The low slung, haphazard houses seem like afterthoughts to the roof the wave makes when it curls over your head. Sand gets in everything – your jewelry box, the hems of your dress, behind your knees and ears, clinging to your skin like scales. It hardly makes sense to wear shoes, even sandals but you do anyway because you like the look of the moonlight trapped in the jewel toned plastic stones on the straps. You own a bra or two, but you never wear them. Bikini tops in bright colors and chaotic patterns litter the floor of your bedroom, the drawers of your friends. Occasionally they hang precariously from a lampshade or two in his room.
The tourists don’t stop coming even in the awful dog days of summer when you’d sleep on your surfboard if you could. So two or three times a week you drive down to the south end of the island to fill in for one of the hula dancers at the luaus. You know the girls, occasionally even enjoy coming to the busier side of the island on hot nights, knowing you can probably get away with drinking something pink and sweet. The colors of the skirts are too bright to have been found in nature and the swish and scratch of plastic hula skirts sounds grating and wrong. Still, even you can’t help feeling the tightening in your belly as sweat settles in the small of your back and slides down your legs. You too are mesmerized by the swinging hips of the girls in front of you, knowing he’s watching from the back of the crowd with a few of his friends.
Later you go dancing. It’s harder to move your hips the same way in shorts but his hands on your waist makes you want to try. The dry, hot burn of gin slides down your throat, tempered by a splash of tonic and lime. You never bothered sliding a shirt on over your bikini too (black and gold this time) so your sweat dries on your skin and you shiver in the cool breeze that comes in through the windows of the car. It’s beat up and covered in sand. You slide your feet out of your shoes and scrunch your toes in the towel on the floor. Everything smells faintly of saltwater and sunshine. The driver is sober and you’d feel sorry for her but you’d much rather sleep in the North Shore than down in Honolulu where the lights are too bright and sharp.
You wake up the next morning naked, your legs tangled with his, his arm resting on your stomach and his fingers resting on your hip. The sunlight pours through the open window and warms your breasts and collar bone. It’s early yet. You eat toast and peanut butter as you head to the beach, surfboard under one arm and the other guiding the bicycle. You head over with him this morning, but you’d have seen him there anyway. It’s summer and you know everyone paddling out beyond the first breakers. But you don’t speak. You just ride the waves under the still pink sky until the right crest comes along. Your heart drops into your stomach in a fantastic rush. You might as well be flying. It begins again.