Hawaii – Part 5

We drive on towards Volcano and the National Park, where our accommodation is on the outskirts. It is getting dark and the place is hard to find. The Crater Rim Cabin is cute and neatly done out. The hosts, Barry and Jim, are rightly proud of their redwood cabin in the lush tropical garden. Barry greets us like royalty, shows us around inside and is impressed with the manoeuvrability and compactness of my chair. He wants to hear how his place compares with the Cliffhouse and is eager to tell us he offers chocolates too. That we never met the hosts he believes is an oversight- for greeting the guests is why he runs his accommodation in the first place. We note the tea towels under the appliances and between the saucepan and their lids. It is here that Jasper discovers Frosties.

That night after dinner at the Thai restaurant we drive out to the viewing platform to see the distant glow of the volcano. It is orange like fanta, fizzing and smoking in the distance.

The next day we explore the National Park and Jasper completes a work sheet that will result in him becoming a Junior Ranger and getting a badge. The promise of the badge makes him realise he has lost or misplaced his badge from Pearl Harbour. He becomes sulky in the way he does when he loses something he has coveted – and somehow it becomes all about the lost thing. As the mother always asked to carry and look after the stuff it irks me that he has not looked after it in the first place. I can see it in my mind on the back seat of the last rental car. The car that no one can remember checking for lost things. Who knows where the thing is? We will all be forced to look for it to rid Jasper of that face. Let it be a lesson to you to look after your own things. Look after your damn things.

In the afternoon the boys do a hike across an extinct volcano crater, stepping lightly across honeycomb rock. I watch video footage of Jim in the 1980’s at the height of his volcanologist career as he leaps about filming rivers of lava – getting the shot. I watch whole landscapes change as lava engulfs them, whole townships disappear. Some residents slice their house in two and take it away, other evacuate and let it be consumed. From the cabin I can see Barry working alone in the garden. He works with a shovel diligently, swiping away mosquitoes as it gets darker. I can’t help but imagine he is digging a grave in which to dispose of the Jim we have not yet seen. Then we meet Jim and learn Barry is slowly ridding the garden of a noxious plant.

Returning the hire care we check on the possibility of locating the missing Junior Ranger badge. Not likely. On the flight back to Honolulu the woman next to me tells me her husband is heavy. She has his ashes in her carry on luggage and is taking him back to Wisconsin. She has fibromyalgia and is too weak to do her seat belt up – perhaps I can assist her she asks.

The last two days in Waikiki we must spend without Graham as he meets Jon to organise the final preparations for the sailing trip to Samoa. We are staying in the Sheraton with its generic resort feel. The days are stretched to breaking point with boredom. Even Jasper is over the whole affair. Over the pool with its slide and landscaped fake caves and rock pools. Over the room with its myriad of channels. Over the marbled shining shops with trash. Over the super air-conditioned malls and hotel rooms. Over the thin as sticks Japanese and fat as butter Americans.

We buy a ukulele for Jasper and I to share and go to lessons in a shop in the foyer. We watch King of the Hill and Tron from the double bed in the hotel room. If I smoked cigarettes I couldn’t do it in the hotel but it is the kind of thing I feel like doing while looking out from the balcony at other bored persons on other resort balconies.

Jasper and I get a taxi to the yacht to see the boys off. Already the men have a smelliness about them. Already without shirts, leaping skilfully on and off the yacht. The boat looks sea worthy, ready with lots of diesel tied to the deck. Jasper gets a tour of below deck but within minutes claims to feel seasick. Farewell photos are taken. Jasper has a final swim with Graham before we say good bye. In the last embrace his body is cool from the ocean, wet and smooth. I miss him already.

Jasper and I have shave ice and walk slowly back towards our hotel. On the way we visit the huge shopping mall that is a reason why some people like Waikiki. We find a Barnes and Noble and Jasper is excited beyond belief. He has inherited my love of  bookshops. A man sits in the coffee shop inside the bookstore with his headphones in, a large bucket of coffee in front of him, and a pile of beads and jewellery making equipment with which to work.

I am sick on the final day and Jasper must amuse himself most of the day in the hotel room. He manages to do this with a cardboard tube, paper cups and a few toys -pretending to annihilate an imagined enemy with explosions and all manner of arsenals. We make numerous trips to the laundry on the 18th floor, bless the Sheraton for its infrastructure and its fully functioning disabled room and take more immodium than is good for you. I locate the previously disappeared and now magically returned Pearl Harbour Junior Ranger badge and receive suitable accolades.



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