After three days of business meetings and tireless socializing, I fled Ko Olina to spend a day in Honolulu. I planned to meet my cousin for dinner, but arrived in the city midday and so decided to wander Waikiki for a few hours in search of souvenirs.
Mark and I had exchanged several emails over the course of the week. He feared I’d forget him while basking in Hawaii’s beauty; I assured him this was not the case. He seemed taken with me after only a few weeks of online correspondence. I, in turn, became taken with the idea of dating a kindhearted, submissive young man. After three years chasing Portland kinksters for casual sex, it felt an appropriate change of pace to exchange sweet nothings with a romantic.
My thoughts of the Cuban reflected in the sun’s brilliance and warmth. I welcomed the heat as a foreign, complementary element, a relief from the dreary coolness I’d come to expect. Never before had I been to Hawaii, nor would I have planned such a destination for myself. But fortune had smiled and brought me here for business. I also felt as though fortune had brought a prospective love into my life. I wanted to return to Portland with a token of my hope for a new beginning—and to let Mark know that I thought of him here, under this auspicious tropical sun.
I found a shop that sold jewelry handmade by Native artists, both of Hawaiian descent and otherwise. I decided—a necklace was the perfect gift—and after perusing, found a pendant that suited my aesthetics. When I asked a sales clerk about it, she replied in broken English that it was a symbol of the rising sun, renewal and rebirth.
I didn’t buy the necklace until the following morning, after debating the purchase with my cousin. She advised,
—Buy what you would wear, just in case.
Indeed, like so many Portland men I’ve met, Mark disappeared after our first date. I sometimes wonder if he were, in some way, my Rosaline.