Elena had cried herself to sleep every night for the past month. Her husband and best friend from high school had been in the Air Force. He enlisted to earn money for college. Sadly, that was a dream that would never come to pass. He had been a cook (under the job title: services.) Unfortunately, the services department got deployed almost as much as pilots and security forces. Her husband had been aboard a transport plane that got shot down somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. It didn’t matter where. All Elena knew was that he was gone and she was stuck living alone in their house on Hickam Air Force base in Honolulu.
With her dark hair and caramel skin, Elena looked every bit like a tourist on the hunt for a good time. It would be easy to drink her problems away. But she had no interest in the beach scene. So instead Elena brought a supply of trash bags, combing up and down the beach collecting trash. No one would really question it since she didn’t look homeless, nor did she sell the trash/recyclables. She simply moved everything to the nearest dumpsters.
One day Elena stayed out longer than usual. It was a warm night and she had no interest in returning to her empty home. As a spouse, she was expected to vacate the military housing as soon as possible. She knew they would not kick her out but they did remove any and all rented furniture, including the television, sofa and dining room table. What remained looked more like a tomb than a home.
So she walked along the tide pools exploring down the shore until she found what appeared to be an injured shark flailing in the shallow water. Elena was of average height, and reasonably fit from her walks in the beach. But the creature looked to be at least ten feet long, weighing possibly hundreds of pounds. Looking at her arms, Elena couldn’t remember the last time she even set foot in a gym.
And then there was the teeth; a normal person would have called 911 and gotten the hell out of there. But for Elena, this was just another creature in need of help. With all her strength she pushed the creature back into the water. She massaged the sides of the animal until it began to find its rhythm, swimming on its own.
“Say hi to my husband,” Elena muttered as she turned to leave. She still wore her wedding ring. That was the first time she thought about taking it off and hurling it into the ocean. There had been no funeral; no corpse, no closure. The love of her life, he now belonged to the ocean. Elena took off the plain gold band, it had been all he could afford at the time, but he had it inscribed with a single word, “Trust.” She had no idea what that even meant. Why not ‘faith’ or ‘hope’? Who or what was she supposed to ‘trust’?
“I remember your husband,” the voice echoed on the wind. “He was a beautiful, kind, soul: one of many who have died in my arms.”
Elena turned around, half expecting to see a talking shark. But what stood before her was a woman made of water. “Who are you?”
“I am an ocean goddess. As a gift for your kindness, I wish to send you one of my sons.”
“Your son?” Elena had always wanted children but during their short marriage, it had never come to pass.
“I have many children. One of my youngest, he is a painter, a dreamer. I have faith that he will be a good provider and a good friend.” With that, the woman vanished.
There was no child or creature of any kind. Elena chuckled as she knelt down to touch the now calm water. “Oh well, a girl can dream.”
Exhausted, Elena made the long walk home and went straight to sleep.
The next morning she went to the beach as she usually did. But she saw something strange. Someone appeared to be sleeping on a fluffy flotation device just off the shore. “Hello?”
The half-naked man sat up. He had tan skin the color of coffee ice-cream and wore his long dark brown hair in braids. He had a tattoo of a starfish on his wrist, overall he could have been mistaken for a typical tourist perhaps even a college student.
and as he sat up Elena swore she could see wings made of pastel-colored light.
She watched as the stranger dove off the seafoam raft and swam to shore.
“So this is Hawaii?” he said in a soft gentle voice. Some might have called him a stoner or a flower child. But to Elena he sounded like a surfer; a child of the ocean.
Elena watched with awe as the raft disappeared into the waves. “Yeah, um, welcome to Honolulu.”
The man smiled. “You must be Elena.” His doe eyes gazed upon her with an air of seduction mixed with a sweetness and innocence she had only even known from one other person.
“Yeah,” she replied, entranced by his beauty.
He stood about 6’2″, with the slender muscular body of a swimmer. His jeans hung loose, weighted down with ocean water, allowing her a view of his chiseled abs and hips. “You can call me Isaiah.”
The words sent shivers down Elena’s spine. “T-That was my husband’s name.”
The man shrugged. “It’s always been my name.”
“What are you?”
“A friend.” Isaiah walked closer and took her hand. He looked at it, examining every finger as if he had never seen a human hand before. “I want to get to know you and your world.”
Elena’s breath quickened. His touch felt like nothing she had ever experienced, it was pure energy, pure bliss. “Cool, I guess.”
Isaiah smiled again, this time pausing for a moment to lick his lips. “You humans have such amazing mouths.” He moved in close.
Elena could feel the warmth of his breath. “What?”
He traced a finger along her bottom lip, pausing in the center. “Such beautiful lips, and stunning smiles.” Isaiah hovered his lips just inches away from Elena’s.
At that moment she would have been just fine with a deep passionate kiss from this total stranger. But instead, he simply kissed her cheek. “So where are we headed? Where is home?”