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They walk beneath the banyan tree and Skye traces a branch, amazed at how it weaves and rambles. You. You’re the one who started this. Lindsy is stitched to his side, sheltered in the frame of his collarbone. During the 36 hours after their shower room romp, they did not actually leave their room. They even indulged in room service, and ate mango ice cream off of each other. Then washed each other off in the shower, then messed each other up again, then took a bath. The tactile overload was hallucinogenic, and now, walking the main drag in the most random rainstorm ever, they are sharing a happy stupor. A raindrop smacks Skye on the forehead.
“Raindrop,” he reports.
“Mmm,” she responds.
“What is that, seven?”
He spots a row of flags – Mexico, Hawaii, Washington state, Canada – and conjectures that there may be some kind of restaurant up there. They come to a sign next to a staircase: Poncho and Lefty’s – Sorry, We’re Open. Skye stares at it for fifteen seconds before he gets the joke.
Some sort of wormhole takes them to a table at a railing. Like half the restaurants on the strip, this one has a seaward wall open to the elements. In a theater, they would call it the fourth wall. Lindsy orders huevos rancheros, Skye a stack of macadamia pancakes. Both plates are empty in three minutes.
Lindsy rubs the inside of Skye’s knee. “So that’s what it was. I thought I was just tired from all the fucking.”
Skye lets out a snort. “Mormon girl.”
“I think we kinda shot that notion to hell.”
Skye gazes at the face of George Washington, and flashes on Lindsy’s instructions (hour 23). Once in a while, I want you to fondle my boobs in a public place.
The waitress returns. She’s a spunky brunette talker-type, running her tables like she’s doing stand-up. Skye is in love with her.
“Somebody’s on a eatin’ holiday! Let me guess: you didn’t get a speck of food at the reception.”
She grins, revealing a snaggletooth. Skye loves her even more.
“Honeymooners are always so cute, sittin’ on the same side of the table.”
Lindsy interjects, sounding a little breathy, like she’s holding back laughter. “Could we have the mango ice cream? And two spoons?”
“You got it.” She spins away.
“I love her.”
Lindsy smiles. “She is awfully friendly.”
He runs his index finger all the way down her left arm. “Have enough energy for a drive?”
“I do now.”
“Anything in mind?”
“Volcanoes, beaches, waterfalls. It’s a big island.”
Brunette waitress arrives with a metallic bowl holding one big scoop of sorbet. Skye rests his middle finger on the frosted base, letting the cold transmit to his skin.
“Thanks so much. Here’s the bill. Let me know if you need anything else.”
“Mahalo,” says Skye. As the waitress turns away, he slips his hand into the back of Lindsy’s shirt, reaches around her waist to cup her breast, and applies his middle finger to her nipple.
Lindsy shudders, then melts. “Mmm.”
The day turns into a circumnavigation, beginning with a stop at Hana Hou, “the southernmost bakery in the United States.” Skye is eating a guava sweet roll on the patio when he spots a grass-green gecko with red markings and baby blue eyelids.
From there they head to Punalu’u black sand beach. Lindsy takes a picture of her white feet against the coal-black sand and shows it to Skye, who gets ideas. They walk the length of the beach, which is lined with coconut trees like a Hawaiian postcard with bad color, and find a private cove on the far side of a boat launch. Lindsy strips down inside the wrap of a beach towel, then lies on the sand in an elegant pose. Skye whips away the towel, snaps a few photos, then covers her back up, scans the area for interlopers, and removes the towel again. Only as they’re leaving do they notice the dozen highly amused surfers working the waves a hundred feet up the shore.
The volcano park is sadly dull, just a huge hole and a plume of steam, so they proceed up the eastern side of the island to Hilo and Akaka Falls, a ribbon of snow-white water bisecting an emerald cliff. By the time they finish the long crossing through Waimea and over the dry brown foothills of Mauna Kea, they have only enough energy to rinse away the day’s sweat and fall exhausted into bed.
Somewhere in the tunnel of night, Skye awakens from a sex dream to find that he is inside of Lindsy, in the spoon position. Skye takes a mental flight to the top of the room and marvels at this thing that human bodies can do to each other, almost of their own accord. He explodes inside of her. Their breathing tracks together and slows. He sweeps a lock of hair from her forehead and looks into a single blue eye.
“If you’re sleeping with Morgan, we need to have a talk.”
He kisses her shoulder blade. “You are fucking sexy.”
“Shall I compare thee to a summer slut? She walks in beauty like such a totally hot babe.”
“So it’s poetry you want?”
“Nah. Fucking Sexy is a title I will proudly wear. I wish my husband agreed with you.”
“That’s why you were pissing me off earlier. Once Thad got baby fever, he would only fuck me when I was ovulating. As if sex for recreational purposes were a preposterous notion.”
“So I was hitting you smack dab in your insecurities.”
“Don’t worry. You’ve done a lot of making up.”
Skye lies back and puts his forearm to his temple, trying to add something up. Sleeping with Morgan. The church lady intervention. Baby fever.
Lindsy laughs. “That’s an ancient ruse. ‘Any man who won’t do you must be gay.’ I appreciate the effort, though.”
Skye takes away his forearm, revealing an earnest expression.
“Think about it.”
They slide the spoons back together. Skye traces a hand along her shoulder. A minute later, she speaks the phrase out loud. “Thad’s gay.”
In the morning, Skye begs off to the hotel coffeehouse to scratch out a first draft of the Ringwald story. He is hardly in the right mood for work, but once the game of collage kicks in – snappy quote, biographical tidbit, theatrical factoid – he gets it all down on paper, which is, he knows, the primary skill keeping wannabe writers from stealing his paychecks. Once it’s on paper you have vanquished the void, conquered the chaos. All the rest is rewrite and polish, which lacks the something-from-nothing terror of the blank white page.
Now, he can relax. He slides his notebook into his writing case, drinks the last of his latte, and is about to march off in search of his woman when he finds her.
The coffeehouse offers a perfect peeper’s view of the swimming pool’s southeast corner, and this is precisely where lies Lindsy Charrish. She tilts back upon a chaise lounge, queen of the infinity edges, the igneous fountain, the Kilauea hot tub steam. Her breasts are twin moons in pockets of green, her blonde tendrils stolen from mermaids, teasing the frames of enormous ‘70s sunglasses, pink lips shiny with gloss. A parasolled drink waits on a glass table (an orange colada, the house specialty). Waits, like Skye, to be consumed.
There’s your poetry. Skye sits there for a long minute, stunned by his good fortune. Saddened at the prickings of ethos that will force him to give her up.
Photo by MJV