Bleu, Bleu, L'Amour Est Bleu
Another H*O*T* Segment
H*O*T* is an acronym for Hawaiian Odysseus Tutorial, my HubPages platform niche for sharing personal experiences and strategies that have helped me in my painstaking development as a writer. Truth be told, I really, to this day, don't know what the hell I'm doing most of the time, but as long as others enjoy the active volcano of my mind, I'll keep spewing forth this literary lava.
Today's tip as well as challenge: Take a sentence from a famous writer's published work and use it as a foundation for an original personal essay, article, narrative, or short story.
I hope you enjoy the example featured here...
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... ~ A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens
Patricia handed me the note as we passed each other in the hall.
My heart danced a spirited hula as I opened the message and read: Meet me behind the gym after school.
Startled, I turned around to call her name, but she was already thirty yards away, walking rapidly to her class. I watched as she adeptly adjusted her baby blue blouse. Her pleated white skirt accentuated the hula of her hips as she sashayed down the corridor.
Snap out of it, fool! She's out of your league.
The thought from my saner side was a slap to my face.
Still, I wondered why she wanted to see me. And why behind the gym?
My body felt warm. Sure, it could have been the early June sun or the elation of knowing that this was the last day of school before summer vacation. Or maybe it was the joy of knowing that in just a few hours, I'd be flying out of Oahu and on my way to Kauai and my family.
Then again, it could have just been hormones.
Reading her note one more time, admiring her lovely handwriting with the accentuated loops and tails and a heart instead of a dot above the i in behind...ah, that beautiful behind!
The last bell clanged me out of my reverie, and I sprinted down the hall to my next class.
It was the last day of my 8th grade year at the Kamehameha Schools Preparatory Department, and the air was abuzz with anticipation.
Less than two months shy of my fourteenth birthday, I was feeling my oats, tingling with the excitement of knowing that in just a few hours, I would actually be on board an Aloha Airlines interisland flight back home to Kaua'i.
The firstborn son, the big brother of five siblings, the first in the family to attend the prestigious private school for children of at least one-fourth Hawaiian descent...
I'm going home...
Just two short years ago, on the day I first left the home of my youth to be a boarding student on the neighbor island, my chest had been full of bravely suppressed sobs. And though my eyes had brimmed with a definite tinge of red, I never shed a tear.
I am not going to let my father see me cry.
How many times had he spanked me as a child and told me, "Don't cry, or I going give you mo' lickin'!"
What? What kind of messed up message was that?
It was the culture of the islands. It was also the result of parents marrying at a very young age, not much older than I was, and bringing to the marriage and family life severely limited parental skills. Still, Mom and Dad had done the very best they could with what little skills they had.
The privilege and honor of having their firstborn accepted into the island equivalent of an Ivy League school was a huge feather in their proverbial coconut hats. I wanted them to see that I was being a man.
Later, in the solace of my airplane seat, the waterfall would finally flow.
Now here I was, looking ahead to my freshman year.
I thought of how sharp I would look in my ROTC uniform. Maybe I'll even be good enough to be in the topnotch drill team. My fantasy-laden teenage mind was in overdrive: the bleachers filled to capacity at the upper campus field; rifles flying through the air in perfect timing; cadets looking sharp in parade dress uniforms--black helmets with chin straps, royal blue tunics, and the contrast of white pants with black shoes spit shined with Kiwi polish until they flashed like mirrors...
"Joe. Joe? Could you sign my yearbook?"
"Uh, oh, yeah, sure thing, Laurel!" I quickly wrote a note on the back page of my classmate's annual and then asked her to reciprocate the favor.
I then found others in my homeroom class with whom to exchange autographs.
Yearbook signing was a lot of fun. I penned alternative versions of "Stay cool!" to the guys, and I wrote outrageously flirtatious messages to the girls. The latter choice was completely out of character for a boy whose nose was usually stuck in the books, shy and self-absorbed about the latest batch of pimples that had broken out, and bearing a persona of serious rigidity mixed with varying shades of melancholy.
The last day of school syndrome had me shedding giant gorillas off my back. I was liberated from my self-imposed chains. Clark Kent was forever throwing away the cheap pair of fake glasses, and look out, world! Here comes Superman!
So, yeah, I was going to let the girls know how much I'd really noticed and appreciated and been secretly infatuated with them. By the time summer was over and freshman year was about to start, they would have forgotten what I'd written, anyway. More importantly, I would have forgotten.
At 13, that was my lot in life.
Patricia was already waiting for me when I got to the tight walkway behind the gym.
She stood there--a lovely, self-assured young lady with a smile that could melt steel at a hundred yards.
I suddenly felt extremely nervous and couldn't meet her eyes. The back wall of the gym suddenly became a thing of interest. A small nameplate, about eye level to my 5'9" height, read: Kiawe.
The kiawe is a very tough, dense wood of the mesquite family, widely used for charcoal and well known for the sweet and savory flavor it imparts to grilled or smoked meat.
The sun was at its zenith, and cumulo-nimbus clouds did a slow dance across a bejeweled azure blue sky.
Random thoughts for a deer caught in the headlights.
"Joe, I wanted to give you this lei." Patricia compelled my attention.
"Oh, wow, thank you!" What a lame response! Where's my gift for words?
She gracefully encircled my head with the beautiful white carnation lei. I expected a kiss on the cheek. Instead she drew me close and pressed her lips to mine.
Now, mind you, I had never in my life until that precise mind-boggling, earth-shattering moment been kissed by a girl. Moms, sisters, and grandmas don't count. I'm talking about a real live girl, the same age as me, giving me a kiss on the mouth. That in itself was a first!
My head was swimming. My heart was doing a high dive off a cliff in Belize. My simmering blood was causing glacier slides in Alaska.
Her lips...I swear I don't know to this day how she did this...her lips were undulating like Scheherazade's rippling belly on mine, causing an electrifying tingle that short circuited my brain and sent Amber alerts to remote parts of my body:
Attention, all units! A 13-year-old Hawaiian-Filipino-Okinawan boy has been kidnapped in the Kalihi area of Honolulu by a Hawaiian-Chinese girl of similar age. Proceed with caution. Un-Sub is mysteriously armed and alluringly dangerous!
That first kiss may have taken all of 30 seconds--which is pretty dang long for a first kiss!--but it seemed to last forever.
It was I who pulled away.
"Patricia, what?...I thought you and Glenn were a couple...I don't under..."
She put her fingers to my mouth.
"Shh...he and I broke up. I think you're cute, and I've wanted to kiss you for the longest time..."
Like a centerfielder distracted by a commotion in the bleachers, I never saw the hit coming. I felt disoriented, not at all comfortable without my illusion of control. I tried to slow down and think things through, but that's when she clutched the front of my shirt and drew me in to her.
Cocking her head to one side, eyes closed, her quivering lips found mind. This time, they brought along a close cousin.
Black and Blue
In 1966, the wettest spot in the world was Mt. Waialeale with an average of about 460 cubic inches per year.
When Patricia casually slipped her tongue past the aperture of my lips, I was certain we'd broken Waialeale's Guiness Book record.
For the next five minutes, we didn't come up for air.
I who had never kissed nor been kissed experienced an accelerated learning curve in the art of oral merging. Clumsy at first, unsure, and definitely a follower, I graciously overcame her lead and became an actor in the full throttle of improvisation.
Yin melded into yang.
Ebb danced with flow.
Softness wedded hardness.
A simple island bumpkin, I had never in my life experienced such intimacy with another human being.
Kiawe. Dense. Hard. Painful?
Ow! Man alive, I really hurt bad in my southern region.
As excited as I was with our passionate kisses, I was suddenly experiencing excruciating pain. Like the kissing, this, too, was a novel sensation for me.
Mere words fall short of describing this pain.
It was as if I'd been a catcher who'd forgotten his cup at home and--too macho to sit the game out--now regretted having misplayed a slider in the dirt from pitcher Felix Hernandez.
Like riding the bull in Urban Cowboy while under the influence and waking up the next morning, seriously hung over in black and blue and definitely feeling the pain.
Like playing mixed martial arts with my little brother and getting the full force of sibling rivalry in his kick to my groin.
Ouch! It hurt so bad!
When the human body experiences pain, it seeks comfort.
At this moment in time, nothing felt more comforting than to indulge in more kissing.
Patricia and I heard voices approaching. So we skedaddled out of there.
Let me rephrase that.
Slowly, casually, and painstakingly, we walked towards the two-storied row of classrooms.
My mind created a montage of images as we walked.
Big, fat Italian women stomping on grapes.
The Lone Ranger in his powder blue outfit jumping from a building onto his horse, Silver.
Curly stepping onto a plank with Moe straddling the receiving end.
Ouch! It sure hurt to walk. I must've looked like a bow-legged Charlie Chaplin.
And those steps? Oh, my word! Incredible performance pressure, to say the least!
Patricia and I found an unlocked and empty classroom. Ironically, it was Mr. Gilbert's Biology Class. Go figure! The stars were aligned, alright.
To avoid detection, we lay down on the floor behind Mr. Gilbert's huge desk.
And we proceeded to work out our bilingual choreography.
At 13, even if I was going on 14, I was still very naive about things involving the opposite sex. I honestly had no thoughts, let alone ideas, of going any further. Baseball was still a pure sport to me, so notions of going past first base were foreign to my way of thinking.
All I wanted to do--pain or no pain--was dance the next hour away with our lips and tongues and the endless give and take of Juicy Fruit kisses.
And the thing is, we never got tired or bored.
Naively, I even hoped that perhaps the pain would go away with more kissing. Ah, no such luck!
Still, I was having the time of my life.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...
I don't remember how it came about, but at some point, we had to end our season of indulgence. Maybe I looked at my watch and remembered that I had to pack some last minute things and find a ride to the airport.
We looked at each other with big moon eyes, and--as I recall--we promised we'd write to each other all summer long.
I kissed her one more time, gave her a big hug, and then we said goodbye.
My thoughts and emotions were all over the map, and I wandered around in a fugue for the next few hours.
It wasn't until I was in the airplane with a window seat next to the wing that housed two of the four propellors that my mind returned to being in sync with my body. Regarding the latter, I was still in pain, but, thankfully, the pain was subsiding.
I looked out at yonder blue horizon where the sky kissed the sea.
And that's when it occurred to me.
I was growing up.