The happiest I’ve ever been
was on a beach in Hawaii
wearing a wet swimsuit,
sipping a Chelada
under the bright sun.
I watched people clamber
to the top
of a nearby short cliff.
They would carefully watch waves
and wait for one that was
large enough to hold them,
cushioning their fall with saltwater.
I had a camera with me and filmed
one of my friends climbing the cliff,
contemplating, and jumping
into the waves below.
She disappears from the frame
for at least five seconds
after she breaks the skin of the water.
And you hold your breath to
see if she’ll come back up.
And she does, in a black bikini,
dark hair wrapped around her shoulders,
white teeth catching the sun.
She pumps her fists in the air,
turns away from the camera,
and jumps into the next wave
that crashes down.
I went into the ocean
and felt waves for the first time,
felt how the world envelops us
sometimes a little beyond our control
then gently pushes us back onto
As the sun set, we grilled vegetables
and I had my first taste of bok choy.
My friends asked me to take out my
ukulele and I strummed by the campfire,
singing a song I wrote about being
impossible and putting cherry blossoms
in my car.
A handful of theatre majors held in Hawaii’s big sandy palm.
The next day, I decided I would become blonde
upon my return go gray Seattle, so I could
take a little bit of Hawaii with me
wherever I went.