THE WORRY DOLLS
There is a legend amongst the highland Indian villages of Guatemala.
If you have a problem, then share it with a Worry Doll.
Before going to bed, tell one worry to each doll, then place them beneath your pillow.
While you sleep the dolls will take your worries away.
Chapter 7 – “They Call Me Kahuna”
After hours of hot and spicy dancing to the flamenco fusion music, the clan of dancers at El Frijol Saltarin (The Jumping Bean) erupted from the dance patio and spewed across the moonlit beach in all directions, laughing, shrieking, singing.
Kristen and Kahuna had stumbled out steaming wet. Their hands found each other’s and the two of them then glided together over the warm sand, both of them panting together, both knowing what the other felt.
Kristen spoke first, still catching her breath, and said, “You know, you promised to tell me how Detective Brent Jackford got to be a “Kahuna”.
Kahuna released her hand and leapt in a circle around Kristen and made comical “magic” gestures at her. Then, like a melodramatic opera singer he opened his mouth to speak.
“Kahuna is not a nickname. It is what I am.”
Kristen made a wry face in anticipation of Kahuna’s impending joke.
But Kahuna wasn’t joking as he continued, “It happened in the summer I turned twelve. We were living in Redondo Beach, California. Our next door neighbors were Hawaiian. Duke and Kalala Hoapili. Mr. and Mrs. Hoapili were living there when my parents had moved in just after getting married and three years before I was born.
Duke was his real given name. He was kind of a ‘junior’. As the eldest son he had inherited the name from his father, Duke Hewahewa Hoapili, a policeman, who had been christened ‘Duke’ by his own father, a devout Duke Ellington fan.
Anyway, Duke was a big man. Not so much in height as in girth. He owned a popular surf shop there in Redondo Beach, where he designed and manufactured custom surf boards. He liked to tell his clients – they were never called customers – about how in his youth he had ridden ‘the biggest waves of Hawaii.’ He always ended his rendition with the disclaimer ‘Of course that was when I only weighed 250 pounds; there’s not a board or a wave big enough to support me now.’ Everyone would laugh, Duke usually the loudest.
Duke and Kalala had no children so they doted upon and pampered the obnoxious neighbor kid…”
Kristen deduced, “You,” as Kahuna confessed, “Me.”
They both laughed.
Kahuna continued, “I was invited on trips, showered with presents on birthdays and holidays. Growing up I had known them proudly as ‘Aunt Kalala’ and ‘Uncle Duke’. Imagine my disappointment when I could finally understand they were not really blood relatives, just very good friends and neighbors.
But one day, during a routine check-up Duke’s blood chemistry alarmed the doctors. After four months the doctors finally found out what was wrong with him. It was cancer. From the way everyone started acting, it was more than I wanted to know. I refused to accept what everyone else did: Duke’s days were numbered. He went from 250 pounds to 130 during that awful time.”
Kahuna gazed up at the stars, into the past, “I started to visit him every day. He had begun to reveal things to me, a punk kid. I was astonished. He began to teach me the ways of Hawaiian kahuna. Kahuna can mean ‘priest’ or ‘sorcerer’ or ‘magician’ or ‘expert’.
Duke even revealed to me the mysteries of the Night Rainbow, the rainbow around the moon.”
Kristen said, “You’re making me shiver.”
Kahuna glanced at her and Kristen saw no joking in his expressions.
Kahuna continued, “Duke had accepted his fate and whenever his condition would sink another notch lower he revealed to me another whole level of traditional kahuna. I could tell that Duke knew there wouldn’t be enough time. There are hundreds of kahuna. Duke explained maybe forty of them to me. There are ten ‘ranks’ of ‘sorcery kahuna’ alone.”
Kahuna stopped talking and took a deep breath as he continued to look above.
Under the blacken night sky, never so pure as in the wake of fallen moons, Kristen was witnessing the frosted fields of stars in Kahuna’s eyes.
Kahuna’s suddenly glistening eyes bespoke lips that quivered, “I matured into a young man during that chapter of suffering and pain. But while I had grown, Duke had withered. Neither of us spoke about the pain we each felt inside. Duke had pills when the pain became unbearable. I could only swallow the lump in my throat as things turned for the worse.
One day Duke, who was now at his home, had asked for me to drop by earlier than usual, saying he had something he wanted to share with me. Duke’s wife Kalala, my ‘Aunt Kalala’, had propped her husband up with pillows so that Duke could sit upright. The ‘something’ that Duke wanted to share with me was in a small wooden box. Kalala had tied a bright sea-green ribbon around the box, letting it be known this was a gift, something special.
Duke, with a weak voice, could only whisper, ‘What’s in this box means a new start for both of us!’
I was about to say something, when Duke hushed me, finger to his lips.
Duke wheezed, ‘I am not certain where my new start will take me yet I am very certain that your new start will lead into an exciting life.’
Duke had then untied the ribbon taking a wooden talisman from the box. It was an elegant carving of the Night Rainbow, the moon with a rainbow ring around it, really ingeniously carved. Real art. It looked really old, like a weathered museum piece. He held it up, looking it over as a jeweler might examine a diamond of great value. With both hands open he offered it to me.
Duke had taught me the ceremony. It was a way of saying ‘Take this talisman, for it will soon be the home of my spirit, and I want you to hold me until I return.’ We looked each other directly in the eye for the last time. Duke closed his eyes as if dismissing me and so I left as my ‘Aunt Kalala’ tearfully leaned over the bed and embraced my ‘Uncle Duke’.
That is my last memory of him alive.”
Kristen’s eyes were glistening.
Kahuna suddenly said, “I guess I’m a kahuna of tears, too,” and he smiled wryly, wiping his own eyes.
Kristen and Kahuna sat down, embraced each other and fell slowly backward, intertwined. Their open mouths pressed together. His tongue stroked her tongue, both of them gasping. He cradled her head in his hand and kissed her face all over, again and again. As he rained kisses on her neck and breast she kissed the top of his head . They unbuttoned each other, rubbing and kissing each other’s exposed skin. Kristen closed her eyes and laid her head back, breathing fast as Kahuna’s tongue marched over her breasts. He held each nipple between his lips and sucked and licked until her nipples rose hard in defiance. His hand repeatedly stroked her belly from her breasts down to that oasis of his desire. Kahuna then carried his kisses down her belly and beyond her sweet oasis. Kristen gasped as he plunged his hot tongue into her.
Kristen grabbed the hair on Kahuna’s head and pulled him up on top of herself. They struggled together for a long time, moaning with the weight of their love that remained yet unexpressed fully.
And then they exploded together into the fields of stars.
For a long time there was only the sound of little waves, lapping the firm, damp sand on the beach.
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