As she lay, deep in sleep,
A faint whistle blew, and it felt like it was calling out to her...
She then heard the familiar sounds of waves crashing the shore...
She felt the warmth of the Sun cradling her body...
And the gentle breeze of the fair winds, she once knew, passing through her...
Along with-it bringing grains, of what felt like soft warm sands...
Through the air and sticking to her feet’s, hands and in her hair, like they always do...
And that... “Ahh, what is that smell?”
It reminded her of the fresh sea...
Slightly salty, and mixed with a hint of seaweed, it passed sweetly through the air and graced her nose.
She realised it was the familiar scent of the Hawaiian beach near her home...
Startled, she questioned; “How can this be possible?”
Tossing and turning, unable to wake herself up from her deep slumber...
“How am I back in Kauna‘oa Bay?”
“How am I back home?” she thought.
Panic rose over her.
She was unable to wake, unable to open her eyes, and unable to see her homeland.
As she lay there on her bed, tossing and turning, turning her head left and right, trying ever so hard to open her eyes.
Suddenly, she heard a whistle and the fair winds pass her by, and it felt like it was calling out to her, again, but this time louder and stronger than the first; then the Sun beamed, blinded by the bright light, she shut her eyes and blinked away.
As she slowly opened her eyes, she witnessed before her,
A magnificent ocean, she’d once knew, and its colour, how she remembered it to be.
Sky-blue, a reflection of the clear blue sky above her.
She then saw the familiar waves,
Hitting the shore, where white salty sand lay to rest.
She looked down at her bare feet, and saw the wave from the sky-blue ocean, crash into her feet’s.
She let out a long sigh of relief.
“Home” she said happily.
She felt goosebumps crawling up her arms.
“Kūkū wahine?” Whispered Kailani.
(Prouniciation: Koo-koo vah-hee-nay = Grandma)
‘How is that possible?’ Thought Kailani.
Kailani turned her back to the ocean.
Lo and behold, there stood her grandmother, calling out to her from their beach home.
Kailani, could not believe her eyes, her Kūkū wahine, stood there, with both hands on her hips, and as beautiful as ever.
Her long salt and pepper hair flowing behind her, wearing her favourite yellow kaftan adorned with red flowers, and a thin white scarf draped over her shoulders.
Stood behind her is their home, made from dark brown wood.
Surrounding us, were the beautiful Hawaiian tropical rainforest, green trees with flowers of every colour of the rainbow, and different kind of birds tweeting, melodically.
Kailani looked at her Kūkū wahine, she was radiant and glowing...
Kailani was stunned, unable to figure out, how is this all possible?
“Am I not 7,277 miles away from home?
From Kauna‘oa Bay, From Kūkū wahine?” she thought.
Called out her grandma, again, now so close to her.
Kailani, tuned her head to the right, and there sat her Kūkū wahine, on the white sand, facing the sky-blue ocean.
“Come sit with me, Kailani,” said Kūkū wahine.
Kailani sat next to her grandma, and looked out at the sea, deep in thought.
“I knew I would find you here, of all places.” says Kūkū wahine.
Kailani smiles as she knows her Tūtū (an Hawaiian gender neutral name for grandparents) is right, being at the beach, near the sea and under the blue sky was Kailani sanctuary, her safe haven.
“I miss this beach, I feel at home here, I feel at peace.” Says Kailani with sadness overcoming her.
“Of course you do dear,” says Tūtū, “it is because you belong her, Kailani.” Tūtū says smilingly.
“You, this sand and this sea are one,” reminded her Tūtū.
Tūtū looks at her granddaughter, how grown she has become, and how sad she looks, she continues; “Do you know why we named you Kailani because it means; the sea and sky, and you were born on this very beach.”
Kailani smiles and looks at her grandmother lovingly, waiting for her to continue, to tell the story of her birth again. Kailani knew she needed to her it again, needed the reminder and needed to hear Tūtū, soothing voice.
Tūtū continues with story of the magnificent birth of her granddaughter; “when your mother was pregnant with you, she always used to sit at this very beach, she felt at peace here, just like you do now. By listening to the sounds of the waves, the fair winds blowing, trees swaying and animals chirping all round, you used to constantly swim circles in her stomach, always flapping your small feet’s.” Tūtū laughed and Kailani pulled a pouting face at her Tūtū, and both grandmother and granddaughter laughed, wholeheartedly.
Tūtū continued on; “At the time of your birth, it was a stormy night and the road to the hospital was blocked, you mother was at the beach going through contraction pains. She knew, your birth was near and she and you would not make it to the hospital in time, so the ladies of our village prepared everything there at the beach for your delivery, and the sky above and the sea and sand below became witnesses of your birth, therefore it was only right to name you Kailani (Sea and Sky).”
Kailani happily laid into her Tūtū lap, and started having flashback of her childhood “do you remember Tūtū, you taught me how to swim in this very sea, and Pāpā showed me how to sail and row, and I would always be out here, sometimes laying in the sand, sometimes swimming in the sea, and sometimes swinging on the tree swing Māmā made for me till daylight to nightfall” says Kailani.
Kailani hears her Tūtū laughing at the memory “yes I do, and we would have to drag you inside for bedtime, every time” says Tūtū
The memories make Kailani sad; “how am I here, Tūtū?”
Kailani looked at her Tūtū; “and how are you here? Is this all a dream?”
Tūtū smiled at Kailani; “Ah, my dear mo‘opuna wahine...”
(Pronunciation: Mo-‘oh-poo-nah vah-hee-ne = Grandaughter)
Tūtū continues “to find out why you are here, you will need to figure that out, the reason why I’m here is because I heard you call, and if this is a dream, you soon will know.”
Kailani laying in her Tūtū lap, tries to remember how she came here, and then she says; while looking distantly out at the sea; “You passed away 3 year ago, Tūtū. After a year, you left us, I had to leave Kauna‘oa Bay, had to leave Māmā, Pāpā and... you. I had to move to 7,277 miles away, I’m currently in London, working. Tūtū, I miss you, miss Māmā and Pāpā and I miss Kauna‘oa Bay, I miss the blue sea, the white sand, the yellow sun, blue skies, the rainforest, the fair winds, the animals and the warmth and smell of Hawai‘i. I feel all alone in a big city,” anxiety took over her.
Kailani felt tears roll down her face, and then felt her Tūtū lift her head up, “look at me Kailani,” said Tūtū.
Tūtū saw the tears rolling down her granddaughters face and the air around them, was filled with sadness, the sea and sky all stood still in silence. Tūtū wiped the tears from Kailani face and kissed her on her forehead. “I think you just found the answer to why and how you are here Kailani,” says Tūtū.
“but I want you to remember, what I’m going to tell you now, promise me you will remember?” Tūtū brings her small finger towards her granddaughter, making her pinky promise, like they used to.
Kailani smiles and pinky promises her Tūtū, “Yes I promise, I will remember.”
Tūtū continues “I know right now you feel alone, but I want you to remember, your Tūtū, Māmā, Pāpā and Kauna‘oa Bay, all live in here,” Tūtū points to Kailani’s heart, she continues; “we live in your heart, therefore you are never alone. I need you to be strong, in life you will be tested with hardships, but those hardships are given to you because you can handle them, this is just a phase, it will pass and you will find the light at the end of the tunnel, and you always need to remember, you can always come home Kailani, and wherever you go we will always be with you, through our spirits and prayers.”
Suddenly; a loud whistle blows and the fair winds passes through, it startled Kailani, she look around and there in the blue sea is a ship on the horizon;
“Where has this ship come from? what is that whistle? Tūtū, I heard it, before I came here, too?” says Kailani.
“The whistle is coming from the ship you see, it’s calling you. The time has come for you to go nani,” says Tūtū.
(pronunciation: nah-knee = beautiful)
“But I don’t want to go Tūtū, I want to stay here with you, I feel at peace here,” says Kailani.
The whistle blows and the fair winds pass, again, and this time Kailani felt it calling out to here. She turned to the sea and the ship on the horizon is now coming near to her, near to the shore.
“No, Kailani, there will be a time when we will meet again and that will be the right time; but for now, it is time for you to go back. Live your life, go to your parents and remember home, the sea, the sky and the sand you love so much will always be there…” Says Tūtū.
Kailani lingered longer, holding on to every single word her Tūtū is saying, but she slowly felt her body drifting and the voice of her Tūtū becoming distant.
“Remember Kailani, we live in your heart and I will always be with you in spirit… Aloha, A hui hou…!” (pronunciation: ah-hoo-wee-ho-oo-uu = I’ll See You Again) says Tūtū while waving goodbye at Kailani.
“A hui hou!” Shouts Kailani as fast as she could, waving at her grandma, with tears rolling doing her cheeks. She felt a deep pull from the final blow of the whistle and the fair winds.
In the fits of panic she woke up from her deep slumber. Breathing heavily, she sat up straight on what felt like a bed, she felt the tears on her cheek, and wiped to check if they were actually there.
She looked around trying to get a grasp of her surroundings, and saw she was in a room, breathing in and then out, slowly becoming regular.
On the white wall in front of her was an old painting, she remembered, it was a gift from her Tūtū, a painting of their home, of Kauna‘oa Bay in the 1920s.
Her grandmother’s home is shown on the white beach with the green tropical forest on one side surrounding it and on the other side of the white sand was the sea of the North Pacific Ocean.
Kailani could clearly see every detail, as the sunrise was beaming in from her large window of her apartment bedroom; and then she saw something strangely familiar in the painting; a ship on the horizon, the same ship, she saw in her dream.
Her grandmothers words were ringing in her ears and she decided it was time for her to go back, to visit her home, her parents, her beautiful Kauna‘oa Bay and let her feet soak in the white sands, the Sun to kiss her body, and the blue sky and sea, with the fair winds, all surround her as she swims in the ocean, she so deeply longed for…
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