Hana tenderly slid her new ginrin ogon koi from her black pail into her pond. Its golden metallic scales glittered in the morning sunlight. She sighed admiringly.
Hana lived alone in an old plantation house that sat at the top of a dirt road in in upper Hilo. A stream branching off the Wailuku River flowed through her backyard, irrigating her koi pond, a vegetable garden, and a small patch of pakalolo hidden inside a grove of dwarf bamboo.
But Hana’s pride and joy was her collection of rare and highly prized koi – her precious keiki. A handful were older than Hana, and a couple were even older than her ba-chan. She had learned her craft from her ba-chan, who learned it from her ba-chan back in Japan.
After feeding her keiki, Hana decided to go for a morning dip. She pulled off her sweaty, baggy work clothes, slipped on a black tank top, and wrapped a black pareau with a silvery-green kukui pattern around her waist. Hana was strikingly beautiful with her creamy, white skin and long, shiny black hair. She put on her favorite black slippers, placed a few items into her black pail and headed down to her secret spot along the Wailuku. It was a solitary pool which sat on a ledge between two waterfalls, one falling into it, causing it to bubble like a boiling pot, the other falling over its edge into a distant pool below.
When she arrived, Hana stretched out onto a large flat rock next to the pool, took out a joint, lit it and inhaled deeply, and blew out a cloud of smoke. A different cloud crossed her mind – the morning paper mentioned how another keiki went missing while swimming in the Wailuku. This time it was a haole boy from California, 12 years old, with golden hair. She thought to herself, with a name like Wailuku, which meant Water of Destruction, and with one-fourth of Big Island drownings occurring here, why weren’t people, especially parents, more careful?
Hana felt the high sweep away her cloud and smiled again. She flicked her joint, shed her clothes and slid into the bubbling pool. Hana let out a happy scream– the Wailuku was fed from the slopes of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa and its waters were ice-cold. She glided to the pool’s edge, turned around, leaned back and let her hair spill over the waterfall. She closed her eyes and thanked her ba-chan for finding this magical place.
A noise startled her and she opened her eyes. Two local Japanese boys, both about 11, were peeping at her from the waterfall above. One of the boys apologetically smiled and yelled, “Sorry Aunty, we were just exploring and didn’t know anyone, um, naked would be here.” His eyes sparkled.
Hana laughed. “It’s okay,” she yelled back. “No shame. Come, come.” While the boys climbed down, Hana glided back and slid on to her rock, and unhurriedly squeezed the water out of her hair.
“Wow, aunty, sick tattoo!” exclaimed the boy with the sparkling eyes. “You like see?” Hana asked playfully, and turned her shoulder, A large dragon covered most of her back from the nape of her neck to the top of her butt. “I got it when I went to visit my ba-chan’s home in Japan,” she explained as she wrapped her pareau around her. A warm smile spread across her face. Thinking the boys might be hungry, she reached into her black pail and asked, “You guys want to try some homemade brownies? It’s my secret recipe.”
The next morning, Hana tenderly slid her two new, extremely rare kikokuryu koi into her pond from her black pail. Their black metallic scales and iridescent pearly white markings glittered in the morning sunlight. She sighed admiringly. Hana especially like the one with the sparkling eyes.