Cool, fresh, wet air wrapped around me as I stepped out onto the porch, the red screen door tapping gently closed behind me.
It smelled of wet, rain soaked flagstones sunk in concrete, of wet rich earth, of wet silky red dust in Oklahoma.
It smelled of deeply green grass that water's caressed and poured upon, of wet tree bark, of wet leaves and pine needles, of wet wood.
It smelled of rain on the ocean, a dark storm rolling in, and the grey, smoky coloured wind blowing a warning before the calm...
The scent of sweet, wet hay, of grasses blowing like a furry, multifaceted pelt in the wind on a volcanic earth field in Hawaii.
The smell of urgency, but also of peace; of the inevitable knowledge that things will be cleaned, gently, fiercely, completely, by the rain.
B-squared and I were so excited to be on this island. I'd never been before, and it was C's birthday, and we were SOOOO excited to come and spend it with her in such an incredible place.
You could hear and smell the ocean on the breeze everywhere, all the time here. Part of me felt as though I was arriving home; it was always that way for me around the ocean. Salt water, waves, the sea; it flowed through my veins.
Though a humid, breezy island wasn't my chosen climate-- I felt... stirrings of peace here. The tumultuous energies that I'd been fighting were finally resting for a while. I was to have a break, not an escape, but a time of inner calm at last.
The car pulled squishily up into the driveway. A large avocado tree, with fruits half the size of my head were laden on the ground beneath it's twirled branches.
The screen door banged shut, and three figures appeared.
"C!!!!", B-squared and I hollered, all three of us hopping to hug her at the same time. K and G walked over to the car... I'd heard a lot about them, but not met them before. C was very close with her brothers.
K grabbed B-squared's luggage and they followed him up the steps, C grabbing a bag as she held open the door and followed them inside.
I'd grabbed my lonely backpack, and suddenly found myself approaching the steps to the beach house and the solitary figure of G.
He was tall, broad-shouldered and his eyes seemed to glow in the evening light; circles of gold reflected in the warm lamps of the house.
He smiled at me and took my hand to help me up the steps with my heavy pack.
Warmth surged through my fingertips, I almost exclaimed aloud, I was so surprised at the energy of it; an instant connection, a feeling I'd not had in a long time; pure, warm electricity, a real zing and tingling feeling.
I stopped mid-step, right there, simply awed and I felt as though he was familiar. We were inches from each other, we'd never met each other before. I just searched his face, knowing that I was blushing and couldn't stop, knowing that it was silly to read so much into the touch of a hand, but I couldn't help it: it was instantaneous, completely true and real and big.
"Hi, nice to meet you," he said softly.
"Hi, yes, I've heard a lot about you. I love your sister, she's amazing."
He was still holding my hand; his palm was dry and warm, his hands large, strong and well proportioned, a little rough from diving and the salt water and island living. I could tell he was tan and dark, sandy brown-blonde from the light we were both standing in.
I couldn't in good conscience stand still any longer. We were, after all, loitering on the doorstep; something my grandmother would've considered quite unlucky.
I reached the top step as he held the door for me and giving my hand one small, but firm squeeze, he let go. I felt him pass me on the left, his hand lightly touching my shoulder to let me know he was there, as I bent down to remove my shoes.
Looking at the warm, laughing faces around me, all smiling and happy and relaxed and flushed, I was suddenly hit by how much I cared for these people; not just B, her daughter B and C, but for G and K too, because they were allowing us to stay with them. Welcoming us completely into the house they called home, and after-all, they really were a family there: two brothers and a sister sharing time and space, and they'd made room for the three of us.
C came tripping lightly over and I gave her an even bigger hug than the first one.
"Welcome to Hawaii!" she said cheerfully! I could see how happy she was to have us, and also how she'd been stressed about something too-- work, it turned out to be. It's very hard to work on the island if you're not a native... or at least to receive and retain benefits.
K scooted by us, grinning, to the fridge.
"Want a beer?" he said, winking at me.
"Sure, I'm just going to drop my pack off."
"It's the door at the end of the hall," C gestured warmly.
Walking down the hallway, I realized how tired I was. I slung my pack off, and stretched, arching my back and feeling my aching muscles release; lift and lighten after being compressed under the pack. I felt strangely lightheaded too.
Entering back into the living room, I again felt an overwhelming flow of gratitude; whether they knew it or not, these people were helping me deal with the pain I'd had back in CO. The discomfort and angst of navigating a relationship that was no longer clear, easy and comfortable; something that had become bent and frustrating, about technicalities, labels, freedom and white lies; all about him and nothing about me -- no commitment at all. Something that was gone beyond finding. Something that was already painfully past the beginning of it's end.
G came over and pressed a beer into my hand. His eyes were sparkling again; I didn't know eyes could really do that with light, but they were reflecting gold and crinkling at the edges as he smiled, and I could feel the warmth coming off of his and the rest of our bodies in the room. Everyone was sprawling on the couch, warm, tired and relaxed from a day of surfing, work and traveling.
He gestured to the foot of the couch; C, B, B and K were filling up the cushions, so we sank down facing them on the floor, sitting on the soft carpet and gazing up at them.
He wasn't sitting too close, but I could still feel the warmth, the tingle in my field that was affected as it came off of him in waves; he understood what I was feeling. He felt familiar and friendly, though we'd only met 5 minutes ago-- it felt like five weeks or more.
Listening half-heartedly to the conversation, I can barely remember what we talked about that first night; the plane, the colouring book little B and I shared, the funny people at the airport-- a lady digging in her guy's ear as though trying to exterminate something....
All I could focus on was how happy I was to see C, how open and courteous her brothers were, and how tomorrow, I was going to be back in the ocean.... and how the guy next to me seemed to understand exactly what I needed and gave it to me, without words.
After everyone decided the beer was the last step on the road to laying down and sleeping, I realized that G and I were still up, and seemingly not tired at all.
We stayed up for at least an hour afterwards: watching episodes of "Firefly," and enjoying the amazing connection that we both felt; not really needing to say much at all, just reveling in the amazing closeness, comfort, and above all, familiar feeling between us.
I had many more unbelievable adventures with that group of people on that trip. I'll never forget any of it; it started with magic, and I must say, none of us wanted to leave that island when the end of our time came.
How the hell G knew that I was hurting, confused and needing comfort, I'll never know, but he was instantly kind to me, instantly attentive, and I'll never forget the surge of warmth that came dancing down my fingertips into my body at that first touch.
Sometimes we find people who are beyond explanation; who have no purpose other than to open our eyes to something wonderful, brief and painfully bittersweet that we are desperately needing, though that may not be known at the time. These are the people who teach us about ourselves without even realizing it; a connection is made, understood and then afterwards it seems impossible... like a dream.
C is still one of my best and THE best friends I've ever known. We've been together through joyous occasions, heartbreak, crisis, tough decisions, tougher decisions, celebrations, excitations and all manner of terrible and splendid things.
Her brothers K and G are two of the most stupendously sweet guys I've ever met. K recently got married to a great girl. G and I still catch up occasionally and talk about wind, water and life.
B-squared are one of the coolest mother-daughter teams I have the privilege of knowing.
I'll never forget our time in Hawaii and all the incredible things we did and the feelings that swept over me.
Someday, maybe, I'll have the chance to experience such a time again; if I'm still lucky.