Hallelujah, Hale’iwa, Day 3

I knew I couldn’t leave without trying Spam musubi, so upon arriving back on the North Shore to pick up my things from Tom’s, I stopped into the seven eleven (best rated Spam musubi on the island, apparently) to get one. Delicious. After the obligatory hour of Tom monologue, he kindly gave me a lift into town so I might catch the bus and bid farewell to the Clarke family. David tended the shop and he and Tom chatted a while about various material things. He offered us smoothies and insisted on buying the CD I’d brought to give them, my first CD sale! Soon some customers arrived and I picked up the guitar Kevin left in the corner at David’s bidding to while away the wait for our smoothies. Just like the previous day this brought a flood of people when we’d been the only ones inside for the first half hour. Maybe it’s coincidence, but I like to think I’ve been helping their shop in my own small way.

Makani arrived shortly thereafter with Kala, Mantain, and Lotus, and Tom took this opportunity to bid us farewell. Kala delighted in seeing me. Giving me a hug about the knees head at my waist, and then told me she’d forgotten to bring the poem, but that she could probably remember it. I gave her my chord book to write in, and she spent a few minutes writing the first lines.

Thank you, thank you, butterfly.
Fly up high, fly down low.
Thank you, thank you, so so so…

And so I sang her a C G Am F progression of the song inside the store on the high chair beside her while the customers listened. I sang her spare lines twice to get a short song length out of them. She was absolutely inspired and ran outside with my book to write some more – lit by the sun at a small cafe table almost beneath a tree, feet dangling unconsciously, face completely focused, grass and butterflies lending her thoughts direction. A sight I will not soon forget, so beautiful and serene – Makani and I watched her in appreciative wonder for a while, and when she returned her newest lyrics blew me away. She’s truly the wordsmith her mother touts her as.

Thank you, thank you, butterfly.
Fly up high, fly down low.
Thank you, thank you, so so so…
Butterfly, butterfly,
Fly so high, fly so high,
You can touch the sky.

With such a simple vocabulary she took an observational poem of gratitude and added that sense of wonder and freedom, bringing us into that grace. And then, after I sang this to her – eyes completely rapt, so kind and gentle and honest – she wrote more.

Thank you, thank you, butterfly.
Fly up high, fly down low.
Thank you, thank you, so so so…
Butterfly, butterfly,
Fly so high, fly so high,
You can touch the sky.
But please don’t leave,
You’ll make me cry.

Suddenly bittersweet, longing, yearning… And then:

Thank you, thank you, butterfly.
Fly up high, fly down low.
Thank you, thank you, so so so…
Butterfly, butterfly,
Fly so high, fly so high,
You can touch the sky.
But please don’t leave,
You’ll make me cry.
Smile, smile, smile, don’t cry.
It’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok.

Simply incredible.

After I sang this a few times to great applause and positive comments from the shop’s patrons (which I deferred to Kala), I knew I had to leave. I’d called into Hank’s that morning and he’d agreed for me to play that night at 6:30 or 7:00. Makani offered more ice cream and Kala begged me to stay, but I needed to. Kala hugged my legs many times, Mantain jumped up for a piggy back ride, I gave them a few bookmarks – my Stego one, zebra, paddington… – Kala had me promise to return soon, saying “I won’t be here next weekend, I’ll be in Kauai.” after I said I’d try my best. “As long as you’re back within the week.” Rats.

I was right to leave early, though, as it took another exceptionally long journey to get downtown. I needed to pick up my guitar from Alison’s place but the transfer in Wahiawa took over an hour – 62 busses kept passing northbound and returning “Not in service.” I dashed to get my guitar and some merch but all for naught – though I arrived precisely at 7pm (after three and a half ours in transit), the bartender, David (alas, my last chance to see Kulei foiled!), informed me confusedly – “You’re not playing tonight, Don is and he starts at 7:30.” Crestfallen it was given me to know that Don’s a regular Thursday nighter and that Hank must have forgotten. So dejected did I feel that I hung around the bar a while, speaking with the patrons a bit. They took pity on me (all middle aged folks) and Lani and Mark bought CDs from me.

Now here’s where my characteristic naivete/why the hell am I a traveller/busker showed through. Nothing untoward occurred mind you, but much of the time a nagging voice in my head kept voicing all the things that might. You see, Mark was particularly friendly to me – clearly a touch drunk and quite into me – and offered me a ride home. I only saw him consume a drink and a half so I accepted the offer. Hm, maybe I’ll just lay out the facts and you can sort out how my actions may have been unwise. He led me to his car a few blocks away through seedy Chinatown and drove up into the heights by Punchbowl where he needed to walk his dog, Paco, before taking me on. Once there I availed myself of his severely out of tune Piano and his roommate “Aunty” came out and offered us her recently cooked meal. Naturally I hadn’t yet eaten, so I dove in for two portions. While I was playing, Mark walked his dog quickly and had a joint. Now he’s the most gentle, kind man, from San Francisco, but obviously I wasn’t about to let him drive me the half hour back to Waipio. Then again I certainly couldn’t stay the night – so I asked him to drop me off at the close King St. bus transfer point and bid him farewell. As I quit the car he pressed me $20, reminiscent of the man in Denmark – perhaps from my tellings of my usual earnings (I originally intended to head to Kalakaua to busk before arriving at his place) and for the simple pleasure of the company.

Now, was it wrong of me to accept after only refusing once?

Earnings: $50.00, 0 minutes
Song of the Day: Butterflies – Kala Clarke

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