I come to a gravel spewing halt in his driveway. The house is dark. I wonder if he’s come home yet. I check my watch. It’s only 11:00 p.m. Still prime party time for a punk like him. After he left the bar, who knows. Another bar? Out dancing?
I should be in bed. But if he were here, I wouldn’t mind inviting him outside to see if an old guy like me could bust his head open.
I kill the lights and the engine. It’s so quiet. No one could be home. The moon over Kāhala lights up the place like a spotlight turned on some boneheaded inmate trying to escape prison. I can see everything.
I hate this part of town and everything it stands for. I find it hard to believe this fucker is going to generate the level of income it takes to afford a home here once his folks die and the money stream dries up.
Should I sit here and wait for him?
I decide to go over to Kāhala Beach Park. His dad and I, all of our Lab School gang, did a lot of drinking and smoking on the beach here, back in the day. It can be a wild place when you’re young and stupid.
Because of the full moon, it doesn’t surprise me that the parking lot is full. It’s beautiful out here. I grab my handy sand chair.
It’s all tree and shrub shadows and the moon. Man, the dreams we used to talk about out here, and then look at the shapes the our lives took, mostly so different from what we’d thought. I wanted to be a famous sculptor. Well . . .
Lots of activity on the beach tonight. Couples and groups, but no one’s particularly loud. You respect their space, they respect yours. I like that. That keeps people from getting into fights. It’s an unwritten rule with no exception, at least at this beach in the middle of our snooty Gold Coast.
Since I retired, the weirdest things will motivate me sometimes. I don’t think that it’s because I have too much free time for my head to wander. Somehow, now, where I set my own agenda, I’m free to do anything. I like that flexibility, but my head is almost always all over the place. It’s like I have ADHD.
It’s a little bit breezy. I shiver some. There are a couple of hearty souls out on the reef night-fishing. No cold too cold for the passionate fishers.
All I can think about is how much I want to get my hands on that dick. My Korean-ness is at boil. He needs someone to punch him a few times, him and his Kāhala attitude. Nothing like his father. We were such good friends back in high school. A great guy. His mom so nice too. How do you end up with a son with manners like that? Why do you reward behavior like that by buying him a house out here, the playground of the rich and famous.
It’s too cold. I’d rather sit in my car outside his house. I pick up my chair and walk back down the beach. There’s a line of guys sitting in the sand. Seven of them. I can hear a little gentle laughter.
As I walk by, one of them says, “Hey, Mister Lee. We thought that was you.”
I turn to look at them. Even though it’s been 30 years, I recognize them. They’re all from the one of the classes I taught back in the day at the Lab School, the place where I went to teach English, the return to my alma mater. My classmate’s son would be about the same age as them.
“Hey, guys, you folks look good. You look about the same age you all were when I taught you.”
We talk Lab School reminiscence stuff, have a few laughs. I ask each one what he’s doing for a living. It’s the gamut. From lawyer to hotel concierge to car mechanic to banker.
“So we hear you retired.”
“Yeah, guys, it came fast, and I love it. You all may think it’s a long way off, but it’ll come before you know it.”
They all laugh. One of them’s a very important figure in my life because I ran into him drinking at the Mānoa Garden bar over at the University of Hawaiʻi one night when he was an undergrad. I went home and wrote the story of that meeting. It became the centerpiece story of my Ph.D. dissertation, provided the glue that held all my stories together. I’ve never mentioned that to him. Anyway he says, “And we’ve all been traveling the world erasing all the Fuck Yous we find. It’s an uphill battle, Mister Lee.”
We all agree, laugh, I say goodbye, and continue back. I sit down in my car and wonder about my friend’s son. Why would he be so rude to me? I don’t get it, but I decide to shrug it off. Go home. Go to bed. Sleep off the beer.
Yeah, running into my former students, I remember everything. Erase all the Fuck Yous. Right. Yes. This is indeed what English majors would call a fortuitous moment.
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