Today someone at work asked if I was familiar with Hawaii. Kind of a random question, but I have been there twice, and ever since this afternoon's brief conversation about Maui, I haven't been able to get the beach out of my head.
Six years ago we took a family vacation to the island, and I took this photo with a disposable camera while I drank nothing but cherry cokes on the beach and innocently learned how to tie the stems into knots with my tongue. Maui had the cleanest, most tropical, almost edible scent–one I try to replicate whenever I set foot in a Tommy Bahama. The thought of our vacation immediately conjures the punky, angsty, quintessentially 16-year-old-teenager mixtapes I burned through as the sun toasted my back on the beach. If only I had spent more time listening to the crash of the waves instead.
We drove, in a white Lincoln Towncar, 10,000 feet up a volcano and into the sky. My brother slept as we climbed above the clouds. The coupe in front of us was driven by a young woman who decided that Mount Haleakala was the best place to learn how to drive a manual. She stalled and my father jumped out to help and to fail at convincing her that steep, 10,000-foot inclines aren't recommended for first-time stick drivers. I don't remember if we saw her on the way down the volcano. We all agreed that she was just fine.
My hair was blonde then. I had an excessive amount of turquoise jewelry. I wore a pink bikini, and despite blaring terrible music, I developed quite an affinity for jazz. Paul, my brother, was still shorter than me. I liked running on the white sandy shoreline and pretending it was just me and the sea.
Even after entire days spent roasting in the sun, I couldn't get enough of the sapphire water. While my parents slept through the night, I snuck through the patio door and out to the beach, in my pajamas, without my walkman, and enveloped by the irreplaceable fragrance of the island.