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And Here's to the Silver Sea

I thought I'd read everything Mark Twain ever wrote, even the horrid "I wish I could just die now so I can not meet the God that doesn't exist" essays from the end of his life, so I was taken aback to find that I had one of his books in my possession which had heretofore gone binding-unbent.  Why hadn't I read Letters from Hawaii?

I turned it over to study the price sticker, to perhaps locate a barcode clue, and then the postcard featuring the Hawaiian state fish fluttered to the floor.


Letters from Hawaii was purchased at the Volcano House on the Big Island, where Twain stayed while exploring the then-Sandwich Islands.  I'd bought it while visiting there with Not-Josh, Graduate School Edition, who is a native of Hilo.

I was, at the time, very much under the impression that we were to be wed.  He was not, and told me so in an email a few weeks after I returned to the mainland.  I stashed the underwater pictures, I cried all the way through my thesis, and I shoved the book in a back corner so that I wouldn't find it until I had formed the ability to drive past a dashboard hula girl without cringing mightily.

The slow transition to a day when I could stare at the cover with a furrowed brow instead of welling eyes took a solid decade. I read it not between fittings for a bridal gown to wear to a marriage which would have been doomed from the buffet line, but in a Beltway townhome, lying next to a sleeping man who buys the wrong kind of cottage cheese, buts cooks with it while I'm grading papers.

Sometimes the answers come from within.  So speaketh the humuhumunukunukuapuaa.

luau at:  mbe@drinktothelasses.com

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Reader Comments (7)

[...] Beth meets an unexpected long-named friend Share and [...]

I like this a lot :) I've got one of those at home too and he's so much better than the almost husband who would have been so wrong for me, and me for him.

October 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMyrrh C.

Many thanks, The Reader Formerly Known as Inkling! : )

October 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMB

MB used to hear this song a lot. Taken from "Tiny Bubbles"( in the wine.) Ray Conniff. Hawaiian album

October 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPoppy Ron

I really liked this post. Except for the part where it took you ten whole years to get to the point where you are now. I'm only a month and a half into the process . . . bleah.

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJennwith2ns

Well, actually, it was somewhat closer to eight years, but there's no cool one-word phrase for "eight years." And there were extenuating circumstances not mentioned in this post. And I reached this point before now-- years ago, actually, but it was just recently that I found the book to remind me of that fact.

I am so sorry that any The Reader of mine has to go through this, but remember: You're in mourning, not just for him, but for the life you had together and the life you thought you would have together. You don't just get over that in a fingersnap if you have any heart. So be gentle with yourself, and know that with the passage of each day, you're getting closer to healing-- even if it feels like you're going backwards at times. That's how grieving is.

Oh, and the very best piece of advice I got at the time, I will now pass to you: Unless you work with this guy or cannot avoid him at certain events, CUT CONTACT. No phone, no email, no IM, no texts. Block his Facebook page and his Twitter account. It may sound drastic, but believe me, it really does speed along the process. I hope you are feeling better soon.

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMB

That was a truly kind comment. And good advice, too, although in this case, there are occasional moments when contact is necessary. Bleah. Anyway, thank you for sympathising and for NOT saying, "There's someone better out there." No doubt there is, but it really bugs me when people say that, because, as you say, "if you have a heart," you have to grieve That Person before "someone better" can come along.

Yadda yadda. Thanks for listening.

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenn
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