He had no reason being there. If anywhere he should have been at home with his father and older brother, helping them cope over their mother's death anniversary, year twenty-two. His boss was always nice enough to give him two days off to do so, knowing how important family was, but this year, he just simply wasn't feeling the idea of being with the only two people left in his family. Instead, he packed her ashes and left for Hawaii, away from his problems, away from needy family members that he didn't even know existed. He just needed to get away.
He found his luggage at the baggage claim quicker than expected and put his sunglasses on his face. Going outside would be his next challenge. Once his first step was set out to the early morning cool breeze, fresh off the ocean, he stopped. Startled, the view in front of him gave him a sense of relief. There was no one waiting for him. There was no cameras flashing in his face, or yells from random strangers about his recent break up. It was peaceful and relaxing, both of which was exactly what he needed.
Walking to the beach he stopped at the top, watching the early risers catch the first waves of the day. Some were huddled far off into the ocean, straddling their boards and splashing the cold water at one another, others were still making their way out to the ocean, paddling calmly back out to the waves. It was all so serene and sedated; he couldn't help but sit down and just watch.
"Welcome to Maui." From behind him, a lei was put around his neck, and the woman sat next to him, planting a kiss on each of his cheeks. "What are you getting away from?"
He looked over at her, his eyebrows scrunched in confusion. Her shoulder length brown hair, tanned skin, and vibrant green eyes began to stare a hole into him. "What's in your bag?"
"My mother," he finally spoke. "My mother's ashes… she always wanted to come here, but she never had the chance." He ran his fingers through his hair, took his shoes off, and opened up his bag, showing the stranger a purple, ceramic urn. "I'm scattering her ashes and leaving tomorrow."
She stood up from her spot on the sand and dusted off the brown dirt from the pants of her wet suit. She was laughing. Her contagious laugh confused the young man, but he watched her walk away from him, going towards a flower bush and picked out three flowers, all purple. "Follow me, stranger," she invited him, giving him a small motion with her hand. "I'll show you where to go."
He clenched the urn closely to his chest while he put his backpack back on and carried his shoes in his free hand. Her body was sculpted so perfectly, her curves moved in exotic ways when she walked he almost felt hypnotized. Almost. He had already opened up more to her about his mother than he had to any past girlfriends, and he had only spoke three sentences to her.
"What time is it?" He called to her, several steps behind the Hawaiian native.
"Time?" She stopped in her tracks and turned to him, hands on her hips. "Good luck finding a clock around here. No one wears a watch. We eat when we're hungry, and we sleep when we're tired." She had stopped long enough for him to catch up with her, "are you on some sort of schedule?"
"I told you, I'm leaving tomorrow." He was starting to grow frustrated with her laid back attitude, but her eyes kept him intrigued. She knew something about him, more than just his mother. Then he cringed. What if she had seen him before and is just keeping it to herself? Was she just another fangirl? "Why do you find that so funny?" He asked her when he noticed her laughing again.
She stopped again at the bottom of what looked like to be a hiking trail. "If you want to truly believe that you're leaving tomorrow, then go ahead. But the moment you put your big toe in that ocean," she placed her body against his, feeling the heat already radiating from him, "you won't leave." Her bare feet wanted to leave to continue up the hiking trail, but something about him made her stay. "Are you ever going to tell me your name?"
His hands moved up her arms and he pressed his forehead against hers. The attraction was too obvious to ignore. "I'm Jeff. Are you ever going to tell me yours?"
Hot breath went across her lips as she restrained herself to take their temptation any further. "Maybe," she responded, finally moving away from the comfortable stranger and began the trail. "I hope you brought your camera, because the view from up here is breath taking." Up the trail her body went with him following close behind her, trying not to fall too far back. It was a long trail, but she never stopped climbing up the dirt hill, zigzagging through trees in her bare feet, climbing over top of fallen tree trunks and knowing the area so well she could have done it blind folded.
"You're coming up, right?" she asked him, stopping to lean against a trunk of a tree. He snapped out of his vision and began to move his feet towards the path she led, making sure he went the same way she did. While the hill they were climbing looked strenuous, it wasn't long before they were both at the top, standing above what looked like the entire isle. "Told you to bring your camera," she said jokingly, giving him a half nudge in the ribs.
He didn't say anything. The sun was still rising far off in the horizon, and from below the surfers were waving to them, and he saw her wave back. He wasn't sure if it was because she knew them, or out of pure hospitality, but they were standing over one of the most beautiful sites he had ever seen. The ocean so blue, the sky so pink, a small piece of him went calm for a total of three seconds before he remembered the purple urn he had carried up with him. The part of him that was calm then turned guilty, knowing this was the view his mother always wanted to see, but she never so much left the state, let alone the country. And now here he was, with no one of importance, with his mother's ashes and a feeling of guilt. Now all he wanted to do was cry.
"I shouldn't be here," he whispered. "I shouldn't be doing this alone."
"Then why did you come here?" She turned her attention to him and took in how tightly he was holding the purple urn, holding it right against his chest. "How about we sit down? Your legs look like they're about to give out. " She continued to watch him as she took a spot on the ground, her legs dangling over the dangerously high edge. "Sit."
When he finally did what he was told, she took the urn away from him as it sat between his legs. "How long has she been in here?" she asked, taking the lid off and peering inside of it.
"Twenty-two years," he answered quietly, taking to back. "I was only eleven… didn't quite understand it at the time. It's just now with everything in my life that has been happening… I just really need her." With the sun now completely up, he began to feel the hot rays on his bare legs. "Talking to this thing gets annoying after awhile."
Her hand on his knee wasn't what he expected. "Then let her free." With the lid already off, he looked down into the urn, remembering that the pile of ash was once a woman that would wait for him and his brother on the front porch as they came home from school. Her smile reflected in his mind when he closed his eyes and he could feel his hands begin to shake. Before they got worse, he tipped the urn slightly, just enough for a few ashes to fall, than opened his eyes to watch the rest go beneath them. The surfers below moved out of the way as some of the ashes landed in the water, other parts getting picked up in the breeze. When he was sure it was empty, he put the urn back in his bag and let out a sigh of relief.
"There," he said.
"There," she repeated, giving him a smile and standing up and helping him up as well. "Feel better?" she asked. His arms around her waist were all she needed for an answer as she molded herself into him. They fitted so well together, she thought as her arms went around his neck.
"What now?" he asked the local, pulling back just enough to put his forehead against hers.
The smile that came across was her face was surprising, but it was the words out of her mouth that shocked him more; "Now we jump."