Paul! Oh, my poor, precious poppet! I have heard that the anteater has been around here. I shall never leave you alone again!” cried Mama Ant as she returned from gathering seeds.

Quickly, quietly and quizzically the guardian grasshopper started to slink back into a trove of grass.

“Really, thank you so much Mr. Hopper!” yelled Mama Ant.

So, now solo, the grasshopper slunk solemnly towards the river to his home.

Throughout that summer, the grasshopper played and laughed and sang.

Unfortunately, he did not gather any food for winter.

Vigorously, all summer, Mama Ant and Little Ant had been collecting and storing food, more than enough food to last them the entire winter.

Worried, Mama Ant went on a mission and searched for Mr. Hopper (she hadn’t seen him in a while), and she found him, hungry and cold.

Xcited to find her old friend, Mama Ant and Little Ant shared their home and food with grasshopper.

You never know when you’ll be in need of some help so you should help others, like Mr. Hopper and Mama Ant do.

Zealously be kind to others because what goes around comes around.

How to play with a small dog like a two-year-old

First, watch the dog and complain to your mom that he’s going to eat your baby.

Then, chase after the dog, and throw your sippy cup at him.

After that, make friends with the enemy, and let him come near you.

As soon as he’s close enough, whack him with your baby’s stroller P.S. your mom will tell you to “play nice.”

Then, go over to the dog, tell him you’re sorry and rub his back while looking at your mom and saying, “Nice, nice doggy.”

When he’s lying down next to you, inconspicuously get up, wobble past him, and when no one is looking, drop your favorite dolly right in front of his wet, little nose.

You’ve got him now.

Sit back and watch as your older siblings slide and slither across the wood floor to retrieve the hostage dangling from the clenched teeth of your opponent’s muzzle.

“Bad dog! “ your brothers say.

The dog is sent outside. He looks at you with a tilted head and big brown eyes through the sliding glass door

You feel bad, so you open the door using all the strength in your little baby arms. The door opens a few inches, and the dog squeezes through the opening.

“Hi, puppy,” you say as he licks your face.

“I mished you. I’m sorwee,” you whisper as you almost pop off his small head by squeezing so tightly.

Instantaneously realize that you’ve found your best friend.

Never Trust the ‘Little Birds’

Once upon a time,

when I was a young lad, about 530 or so, I lived in a ridiculous kingdom with ridiculous people. I would hear rumors about the goings on of the village that I rarely paid any attention to, but unfortunately, one fateful day a little bird told me of a miller’s daughter, and I foolishly felt the need to explore the situation…and, lucky me, I knew where the miller lived.

I eavesdropped on a conversation through the window. The miller was going to present his daughter to the king, and he was planning on telling the king that his daughter had a ridiculously-special talent:

“But dad, I don’t know how to spin straw in to gold,” the lass had uttered.

“Oh my darling, it is to only make you sound special in front of the king, for you are but a mere-,”

“Yes, I know father, I am but a mere miller’s daughter. But Dad, you know that I have no desire to stay here,” I listened through the open door outside as the girl pleaded with her father.

“I want to leave here and become something, find my own passions in life, Papa,” she continued.

I felt bad for the girl. She was a bright young lassie who wanted to make a name for herself. I could understand that.  Being an independent lad myself, I left home early and made a living signing off magic things and tricks to other poor unfortunate souls. I’ll admit it. I wasn’t living the most honest life, but it got me to where I needed to go.

Anyway, this is how it went down, the stupid father, of course, told the king that his daughter could spin straw into gold (which she couldn’t) and that beast of a king believed him, the desire of wealth visible in his eyes.

Oh, and on a side note, even though I have a funky name, that doesn’t mean that I have–or had–a funky face! Just saying, I think those two brothers got me mixed up with the king.

Back to the story, the King locked the poor girl up in a room full of straw—this is where I come in – and told her that if she didn’t spin him gold, she would be killed, just like that. What an ultimatum! Spin the impossible, or die.

So, she couldn’t spin the gold, and she was executed the next morning, end of story good-bye.

Naw, just joking. Although looking back, that scenario would’ve been prime for me.

That night, she did what all frustrated, frightened, flustered teens would do; she broke down and cried, and cried, and cried. Her wails—to tell you the truth—are just an ear sore, lemme tell you, I swear she sounded like a dying moose—it was horrible!

Her wails were too much for my sensitive ears. I needed to make it stop, so as quickly and silently as I could muster, I pounced, crawled, and catapulted through the great forest toward the edge of the village, where the Miller’s daughter was being held hostage in a room full of straw.

Using an old trick I learned from my grand Papi, I appeared to the girl, seemingly out of thin air. She gazed at me with swollen doe-eyes.

“I am here to help you,” I assured.

Worst thing I could’ve said because right after, a wave of blubbering, baffling babbling crashed over me.

After a while of soothing words, I struck a deal with her. On her finger, I had noticed an amethyst stone ring. I told her that I’d help her in exchange for the ring.

You see, one of my clients had ordered a marksmer, a potion for the horrid dragon pits (A rash that if left untreated, produces scales on the armpit) and all I needed was the essence of amethyst and a freshwater pearl.

That night, using my magical fingers, I spun a room of gold, and by the time she woke up, I was gone.

I had a feeling though that the greedy king would, of course, thirst for more spoils and riches, so of course he locked her up a second night, and again I appeared:

“What now lassie?” I chortled.

“It’s not funny. The king said that if I don’t spin him more gold, he is going to kill me for sure and kill all of my family as well,” she bawled.

An idea sparked in my head when I saw what the lassie was wearing around her neck. Braided into twine was a freshwater peal! I could tell by the luster of the ball that it was indeed a freshwater beauty.

“Where’d you get that?” I asked

Protectively she grabbed at her neck,

“It was my great great grandma’s. She was raised with gypsies, and she traveled all over the world with this pearl, let me tell you,” she hiccupped.

Sensing that she wasn’t giving up her keepsake easily, I asked her,

“Do you want your family to die?”

Yeah, harsh I know, but hey, my customer was getting grumpy, and it was a big order as well, meaning mucho moola for mwah.

So, hesitantly and with a crushed spirit, she handed over the pearl to me, and with a sigh, I started my work.

In the morning I retreated to my hovel and completed my recipe. Just as I finished, there was a knock at the door—you see, I hadn’t realized that this client of mine? Yeah, he was an All-Seeing Ogre. He picked up his potion and just stood there.

“Can I get you anything else my friend?” I asked him.

He towered above me and responded in a deep booming voice,

“The daughter of a miller and a king will be trouble,

The corruption of the kingdom will no doubt be double.

Unless a magic man takes him and makes him his own,

When he turns 16 his reign will be one like no one has known,

Fire and bloodshed are soon to come,

Unless you take him—you are the one,” he prophesied.

“Schorinzle kermoplets!” I said.

“There is no need for that language,” the ogre responded. “But, good luck!” he laughed and took off into the woods.

In the meantime, the lass was still locked up in the room of straw.

“This night for sure, he promised that he is going to kill me if I don’t spin riches, and if I do spin more gold, he is going to marry me! Oh woe is me,” she bawled.

I poofed into the room.

“Hey lady, look on the bright side, if I help you tonight, you’ll be a queen, spoiled and respected throughout the village,” I despondently replied.

“How do you do that?” she inquired.

“Never mind how I do it. Do you want my help or not?” I told her matter-of-factly.

“Well, I guess so, but I have nothing left to give you,” she started to cry again.

“Okay, I’ll make you a deal—your first child shall be mine,” I said.

“Eww, no way am I even touching that pig of a king!”

“Okay, okay, that’s enough; do we have a deal or not?” I asked.

“Well, I guess—not like I’m going to have a kid with him anyway,” she tried to convince herself out loud.

“Okay then, let’s do this,” I rejoiced knowing that I’d just made a deal to save the kingdom and knowing that I’d, you know, have a little minion, a little sidekick following me around in a few years.

As the King promised, he married the miller’s daughter the next day, and a year later, a baby was born.

So, the rest of the story goes a little something like this:

I show up at the castle

I tell the miller’s daughter, a.k.a. the Queen, that I’ve come to complete our deal

There is a lot of arguing, screaming, yelling and, of course, blubbering

I give her three days to guess my name…

and the little bird that told me about her in the first place, told her my name on the third day, not realizing that he had just destroyed the future of the Kingdom

I got upset, real upset, and when a guy like me gets that flustered we explode, like literally, it was like Stomp-Stomp Bachigaboomflappruffpoof.

Sad isn’t it? Now I sit here as the ghost of Rumplestiltskin telling you this story. Take it or leave it. This is my story and the story of my demolished, smoldering Kingdom.

Like I said at the start, you just can’t trust them little birds.

The End

Day by Day

“Waaaaa, wa wa waaaaaa,” the sound of the newborn child woke up his father who had fallen asleep in the wooden rocking chair next to the baby’s crib.

“Okay, okay, hush baby- hush, my son,” his father’s velvety whisper came out.

The father looked at the digital clock on his bureau. “Three-oh-one, on the dot, as usual,” he sighed.

Rocking his son, he sat back down and started to sing a song. The song that his wife would have sung as she sat in the same chair, to the babe that had been growing inside her, the now-four week old who would never know his mother.

“Never forget how much I love you, here in my arms you will stay,” he started singing

“I will watch you grow, and play,” the baby’s cries started to cease.

“Always remember that I will always be here, my darling. You will have nothing to fear,” the baby was silently sucking on his fist.

“Daddy and Mommy will always be near,” the father started to silently sob.

The next morning as the father was taking out the trash, his neighbor stopped him.

“Hey, Joe–you coming over tonight? We’re having a little shindig–Super Bowl party. May and I would love it if you came over,”

“Oh, hey there Bruce, well, I don’t know–you know–I have J.J., and I don’t know, maybe,” the man replied.

“Ahh–c’mon man. You know, you used to be fun. This would be good for you, you know, socializing maybe having some brewskis. You know you wanna, and your team is playing! The Niners!” the man’s neighbor suggested.

“Nah, I’ll pass on this one Bruce,” Joe replied. “Thanks for the offer though, maybe next time.”

“What happened to the old Joe? C’mon man, we both know that Alysaa wouldn’t want you living like this,” Bruce said in a hushed voice.

Joe quickly looked to the ground, a thorn of remorse and hurt stabbed his gut with the mention of his recently passed on wife.

“I need to go check on J.J.,” he angrily announced as he quickly paced towards his front door.

“I’m sorry, but you know it’s true ma-,”

Joe slammed the door.

Joe’s parents called and were on their way to his house to spend time with J.J. When they got there, they saw the raging party next door.

Joe saw his parents pull up to the driveway. Just as he was going to open the door, his mother burst in proclaiming, “Why aren’t you at that party, Joseph? I know you were invited. Bruce just told me.”

“No, Mom. I don’t really want to go. You know there’s J.J.,” Joe started to make excuses.

“We are his grandparents! And we want to spend some alone time with our grand baby, so you go on and march right over there and have some fun, look how pale you are, Dear!”

“Your mother’s right, Joey,” his father added.

“When’s the last time you did something fun?”

“Okay, okay I get it!” Joe said.

“But if there’s anything that J.J. needs or wants—anything– come and get me. I’ll be right next door. His wipes are in the cupboard, his favorite blanket is in the crib, the window in his room is closed because I don’t want him catching a co-,”

“Joesph Lionel Krisil, we know! Now go!” his mother scolded.

As Joesph was walking over to Bruce’s house, a woman caught his eye. She kind of reminded him of Alysaa, his wife.

“Joey-Boy! You made it!” Bruce’s booming voice bounced over the heads of the party-goers.

“I think my skin was getting a little crisp from the A.C. I thought I’d come out and get some fresh air,” Joe joked.

“Buwahahaha,” Bruce’s guffaw startled a chipmunk that had been grabbing an acorn from next door.

“Now there’s my ol’ bud. Your skills are just a wee bit rusty, though,” Bruce gave Joe a friendly slap on the back.

“Got a beer, Bruce?” Joe asked.

“’Course I do! What kinda question is that?” Bruce responded.

As the night went on, Joe was starting to lose track of how many beers he had had. Seven? Nine? Twelve? All he knew was that it was dark, he was in Bruce’s man cave, and the girl that he’d seen earlier was standing right next to him. She was saying something about being a tour guide at the Grand Canyon. Joe didn’t care who she was or what she did, all he was thinking about was how much her lips looked like Alysaa’s.

The woman started to lean in towards Joe, Joe also started to move towards her lips anticipating the feeling that was to follow,

“I mish youahh Alysaa,” his intoxicated voice came out slurred.

“My name is Judy,” the woman said, and she harrumphed out of the room.

Her vicious sneer is what snapped Joe back to reality.

“What am I doing?” he thought. “Lyssa would never want to see me like this.”

Joe thought of his son, “I can’t I can’t be like this. I can’t. My son, that would be like giving up on my son. If I give up on myself, I’m letting him down,” he started a mantra in his mind.

Joe talked to his parents asking them to stay the night to watch J.J.

The next morning at 3:01 on the dot, he opened his eyes and walked over to the baby’s crib,

“Today is a new day,” he told his son as the baby’s eyes, a dark piercing blue, identical to his mother’s, flashed open.

The Other-Half

Every day these students pass me by, not noticing me, the wire bin, the unfortunate other-half of the more widely cherished trash can.

Ugh, the trash can. He is sooo irraz. Just because he gets filled faster than I do doesn’t mean anything except the fact that he collects common, non-reusable items, and…he seriously stinks.

I wonder what Ms. Guntzel’s class is crafting today? Her projects are so neat! I love those artsy types; they tend to recycle a lot.

Oh, the sun is shining right on my sign. Second block should be just about over…oh, snap! Yup, here they come.

There goes Sean again. He needs to shave — as usual. And Tanya, tsk-tsk. Phones aren’t allowed during school. I swear. The things that I see in my corner against the pillar would just astonish Mr. Delatori.

Oh, tie your shoe, Keoni, before you—-fall. Yup, that one’s going to be a shiner.

Oh man, if I only had legs or even wheels, I’d be the king of this campus

But I know that my day of salvation will come.

The second floor is where it’s at. In the morning, all the coffee drinkers and energy intakers just lerp around looking for a recycling bin that isn’t there. That is totally not fair for them, or me! Like, seriously? I’m down here!

And another thing about being downstairs is the wind. If I’m not filled, I’ll be blown around like a tumbleweed in a bad cowboy movie, and I’m lucky if somebody will come and put me upright.

Speaking of wind—eww! Puh-lease Trash Can, put your bag in! That’s embarrassing! Ugh, sometimes this garbage collector makes me feel lame by association. Geesh!

But one day I will get there, and one day I will fulfill my destiny of collecting all the different cans and plastic bottles. I can just feel it in my wires.

One day.

 Confessions of a Frequent Flyer

“Grandma, can I have that picture, please?” I remember asking my grandma that when I was four years old. It was a picture of a flight attendant for Aloha Airlines a few years before they went bankrupt.

The stewardess pictured was a very pretty Polynesian woman; she was standing on the inside of the plane with a big beautiful red hibiscus flower in her hair. Yup, that moment was a defining moment of my childhood; I knew what career I wanted. One day I was going to be in that catalog, one day I was going to be a flight attendant; I could just feel it.

Being a frequent flyer when I was younger, I never had a chance to develop a fear of flying or a fear of strangers for that matter. From what my family has told me and from what I remember, I was quite a friendly child. I think that my affable personality is partially the reason why I wanted to become a stewardess when I was younger.

Most of the time, I’d fly with family, my grandmother usually, but as I got older, once in a while I would fly by myself. My usual route would be from Las Vegas to Oʻahu to Maui and then back to Vegas.

After my grandparents-or actually great grandparents (I don’t like calling them that because they are still young) divorced, my Grandma moved to Las Vegas, and my Papa moved to Maui-both leaving their home island of Oʻahu.

My family and I followed Grandma to Vegas, and of course, being a Papa’s girl and a spoiled great-grandchild, I was constantly flown back and forth from the mainland to the awaiting arms of my islands of Hawaiʻi — and my Papa, hence my usual aforementioned route. As a matter of fact, in the three  years that I lived in Vegas, I actually never missed a Maui County fair!

Anyway, when I would fly by myself, I would always make friends with the stewardesses on the flight–probably because it was their job to watch me, but also, I would tell them that I wanted to become a flight attendant when I grew up, and they were always tickled by that. This is how my conversations usually went:

Me: “Hi,”

Stewardess: “Hello sweetie, my name is *insert name here.* Where are you headed to?”

Me:  “I’m going to visit my Papa in Maui.”

Stewardess: “Oh, how exciting! Is this your first time flying by yourself?”

Me: “No.”

Stewardess: “Oh. Well, that’s cool.”

Me: “Yup, I want to be a flight attendant when I grow up.” *Insert super cute smile here.*

Stewardess: “Aaaaw, just like me!”

Me: “Yup.” *Insert even cuter smile*

This is where I would think to myself, “I got you; now go get me some juice!”

Stewardess: “Do you want some juice, Sweetie?”

Me: “Yes, please,” *while in my mind I think, “muahahahaha,” in that criminal mastermind way*

But I did actually, really want to become a stewardess, and every time I brought it up with my family they’d be supportive saying:

“Honey, go for it, that way we’ll get free flights,” and they’d laugh and smile.

I never really knew if they actually truly believed that I’d become a flight attendant or not, but when I was four, I was determined to become one of the elite women of Aloha Airlines, soaring through the sky, fulfilling the duty of the generations of stewardesses that came before me.

As a stewardess, I’d be able to explore the world spreading aloha, and the love from my island home. To me, that 757-jet represented freedom, exploration, and the fulfillment of my dreams.

Even though I no longer have the drive to become a flight attendant, I still enjoy the convenience of flying, and the wzzzzzzzzzz-ing sound that the jet engines make before take-off still produces little butterflies in my stomach, while the anticipation of the trip to come always revives my spirit.

Dragons

Coming home from school, I found a note pinned on the front door. It read: BEWARE OF THE DRAGON. It was the same note that had been there for weeks. Still curious though, I stuck my head to the door listening for any sound coming from within, nothing.

Leaning forward I start to turn the handle to the left. The latch clicks allowing me to start to push the door open when all of a sudden, “Bubba!” the door is wooshed open and I fall flat on my face.

“Owww, geesh!”  I yelled into an empty living room. I looked up, the house was empty. My eyes began searching for something that wasn’t there; my ears began ringing from the lack of noise that a month ago would’ve resounded from the upstairs bedroom, the room right next to mine, and my nose began to twitch searching for that one special scent that it would never find.

Throwing my backpack down on the floor, I proceeded to the kitchen, grabbing an apple from inside of the drawer. Taking a bite, I sprinted up the stairs to the master bedroom where I knew my mom would be, where she always was, sitting on the bay window looking out into the lake, the Lake of Sorrows is what I started to call it.

“Mom, did you eat today?” I asked. I answered my own question, seeing her nearly full bowl of now soggy cereal that I had made for her before I left for school. “Ma,” I said walking towards her, “Mom,” I grabbed her shoulders and turned her to face me.

Her beautiful strawberry blonde hair was tangled and crisp from the lack of care, and a few white hairs could be picked out here and there. Her hands were fragile like crumpled butterfly wings, and the skin was pale. Her face looked sunken in and her light hazel eyes had lost their glow. She wasn’t looking at me, it seemed as if she was looking through me, like her eyes were on the constant search for an unrecognizable file.

“Okay mom, let’s get you freshened up,” I said as I helped her into her massive master jet-stream bathroom. The warm water cascaded down into a swirling bubble bath of memories and loss. “Mom, your bath is ready,” I said. I turned around as she de-robed herself and stepped into the bath.

When I heard the water settle, I turned and faced her. Her eyes were closed, and when she spoke, it came out as a whisper, “Do you think they’re happy?”

“What?” I asked.

“Do you think they’re happy, Son?” she opened her eyes and looked straight at me with that familiar spark that I once loved.

“Yeah mom, I do. I know they’re happy. They’re together. Dad has a partner now,” I said.

“Well yes, I suppose he does, your little brother must’ve been so scared,” tears began to stream over her brittle cheeks. “It’s my fault, I left the door open, If I hadn’t-,” she cried seemingly struggling to breathe.

I put my hand on her shoulder. “Mom, it’s okay. You know how much he loved dragonflies, and the lake-”

“Yes son, the lake was the ‘land of the dragons,’” she hiccupped trying to recover. A slight giggle escaped from her mouth, a sound that enraptured my soul, a lost sound that I’d thought I’d never hear again.

“Yeah mom, that’s right, he was the most adventurous three-year old I ever knew,” I smiled as the memories of my little brother rushed over the floodgates refreshing my mind and reaching all the corners of my subconscious.

Tears poured out incessantly. No longer numb, I thought about my little brother’s death that happened just a month ago, an accident at the lake, and my father’s death, in that same lake three years before when his boat capsized during a freak storm. Sometime between the talking, the crying, and the thinking, my mother had gotten out of the bath and put on her robe, and she too was crying.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, Son. I know I haven’t been there for you. I know it must be hard dealing with this, and me, all by yourself. I promise, never again,” my mom sobbed.

I ran over to my mother and sunk into her outstretched arms. That night, I went to sleep content and thinking about the events that had transpired in my life, and I knew I wasn’t lying when I told my mom that my brother and father were happy, together, wherever they were.

School was the same as always the next day, but when I came home, I felt like something was different. I walked up my front porch steps and realized with a jolt that the sign, BEWARE OF THE DRAGON had been taken down, and again, I put my ear to the door and listened, not sure what to expect when all of a sudden I heard the door click and open, and I fell into my mother’s arms.

“Welcome home son,” her smile revived my soul.

“I love you. Welcome back, Mom.”

Pineapple and Cottage Cheese

“All right! Who ate the last of the cottage cheese?” Ryan asked as he dissected the contents of the ice box.

“Honey, it’s in there, look with your ‘good eye,’” his mom called out from the living room.

“Mom, It isn’t in-oh! Never mind.”

“Did you find it?”

“Yes mom, I did,” Ryan retorted as he sat down to eat his favorite afterschool snack, pineapple and cottage cheese.

“Wash your dish when you’re pau son,” his mom hollered as she trekked the stairs to the second story of their quaint home in Waimanalo, a fresh bruise peeking out from beneath her faded fuchsia pareau.

“And don’t forget to clean the yard before your father comes home, bumbai…” her voice trailed off into the darkness of the upstairs bedroom.

After Ryan finished his snack, he washed his dish and decided to read his favorite piece of literature, Capitan Underpants. Enduring an arduous day at school, he fell into a coma of greasy-faced memories and emotional drainage.

The sun had just set when suddenly, the cluck of roosters awoke Ryan from his slumber. “Ah these stupid birds, Mele get down ‘ere! Why is the yard li’ dis?” His father’s slurred roar seemed to shake the house and fortify Ryan’s fears.

Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, Ryan realized that it was dark outside, and he had not completed, or even started cleaning the yard.

The trepidation about his father started when his dad had returned from active military duty. Drunken bouts with Ryan’s mother and harsh hangovers led to domestic aggression and police citations. Ryan learned to stay clear of his father during his drunken stupors, but his mother was an antagonist, and most nights she was up late arguing-begging Ryan’s father to change his ways. The only thing that came out of that was a trip to the hospital under a fake explanation — a sore body, mind and spirit.

Throughout the years, Ryan had learned to adapt to his father’s mood swings and his mother’s attempted intervention, obscuring the truth from teachers, friends and family. This night was nothing out of the ordinary.

“Mele! I said git your ʻōkole down here, now!” his father barked.

“Auē! Nuʻu, drunk? Again? That’s the fourth time this week, what’s going on Nuʻu?” his mom solemnly replied.

“What’s goin on? Hah! Wat’s goin on in my house? I come home, and the yard is filthy! Where’s the boy? That good fo nahting runt!”

“I forgot to tell him about the yard. It’s not his fault; he’s doing his homework,” his mom said.

Hearing the argument in the kitchen, Ryan slunk out into the yard and past the plumeria tree that he and his mother had planted the day his father left six years ago.

“Don’t lie to me, Woman!” he heard his father’s menacing tone and braced himself for the act that followed. Contact, skin-to-skin, his father’s rough palm slamming against his mother’s delicate bronzed face.

“Aaah, no, this isn’t you Luanuʻu,” his mother’s blood-curdling scream and soft whisper shattered Ryan’s heart.

Pulse racing, the proceedings in the house allowed Ryan’s feet to act like jumping salmon, racing to get to their destination, not ceasing until the target was reached. Past the coconut trees, under the mango’s expansive branches to the back of the yard alongside the mower, sat the terminus, the place that would test the limit of Ryan’s courage, the shed.

Sweat dripping down his face, or was it rain? Ryan couldn’t tell. His heart was about to launch out of his chest and into the familiar coarse walls and darkness of the shed. Reaching in, Ryan’s hand hunted for that familiar tool that he had used so many times before: the machete.

Thoughts hustled through Ryan’s mind, “Am I really going through with this?” “What am I doing?” “Can I do this?” “I can’t hurt him; he’s my father.” His stream of consciousness was interrupted as he heard police sirens blaring up the road. The machete slid out of his clenched fist. The crunching of gravel beneath the tires of the squad cars jolted Ryan back to reality, “What am I doing?” Ryan cried out loud.

Tears pouring down his face, Ryan scampered into the house. The scene before him was of pain and discomfort, his mother with a bruised, blackened eye talking to an officer and his father, handcuffed, being piloted out into the gloom of the recent twilight. His head was down, seemingly shamefaced and guilt-ridden.

The days following that fateful night were uneventful, Ryan’s father was put into a rehabilitation program, and his mother had started attending women’s support groups.

As for Ryan, his experience that night taught him to just concentrate on the simple things, like cottage cheese and pineapple, cottage cheese and pineapple….

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