I’ve officially applied for three different school districts in the Austin area. I doubt I’ll get a job offer since I currently do not have my license, masters, nor have I taken the Texas required tests (yay for being from a state that has to create its own EVERYTHING).
But maybe that’s ok, to stay in Hawaii a little longer? Where I have a for sure job, a for sure house…ok that’s all that I have for sure. And a gym membership, I have that. And lots of shit, including my car, which I don’t want to even think about boxing or shipping or selling or throwing away…
What the hell is wrong with me?
I have these moments where I want nothing more than to stay here, in the sunshine. My skin is smiling, constantly tan. I buy random fruits just because you can’t get them on the mainland. My car is filled with sand. I drive past those trees on Kam that are bursting with the yellowest of yellow flowers and I think, “Jesus there’s nowhere more beautiful.” I appreciate never being cold. I cherish the fact that I can jump in the ocean or climb a mountain at any moment if I so choose.
But then I remember how far away I am from my family, from my best friend, from decent Mexican food, and from date-worthy men (at least, I’m guessing they’re all in Austin). I remember what it feels like in the fall, the first time you can bring the boots out from the back corner of your closet. I remember floating the river and 6th Street and The Square and Sonic Happy Hour and the baby cousin I haven’t met yet. I remember my dog, Mardi, and the deer and the quiet, country sound that is so different than the quiet sea.
But then I remember the scorpions, spiders, mosquitoes, humidity, and belt-buckled rednecks who call people fags and give our entire state a bad rep.
I realize that I’ll be surrounded by not just good memories, but all the bad ones too. You never know who you’ll see at HEB, right? The guy who completely pulverized your heart, the old friend who helped him do it, the creep who you filed sexual harassment charges against at your first real job, the boss who cared more about protecting the company’s name than protecting you, the father who you might not even recognize, but you do because he looks like you.
Here I’m safe from those people, or those kind of people. There are no extremes here, which is of course a con as well because that means there are no greats—family, friends, loves. But at least there are no extreme enemies? There are a few people who I’d prefer not to see downtown, but maybe one day I will and I’ll either run away or have an awkward, fake conversation. There’s a guy who I kind of, sort of fell for and then he promptly exchanged his boyfriend ticket for a cleaner, larger font acquaintance ticket. There are a lot of grab-bag pals, lots of pebbles, no rocks. Hawaii’s not a hideaway though, or a refuge—if anything, it’s a time capsule that forces you to dwell and make decisions and move on or hold on. But it also feels like a giant pause button of a rock.
I flip-flop pretty regularly. I love it here—I love the keiki, I love the beach, I love that I can get authentic Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Indian food on any part of the island. I love the aloha and the rainbows and the bright birds and I can’t stand the thought of seeing the Gulf again after I’ve seen the blueness of these waters.
But nothing beats home, brown waves and all. I forget what it’s like for people to not think it’s weird when I say “y’all” or “fixin’ to” or “coke” when I mean soda. I don’t like being so far away from my mom’s embrace, my dad’s wisdom, or my best friend’s dance moves. I don’t like being isolated in the middle of the Pacific, thousands of miles and dollars away from anyone or anything. I don’t like that no one ever stays here. You’re either here for the military, college, or the experience—all transient, all temporary. Half my fellow teachers or more will be packing their bags in May. Slowly, the numbers will dwindle and, most likely, I’ll have zero friends on Oahu by 2015.
I miss the comfort, the familiarity. But can I move back without a job? Surely, no. I’d go crazy without a teaching job, I’d go crazy if I had to resort to subbing or retail or living with my parents or taking another cubicle life-sucking 9 to 5.
So what to do? Besides wait. And dream about bringing everything and everyone that I love here, spreading them all over the islands. I heard this place is hard to leave. It’s true. I’d rather stay and create my own utopia. Some family on Maui, some friends on Kauai, or a new addition to the chain, a mini Texas island popping up above Oahu, holding everything I miss, just a ferry ride away. I crawl in bed mapping it all out.
Mom and Dad can have a house in Kailua, Johanna can live with me, Kristian would be in Kapolei, Ari and Anthony would live in a Chinatown apartment, Anne’s place would be in Haleiwa, Grandma and Aunt Debbie would live in Aiea, Tara in Lanikai, Rachel would have a studio in Waikiki, Laura and Kyle will share some North Shore shack…
…and then I fall asleep.