I’m melting into the seat, letting the wind rush over me while it
stirs through the palms and ironwoods lining the north coast and
again, I hear the strum of a ukelele.

I think to myself, Kauai, you’ve held on to your beauty but it’s not enough.

We drive half a mile and the ukelele music is still there. How could I
still hear the music?

“Do you hear a ukelele?” I ask Brian.

He listens. “No. See, it’s the spirit of the island calling you.”

My mind wanders to the previous night. Simon had waited all day to get
to the beach. We grabbed flashlights and walked along the road until
we found a turnoff for a hotel. We strolled past the buildings and
Simon ran to the frothy water.

“Stay close Simon, it’s getting dark,” I said.

He didn’t hear, the surf and wind erased my voice. I followed him until the sound of a ukelele caught my attention. “More ukelele
music,” I said.

Earlier, at the airport in Honolulu, a ukelele echoed through the outdoor walkways as we waited in the garden for our flight.  I looked up the bank at he restaurant sealed in glass. “They must pipe it outside in hopes of luring in tourists,” I said, although no one heard.

Now as we drive, the din of the engine annoys me. I concentrate, straining my ears for confirmation. Is it real? Was it ever real?

I picture Kauai’s ancestors. It’s dark, they’re playing ukeleles, dancing around a crackling fire, smiling at me. Or is it the
ancestors, telling me to let down my guard, showing me this island will always be theirs?