Honolulu Star-Advertiser

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Waikiki

W. Kurata took fourth place in this year’s Star-Advertiser Halloween Fiction Contest.

I remember it was the start of summer vacation, some sixty-five years ago, when this story unfolds. We were a bunch of kids that played together in the area that is now the Chinese Cultural Plaza. It was called “Hell’s Half Acre” in a movie, but for us it was a playground.

There were 30 or more of us in the group, but there were four of us that were pretty close because of our ages. We went fishing, swimming, played games and did a lot of things kids did at that age at that time.

One day, some of the older kids wanted to go to Waikiki beach for a swim, but being much younger, we had to ask our mothers and for three of us the answer was NO, we weren’t old enough and there were no adults to accompany us. But Take, who was more daring than us, didn’t ask for permission and left with the older boys.

It was sometime in the late afternoon that the police came by with the older boys and stopped by Take’s home to inform his mom that Take was missing and presumed drowned. They searched for hours but couldn’t find his body. His mom took it really hard because he was an only child and his father had passed away a few years earlier.

The three of us often passed by his home and his mom would be sitting on the porch. She would see us and call out “Take, Take come home.” After that, we avoided going by his home.

My father was an avid fisherman when he wasn’t working. One day he came home with a piece of coral-looking stone that had an oval shape and he said we could use it to scrub our feet when we took a bath, so it was kept next to the soap dish in the bathroom. I was always a heavy sleeper, but one night my parents found me in the bathroom clutching that stone to my chest and rocking back and forth. They woke me up and told me I must have been sleepwalking.

The next night and the following night they followed me and found me again in the bathroom doing the same thing. Feeling that something was not right, they asked an old Hawaiian lady that lived close by and was knowledgeable about spiritual things. The following night, after seeing me go into the bathroom and clutch the stone, she told my father to return the stone where he found it, which was Waikiki beach, because someone or something was calling me.

Well, the next day my father returned the stone and my sleepwalking stopped. Funny thing is, my two friends said they dreamt about seeing me swimming at Waikiki for two or three nights in a row.

It’s been sixty-some years and I have never set foot or swum at Waikiki beach, never had a dream about what happened, but when I read the papers about all the people who drown there so often, I wonder.

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