Saturday, August 20, 2011

THE ROAD TO KAILUA-KONA


Dusk was approaching quickly as Harry and Shige sped along Saddle Road heading home to Kailua-Kona.

Once the last bits of light vanished from the sky, they would be traveling along what was considered to be one of the most hazardous roads in the state of Hawai‘i. It wasn’t so much the dark of night that made Harry nervous, but rather the number of drinks he and Shige had consumed at a friend’s house in Hilo before heading home for the evening.

Suddenly, there was a loud pop and Harry’s car began jerking up and down along the rear driver’s side, feeling as if it had sprained an ankle and was now hobbling along to support its injured foot.

Thunka, thunka ,thunka, thunka, thunka...

Harry groaned as he pulled the car off to the side of the road and brought it to a stop. He threw on the hazard lights and turned to shake awake Shige, who had fallen asleep only two minutes into the ride home.

“Eh, Shige, wake up. I tink we get one flat tire. Help me change um.”

Shige’s glazed eyes opened slowly as he turned to look at his friend.

“We go,” Harry said, getting out of the car. “Stay dark already.”

Harry pulled open the  trunk and removed the carjack and spare tire as Shige slowly climbed out from the passenger seat. They slipped the jack beneath the car and began cranking.

In a few minutes, they changed the tire and were on their way. But less than a mile had passed when in the distance Shige spotted a white figure just barely illuminated by the car headlights.

“Harry, you see dat?”

“What?” Harry asked as he peered through the windshield.

“Ova dea, on da right. I think das one wahine waving at us. How come she out hea by herself in da dark? Eh Harry, we bettah make sure she okay.”

Harry nodded in agreement and once again pulled the car to the side of the road as Shige leaned out the window and called to the woman. The woman put her hand down, smiled, and walked over to the car.

“You okay o wat?” Shige asked.

As the woman, who was dressed in white slowly approached the car, they could see that she was carrying a small woven basket.

“ Yes, I’m fine. Thank you for stopping for me.” she replied

As she moved closer, Harry and Shige were both taken aback by the woman's striking beauty. Her skin was smooth and tanned, long ‘ehu hair flowed down past her shoulders, and her smile seemed to beam as brightly as the white dress she wore.

“How come you stay out hea by yourself?” asked Shige.

“I came here to pick ‘ohelo berries but I lost track of time. Before I knew it, the sun had set and I was out here walking down this road. In the dark.”

“Good ting we came by den.” said Shige. He elbowed Harry.

“Uh, you like one ride?” Harry asked.

“Thank you, that’s very kind.”

Harry jumped out of the car and opened the back door. The woman smiled and gracefully settled into the backseat.

They conversed as they traveled along Saddle Road. The woman explained to the guys that she was excited to return home to make delicious jam out of the ‘ohelo berries she had picked.

“Hooo dat sounds good!” Shige exclaimed, smacking his lips.

“Would either of you two care to try one?” the woman asked as she reached into her small woven basket and produced two of the reddest, most ripest berries that they had ever seen.

“No need ask us twice.” Harry took the berry from the woman, thanked her, and bit down on it.

The tart berry juice exploded with flavor and suddenly Harry found himself back in his childhood, to summers past when his grandmother would spread homemade ‘ohelo berry jam and liliko‘i butter on toast for his afternoon snack. It seemed as if it had been decades since he last experienced the taste.

Harry quickly snapped out of his dream-like state when he realized that they were quickly approaching the end of Saddle Road.

“Miss, you like me turn right or left on Belt Road?”

There was no answer.

Harry looked into his rear view mirror to find that the beautiful woman they had picked up along the roadside was gone.

WRITTEN BY: Wayne Takabayashi
for Spooky Kine Investigations
SKI.wtakabayashi@gmail.com

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