Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ā Hui Hou Aku

After Lani gave me the whistle I remembered Kona and showed it to him. Is that confusing enough? Here's how it worked. I was there with my Mother, so in my mind, Kona was with me, instead of back at home. I had been Alaka'i while speaking and translating Hawaiian. But Kona was there and he would want to see the whistle, so I let him. Which made Kona take over from Alaka'i.

While the Kona personality was playing with the whistle Lani actually spoke with my Mother in broken English for a bit. I didn't catch it all but noticed when he asked about my little brother. My Mother said there is no little brother, there's just him, pointing to me. I looked up at her as Alaka'i again and said, "That's not true, little brother is right here. See? He's playing with the whistle." And I switched back and blew into the whistle.

My Mother laughed and said he's just talking about an imaginary friend he made up. But Lani, who had heard me talking about a little brother for a long time in earnest, looked worried.

Then he crouched down to my level and said, "Who am I speaking to now?" in Hawaiian.

I said, "Alaka'i."

He said, "I had hoped you'd make your last visit alone. I was going to take you away someplace safe from them. Now I'll never see you again. I'll never have another chance."

"I'll come back," I said.

He said, "No. You won't be able to."

Then a tear down from his eye. He said, "Even if you come back, I won't be here. I can't stand the thought that you'll never escape. I'm going to go away. Please don't look for me."

My Mother interrupted. She told me we were going to be in big trouble when we got back to my Father, for being so late. The sooner we got back, the better it would be.

The thought that I really might not see Lani again made me think of uku.

Uku is the law of reciprocity. If someone gives something to you, whether it's good or bad, you have to give them something in return of equal value, to keep the universe in balance. I thought I was obligated to give Lani something that was as important as the whistle he gave me. Ordinarily I could wait and do it later, but not if I'd never see him again.

So I picked up the ball and held it out to him, and told him he had to take it.

My Mother said, "You can't give him that, that was from your Father. Your Father will be upset."

I said, "Daddy will know I had to give it to Lani." I had a higher opinion of my Father's good judgment than was justified by my experiences with him.

Lani tried to refuse it. He said that uku didn't apply to a hō'ano'ano gift.

I should have listened to him about that. He was right, of course. The hō'ano'ano giving was completely outside of uku. But I couldn't see that in the short time that I had.

Finally, I talked Lani into taking the ball, and we said goodbyes. "Ā hui hou aku" -- until we meet again. Then he waved for a minute as my Mother, and the dog and I walked back home.

The last I saw of him, he appeared to hang his head in sadness, and turn away.

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