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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

#WEP - Hawaii


I accepted the challenge. Here's my short story.

Hawaii
by
Diane Burton
I walked down the jetway with a jaunty step. I’d never been to Hawaii. I’d never even flown by myself. And here I was. Honolulu, Hawaii. The excitement of this trip had me nearly dancing out of my skin. I was probably grinning like a fool.
A smiling Polynesian girl held out a lei and said, “Aloha, wahini nani.”
“Ooh. What does that mean?”
“Welcome, beautiful girl.” She slipped the lei over my head.
“Thank you. Wait. I mean, mahalo.” I grinned, pleased that I knew that phrase. I held the flowers of the lei close to my nose. “Mmm. What a lovely smell.”
“Plumeria,” she said then moved on to the next passenger.
Standing on tiptoe, I scanned the area for Zoe, certain my friend would be close by. I couldn’t see her. Cries of “welcome” and “aloha” surrounded me. But they weren’t for me. When someone’s carry-on bag bumped into me, followed by a quick “sorry” in a male voice, I realized I’d been blocking traffic. Stepping to the side and dragging my own carry-on with me, I continued to look for my friend. Zoe had flown out four weeks ahead of me, staying with friends until I could get away from my tutoring job. We both taught at the same elementary school. Every year as soon as school was out, she headed to Hawaii and spent all summer there. I could only take off two weeks. Still, two weeks on Hawaii was better than staying home in boring, old, Michigan.
She’d said she would meet me at the gate. I wished she’d hurry up. After that long trip, I needed a restroom. About to say the heck with it and beat it into the nearest lavatory, I saw a man running toward me carrying a mangled sign, with “Mannington” in black Magic Marker.
While that was my last name, I hesitated. The man, tall, well-tanned and fit, wore neon yellow board shorts, flip-flops, and a tight tank top. His blond hair, bleached from the sun and longer than most men I knew wore theirs, hung over his forehead. He looked like a surfer dude.
Coming to an abrupt halt in front of me, he shoved his hair back then grinned. “Sally Mannington? You’re Sally, right?” He had a pleasant voice with a cadence I recognized from TV shows, like Hawaii 5-0.
The waiting area had emptied, except for me and the flight attendants exiting the plane. I still hesitated. Who was this guy? How did he know me? And where was Zoe?
“Hang on.” He dropped the white cardboard sign on a nearby seat and dug into his shorts pocket. He pulled out a crumpled snapshot and showed it to me—Zoe had her arm around my shoulders. “You are Sally Mannington, right? Zoe Turner’s friend. Hi. I’m Jack.” He held out his hand.
“Jack?” Reluctantly, I shook hands with him. He did mention my friend’s name. Still, I looked at him askance.
“Oh, boy. Didn’t you didn’t get Zoe’s text yet?” He shoved his hair back again. “Better read it. She explains. Sorry I’m late. Let’s go get your luggage.” He grabbed the handle of my carry-on bag. Before I knew it, he was striding down the corridor, his flip-flops slapping the floor.
“Hey, wait.” I raced after him while trying to dig my cell phone out of my pocket. By the time we reached baggage claim, I’d read and reread Zoe’s text. Maybe if I read it again the message would change.
Hey, kiddo. Rico wanted to go to Tahiti, so I’m off to Tahiti. Jack will take care of you. Have fun.
My friend deserted me. We’d planned this trip for months. All winter—while slogging through snow and slush—she’d regaled me with tales of the islands. How beautiful they were, how much there was to do, how much fun we’d have. Huh. Now, I was all alone, regretting I’d ever succumbed to her enticing view of our adventure. What should I do? I’d never been on vacation by myself before. Why, oh, why had I listened to her?
“Hey, sweetheart. Tell me what your luggage looks like.” Jack, whoever he was, glanced at my cell still in my hands. “You got her text. Great.”
I walked over to a row of seats and sank into the closest. With a puzzled expression, Jack followed me. “Problem?”
“I don’t know. Who are you?” I looked up into warm brown eyes, with laugh wrinkles fanning out from squinting at the sun, I assumed.
“I told you. Jack. Jack Turner. I’m Zoe’s brother, here to give you the grand tour of Oahu and anywhere else you’d like to go.”
Zoe never said she had a brother or that he lived in Hawaii. All she ever talked about was her boyfriend Rico. The same Rico who took her to Tahiti and left me here alone. Ditched by my friend. Alone in paradise. Scared out of my mind. With no idea what to do.
Okay, I had a choice. Go to a ticket counter, get back on a plane, and return to Detroit. Or stay and let some man I’d never even heard of show me the islands.
If I turned around and went home, I’d always regret not staying. I didn’t know this man. He seemed friendly enough. Should I ask to see his I.D.? What should I do?
Make a decision, I told my scared self.
I stood on shaky legs and held out my hand. “Hi, Jack. I’m Sally. My bag is that blue one with bright green tape on the sides.”


To read more entries, visit Write...Edit...Publish.

The next challenge is October.


45 comments:

  1. Diane, so pleased you posted this for the August WEP/IWSG challenge. I can understand Zoe's reticence which you've shown so well. Rather threw her tidy little holiday plans into a spin. Imagine how sorry she would have been to return home and miss the adventure with Jack. Or maybe it didn't turn out so well...we could hear about that in October, LOL. I was half expecting a volcano story...

    Thanks so much for taking the plunge with us and I hope you enjoy the experience.

    Denise

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    1. Thanks, Denise. It was fun. This feels like it could be expanded into a novella. Thanks for organizing this challenge.

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  2. Excellent! What a hard decision for her to make. Her best girlfriend left her up in the air. That part brought out how unstable her friend was in leaving her in the lurch like that. However, I applaud her. She's getting a chance to overcome her fears and learn someone new.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

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    1. Thanks, Pat. You got exactly how I thought she would feel.

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  3. She had a change of heart
    for the island to see
    But with this Jack
    was it meant to be
    I see a story that
    someday might entwine
    and a love that could
    last over their life time

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    1. I love your response. You never know where this encounter will go.

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  4. What a tricky decision, which you expressed well. I do hope her courage leads to a wonderful adventure. And would have some words with Zoe. Some pointed words.

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    1. You are so right. She needs to have a chat with Zoe. But then maybe this is a chance that will change her life in a good way.

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  5. Oh-oh. I could understand why she hesitated. This is scary. I hope Jack doesn't end up a serial killer, but in any case, what her friend did to Sally was inexcusable. To set Sally up like that - that Zoe woman is no friend at all. A great story.

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    1. I'm such an optimist that I never considered that Jack might have evil intentions. This will be quite an adventure for Sally. Zoe is a scatterbrain that Sally didn't realize. Now she knows.

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  6. Taking a chance sure can be risky, but hopefully it was a wise one and he doesn't end up being a crazy axe murderer haha crummy of the friend to bail.

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  7. Great read, and yes, I too see it as the beginning of a wonderful love. Usually I'd see the serial killer, but this time I'm hoping for love. :) Loved it!

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  8. It would be a big jolt to have your friend run off and leave you in the lurch but I am glad she decided to make a go of it. It is scary to travel alone when you are not used to it and I can see this would be an experience that would help Sally to grow as a person. It sounds like fun to have a handsome surfer dude show you around Hawaii though. Good story and I could see this developing into a great romance tale.

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    1. Thanks, Deborah. I see Sally growing, too, because of this experience.

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  9. Glad she didn't wimp out but I understand her reticence. I would be mad at my friend too, how callous. But she may find a hidden gem in getting to know Jack. She can always leave, as long as he isn't a scammer. An inventive story, I liked it.

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  10. Hi Diane - well I'm glad perhaps she'll feel safer with her friend's brother - but that was a change up ... and a decision probably wisely taken. Looking forward to more ... lots to this tale ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks, Hilary. Safer, yes. Also more comfortable traveling.

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  11. A nicely written tale with suspicions and anxiety intertwined in the mix. A decision to make, let's hope it all works out well.

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  12. Alone in paradise isn't such a bad prospect! Pleased that she took the plunge. But her hesitation is quite understandable. I hope she has a wonderful time and Jack turns out a good tour guide or maybe something more. Zoe doesn't seem much of a friend though.

    Great take on the prompt.

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    1. Thanks, Nilanjana. Jack might be more...if he doesn't emulate his sister.

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  13. Aww. Reading others' comments, it's true, I can see that she ought to be wary -- what if he *does* have horrible evil intentions? But it seems like such a lovely chance to have a romantic vacation, or at least a fun one with a great guy! And she could always Skype Zoe, maybe, to confirm everything. I hope she has a great time!
    Funny, on a technical note, I don't think anyone's allowed into baggage claim from the "other side" -- or is the airport in Hawaii small enough for it to be all in an open space?

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    1. You might be right, Deniz, about the airport thing. I'm sure anyone who goes to the gate would have to go through security. If I do anything more with this, I'll check. Thanks for your comments.

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  14. I'm so glad she decided to be adventurous!

    As for the baggage claim question--gates are off limits, but baggage isn't. Even at the small airports in Hawaii you can't go to the gate except with a ticket. But the one's I've been to--on Maui and the big Island--are so small that you pop out into the baggage claim in about 10 steps, so the difference is small!

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    1. Thanks so much for the info on airports. I wondered about that, esp. after Deniz's comment. So glad you guys have great comments.

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  15. I would be so upset if one of my friends did that to me! At the same time, I'd probably still trust that she was leaving me in good hands. This story makes me wonder about what adventures lie ahead for Sally and Jack.

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  16. I'm screaming! "Don't go back to Detroit!" What an adventure lies ahead on Oahu. A change I'd suggest is the "phrase" for mahalo. It should be "word." Picky, but good to clean up. Also when does this story take place? The allusion to Hawaii 5-O could put it back into the 60's or 80's or it could refer to the newer iteration. So glad you jumped into this WEP. I enjoyed the tantalizing story and would love read what happens.

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    1. Thanks so much for your comments, Lee. Glad you pointed out word instead of phrase. It's present day, the new version of Hawaii 5-0 (although I did love the original, back in the day).

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  17. Hey this good. It flows right along and took me to end where I was satified. I would read more of this.

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  18. Love this! Now I'm intrigued and want to read more.

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  19. That is quite the decision to be faced with! I'd be furious at my friend for ditching me, and I understand the reluctance of going off with a man you don't know in a place you're visiting for the first time. I think she may have an adventure ahead of her though, and I hope she has a great time!

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  20. I've refreshed the page twice, but no dice on my comment. I bet I'll post this one and both will appear together. ;) That's okay, I didn't want to not leave a comment! The short version is that she made the right decision, and if I were her, there would be words for my friend next time I saw her.

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  21. Zoe is in for a tongue-lashing from her friend Sally... or maybe not! It depends on how well Sally hits it up with the brother who Zoe has never mentioned.
    This could turn out to be quite a pleasant adventure, maybe even a romance on the horizon?
    Definitely a romance.
    Am I right?

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  22. That was fun. A little exciting, mysterious, and scary. Perhaps there is romance on the horizon. Oh, and that friend needs to be pranked. Someone should send her a text saying Sally was abducted at the airport... Wait, was that too harsh?

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  23. What a lovely story! I waited with bated breath to see what Sally would decide to do - adventure in Hawai with a strange and attractive man or return home. Her friend is very annoying I must say. Are you going to write what happens next? Because I’d love to know.

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  24. Two changes of heart it seems, and this kept me wondering what was going to happen. I hope things work out well with Jack Hawaii 5-0 as Sally deserves far more than Zoe. I want to know what happens next as you have really weaved a spell with your well-crafted words. Hopefully, Zoe's regular trips to Hawaii make Jack a real sibling - the better one.

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  25. Do you know how often I see "askance" outside of Scrabble? I admire you so much right now.

    I wonder if this is going to be a love story where these two are about to fall for each other? Or if it'll be a murder mystery and the friend is dead and this guy is here to pick up his next victim?

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  26. Abandoned by a friend in Hawaii? There are worse places to be left alone... Hopefully this is to be continued?

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  27. Hi Diane - congratulations on winning the 'commenters' award for the recent WEP ... it's good that you and others of us make sure we comment on each other's stories ... cheers Hilary

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  28. Congratulations,Diane for winning the Comments Champion accolade. I know how diligent you have been on my posts for a long time.

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