I climbed on the toilet tank and stuck my head out the window. The drop was near the front door to Hari’s store. A little below me and to the left was the hand railing for the upstairs lānai that ran along Uncle Kahana’s living room. I was pretty sure I could make it.

 

Pretty sure.

 

I was holding onto the window frame hugging the outside wall with the ball of my right foot resting on the railing when I heard a plop. I looked down. A young haole girl with a sunburned nose was looking up at me. A large yellow and orange shave ice was melting at her feet.

 

“Mom!” she yelled. “There’s a naked boy covered in lipstick climbing out a window!”

 

I froze. I couldn’t go back and I couldn’t go forward.

 

“Jeanie!” a woman’s voice scolded from the store.

 

“Mom! He’s got weeds wrapped around his ankle and wrist!”

 

Please, let me die and end this, I prayed. But whatever happens, please don’t let anyone show up with a smart phone or camera. If this gets out I’ll never live it down.

 

“Go away!” I mouthed at her.

 

“He wants me to go away!”

 

“What did I say about telling stories?” the woman said.

 

“But Mom, this time it’s true!”

 

I sensed more commotion under me, shadows and light flickering like schools of fish on the reef. I peered down.

 

“Jeanie! Look what you did! Your snow cone’s all over—” the voice trailed off.

 

Bleach blond hair and mega-sized sunglasses stared up at me. I closed my eyes.

 

Next to me the sliding door swept open and a strong brown arm wrapped around my body, lifting me over the railing and onto the lānai. Uncle Kahana leaned down.

 

“Aloha! So sorry about the shave ice! Tell the girl at the counter Kahana said to give you a new one! On the house, of course! Have a nice day!”

 

As he pushed me through the open door and into living room I heard the woman say, “Hush, Jeanie, hush! I told you it’s another culture! The whole island is like going to Chinatown in San Francisco. Now do you want a free snow cone or not?”

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