The Word: CANE
Janie sang under her breath as she colored in the pages of her new coloring book, “C & H, pure cane sugar, from Hawaii, growin’ in the sun…” It made her feel good, thinking of Daddy in Hawaii, building a new hotel. Hawaii. Something so exciting, even about the name. Beaches and tiki torches and hula. He gave some perfume to Mommy from there, it smelled like a sweet jungle plus ocean, and somehow mixed in her mind with Gidget Goes Hawaiian, her new favorite movie.
“Will we ever get to go?” she asked Mommy. Mommy was in the kitchen with Mrs. Trubett. She would be afraid to go out on the ocean on a surfboard like Gidget, who was a different Gidget than in the one in California, a prettier, more grown up one. Though Moondoggie was the same. She drew in her coloring book. “Are we going to ever go to Hawaii, Mommy? I mean me, me and Joey.” Her little brother. Daddy sent them matching Hawaiian shirts, turquoise blue with white flowers, and hers closed with Chinese knots instead of buttons.
“Janie, your mother’s busy,” said Mrs. Trubett, jingling her charm bracelet. She had twenty six charms, she’d let Janie count them once.
C & H, pure cane sugar, from Hawaii, growin’ in the sun… blessed by sun, kissed by rain… it’s the only pure cane sugar from Hawaii… The lady’s beautiful hands, the sun, the rain. Mommy went to Hawaii to see Daddy and Janie and Joey went to stay with Grandma for a week. Grandma had cats. Then she came back. But these days she was always talking to Mrs. Trubett and she even smoked cigarettes sometimes, though she never smoked cigarettes before.
She thought of those tiki faces, they were scary, that was the scary part of Hawaii, the part that made it not like California, because it was wilder than that, like volcanoes, melted actual rock… it made the beautiful part–the oceans and the jungles and the leis even more beautiful, because they were not like home, not like going to Santa Monica and buying sno-cones. It was scarily beautiful, that’s what it was. And Daddy was there, still, it had been a long time.
She had a picture of him and Mommy there, Daddy was all tan and wearing a lei of white flowers–they gave you these flower necklaces called leis when you got off the plane, Mommy said. Pretty Hawaiian girls put it on for you and kissed you and said Aloha, which means welcome in Hawaiian. Mommy wore a blue bathing suit and her lei and her hair was all curled, her hand up to shade her eyes. Janie loved that picture, loved seeing her parents together, the most beautiful woman and the handsomest man on Waikiki Beach.
Part of a semi-weekly series of short short stories based on a writing exercise, The Word. “Inspired by a simple word, chosen at random, write a two-page double-spaced story, using the Word at least once.”
Next week’s word: TEAR