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Love Beneath Pacific Tides
Dedicated to Bonnie, my sweet bride of 16 years.
Submitted by Kenneth
When I stepped off the plane in Maui, I smelled flowers, teriyaki sauce barbecue, and coconut suntan lotion. I was on Spring Break, traveling with a scuba driving group from college. The dive master planned seven days, a tight scuba schedule, and then back to rainy Oregon. While that was the main reason for the trip, I'd been thinking about a romantic agenda.
In a couple of days, almost everyone in my group had met someone to go out with, everyone except me. Nights on the beach, I sipped pineapple cocktails and watched couples walking arm and arm along gentle waves. Still no luck.
There was a girl I liked who joined our dive group late, but I hadn't a chance to spend much time with her. Her name was Bonnie and she had dark brown hair and blue eyes. When she smiled, you could hear the angels singing. If only I could get her away from the group so we could spend some time together. By the fifth day, still nothing.
Our group took a high speed launch from Maui to dive at Cathedrals, an underwater reef formation off the coast of Molakai. The crossing was rough, with big swells breaking on the bows. The dive master drew names to see who would be paired up as dive buddies. I caught Bonnie looking at me and flashed a glance back, smiling, but she turned away. Please, please, please pair me up with Bonnie, I wished, secretly crossing my fingers. But the diver master didn't pair us up.
Instead I was assigned to Todd, an inexperienced, pimply faced sophomore who seemed accident prone. I glanced back at Bonnie who gazed down at the deck, disappointed when the dive master called out Todd. Had she wanted to go with Todd? Had she wanted to go with me? Not this time. I exhaled deeply, a barely audible sigh. With only two days left on our dive trip, I guessed it just wasn't meant to be.
Our dive boat drew closer to dropping anchor in the warm turquoise waters off Molokai. Todd looked ashen and then suddenly darted for the rail on the starboard side of the boat, leaning over hard. He'd gotten sea-sick from the boat ride over from Maui and was in no condition to go diving. That left me without a dive buddy. Bonnie looked over to me and then over to the dive master. I was about to ask if she wanted to go with me, but before the words came out of my mouth I heard, "Can I go with Ken?" There it was. She said it and the dive master nodded over in my direction.
In a few moments the Bonnie and I were in the water and making our way down, 70 feet below the surface to a gothic coral formation--the Cathedrals. Sun shown through the coral like light through blue and purple stained glass church windows. Three manta rays glided by in a triangle formation like brown velvet archangels. From across the channel I could hear the calling of humpback whales underwater. Bonnie grabbed my hand and took her regulator from her mouth. At first I thought she was in trouble and needed my air. I took a deep breah, removed my regulator from my mouth, and offered it to her. She shook her head no and her long brown hair rose around her like a soft beacon. She closed her eyes and kissed me with her soft salty lips. We held hands for the rest of the dive and kicked our legs in unison, dancing, floating, spiraling around the coral like dolphins. It's said that diving in Hawaii is among the best in the world. Now I knew way.
After a day of diving, we returned to Maui. Couples went off on their own. The two of us walked along the white sand beach back at Maui and sat down to watch the sunset. I put my arms around her and hugged her tightly to me. She pulled her knees up to her chest and we rocked back and forth, listening to the music of the waves and watching the last ember of the sun sinking into the vast Pacific. The sand, the soft starlit sky, the smell of coconuts, flowers, and teriyaki.
If you aren't in love in Hawaii, you soon will be. I know because it happened to me at 70 feet below the surface, near a coral reef formation called the Cathedrals.