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“How Was Hawaii?”

From this position of retrospect, the best thing about
Hawaii has been how it has allowed me to face this week of chemotherapy
differently from all the other rounds.
Prior to the trip, and the option of the trip, I felt in a
holding cell, being shuttled between getting better enough to get sick enough
to get better. A constant revolving door of timing to be let in and out of a
hospital room.
What going to Hawaii did was to remove me entirely from that
zone, that waiting, holding, grey, colorless, lifeless zone. I took a vacation
from cancer.
Part of how this is showing up currently, and making my life
easier, is that I have very real, and very current memories of incredible
moments and times. Colorful, impulsive, whimsical moments to reach into my
recent memory and hold for a moment of comfort and joy. It seems like even my dreams have been re-infused.
Having to slather sunblock only on my left arm, my driving
arm, so that I didn’t end up with a severe trucker’s tan. The curve of a pair
of whales backs as they breached up for air, spouting mist.
A stream with a water hole, and two dudes swimming in it, waving at me. The view from the top (or bottom) of
anywhere. Mosquito bites! The cognitive
dissonance of standing in an Oakland chill and scratching mosquito bites
acquired in Hawaii! Physical proof that I was there, that I experienced, that I
was in my body.
I feel recharged from that trip. No matter what my exact
experience of it was.
When people have asked me how it was, I’ve said that the
most important thing, I think, is that I let myself go at all – it’s not the
details of the trip, which ranged emotionally from cranky to sobbing grief to
awestruck to serene. (perhaps in that order.)
That I let myself go at all was a win for me. For someone
who never lets herself do much of anything that sounds like or is fun.
The trip did range
all those emotions. The following story I tell most is exemplary of much of my mind
state:
It was about the 4th day on the island, and I
still hadn’t simply sat on a beach. I’d been shuttled around to see a lot of
things, and I drove down a tortourous, sodden drive out to the far end of the
island, but as far as sitting and lavishing in the sunshine? Not yet.
So, I finally went to the beach. I was heading back to the
house from that drive, the sun was heading down toward the ocean, and I
couldn’t decide if I should go home, or go to the beach. I passed off-ramp
after off-ramp, telling myself I should go home, rest, change, shower. And
every off-ramp, I found myself disappointed I didn’t just take it. Who cares I’m not changed in a bathing suit – DO
SOMETHING.
So, I did. I pulled off, finally, at a strip-mall, and
changed into a bathing suit in the car, and turned around, and drove back to
the beach.
I packed my little sack, and made my way to the sand, the
long flesh-colored sand, the long dark-blue water. I opened my towel, and I
laid down.
I wonder if I should get a book.
I think I should get a book. It’s boring just sitting
here doing nothing.
How long have I had my back exposed to the sun? Is it
time to flip over yet? Am I tan yet?
How much sunscreen should I put on? I want a tan, but
duh, I don’t want cancer.
Do you think there’s time to drive to Barnes&Noble
and back and still get some sun?
Can’t you just sit here and appreciate the weather? Can’t
I just be where I’m at? Listening to the waves, soaking in the healing rays?
Sure, okay, breathe in, listen, be still, be where I am,
don’t think I need the moment to be different. Be where I’m at. Be present …
I think I should get a book.
😀 AND THAT’S HOW MY BRAIN WORKS! Thank you very much, ladies
and gentleman, for attending today’s round of, How can Molly fuck herself up!
Well done to all, let’s do it again tomorrow.
So, needless to say, it took me a long time to simply settle
into being there. My brain was active for a lot of the trip, and that was
alright; I tried to be as patient with it as I could.
I took little notes of my impressions, ones that are
“poetic” and descriptive. I occasionally let myself pull off the highway to
look at things, or stop in a store just because. I let it be okay to not buy
jewelry that I really didn’t need, even though it was pretty, and I bought a
lot of little art pieces for myself and friends to whom I’m truly indebted.
I wandered in a SUN DRESS and flip-flops around town, and even spent a few
minutes hat-less, letting my chemo-hair get some fresh air.
I ate a passion-fruit right off a tree in the yard, having asked my
hosts how to eat one.
I cooked my daily breakfast of eggs, and had absolutely nasty
caffeine-withdrawal mornings.
I ordered a “POG,” which is a passion, orange, guava juice.
And I loved it.
I just leaned right over the steering wheel to watch a rainbow for a while, and learned from a
slightly drunken Torontan, who’d wandered down the beach with a Hilton
wrist-band, that the French word for rainbow translates as Arc in the Sky.
I saw bananas growing upsidedown, like cheeky, “how do you know how things are supposed to grow” teachers.
  
I breathed. I stood on the outcroppings of things, in the
woods of things, on the streets of things, and I breathed.
As I breathe now, the recycled air that pushes continually
into this cheerless room, I remember exactly what it was like to lie naked on a guest
bed in Maui, watching jungle-like plants dance exultant in a gathering
tropical storm.

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