O oe no ka‘u ipo aloha (Dearest one, yes, thou art mine own)
A loko e hana nei. (From the true love shall ne’er depart)
– “Aloha ‘Oe” by Queen Liliuokalani, 1878
It might’ve been love at first sight but I took my time to commit. I was afraid of settling down with you, of getting too comfortable, of not fulfilling some sense of meaning for myself. I was afraid you’d make me barefoot and pregnant with a mortgage I could barely afford, and that I’d have to learn how to make li hing mui pancakes and chicken mochi lau lau.
I am constantly in awe of your beauty. Physically, you’re perfect: Your taut, sun-kissed skin, your chiseled features, the aesthetically amazing ambiguity of your ancestry, your strong arms from paddling and lifting and climbing, your strong legs from kicking and running and dancing. I love the light in your eyes, and how they sometimes get red and puffy from surfing or smoking weed. And you do like your weed.
I love your sense of humor. You’re goofy. I love how you play the ‘uke, singing songs about fishing and surfing and your children. I even love your fixation with reggae. I love how you love women, how you make me feel beautiful, like your queen. I love how accepting you are of me, even though you don’t quite understand where I’m coming from most of the time.
I didn’t want to become attached but I couldn’t resist. It was that falsetto, I think. Most would be attracted to your strong, symmetrical features. I was more attracted to the imperfections of your beauty, the cracks beneath the surface, the scars, the bruises, the sadness and wisdom in your eyes.
Once I did decide to stay, you welcomed me with open arms. You gave me the freedom I craved, and more love than I knew what to do with. But your love proved duplicitous. With so much transience in your life, you have deep-seated abandonment issues, and defensively try to hold onto things—and people—that you shouldn’t.
It took a while for me to realize that the hurt you feel might be too deep for me to heal. The abyss you sometimes spiral towards is like a tornado, gaining momentum and destroying the good things you still have left in your life. I still have faith you can pull out of it, but I feel like I could easily get stuck in your mire if I stay a moment longer.
I believe you have some things to sort through on your own. You know, there’s the drinking—although it seems to just be “a social thing,” it is really affecting other areas of your life now. Same with the drugs. Then there’s that dreadful Peter Pan syndrome, and your odd mix of exaggerated ego and a passive-aggressive inferiority complex. There’s your lack of organizational skills and time management, your laziness. Yeah, you’re kind of a slob—I mean, you just leave shit everywhere!
Plus, and maybe most importantly, there’s your inability to let go of the past in order to focus on making a better future for yourself—a greater independence, financial stability and more responsible planning.
Let’s face it, baby, you’re a little immature, but you’re not young anymore. You should know better, and I believe you do, but you seem unwilling to let bygones be bygones. I know you can move past this. I believe in your strength, your resilience. I admire your courage, the depth of your love for family, your loyalty, your appreciation of culture and the arts, music especially, and your reverence for the ocean.
Every day I see you, I cry—knowing that soon we will part. No more daily smiles and your warm embrace.
This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. But I have to leave you now. And I know you’ll let me go, with your blessings, but maybe I’m the one who’s afraid to be set free. You’ve loved me enough that I feel like I can. But I’m scared to be without the comfort of your love. Someday I hope to come back, stronger, wiser and better equipped to love you and maybe, just maybe, the two of us can grow old together.
We still have right now though—I won’t be leaving for another month. Let’s try to make the most of our time together, before I branch off to do whatever it is I’m meant to do.
I miss you already, Maui. You are my heart. And in it, you will never die.
Samantha Campos is a certified member of the Ginsu Pocket Knife Club. MTW