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How Deep is Your Love
Dedicated to All Those Who Follow Their Hearts
Submitted by Edgar
When you're young, in love, and in Hawaii, it's as if no other couple in the world can match the depth of your passion. But, in college, when my girlfriend and I saved up for a trip to the islands, I learned by the end of that trip that some couples share a love for one another that's simply larger than life.
While my girlfriend went to a hair salon in a fashionable Honolulu shopping center, I browsed around in a rather snooty men's store. The lone male salesperson had the nametag "Chase," and was probably in his mid-fifties, 30 years older than me.
Chase was loaded with attitude. There was no one else in the store, but he kind of ignored me. He seemed to be completely lacking in aloha.
He answered a phone call, and when he hung up, he summoned the giftwrapper from the back room to watch the store because he had to leave briefly. I was surprised when he flashed an apologetic smile my way.
The giftwrapper was about fiftyish, an immigrant, and her nametag said "Esther." She was more laidback than Chase, and we chatted. When I asked her where her boss had gone, Esther said, "Lady fell in parking lot. Lady was bringing by lunch like she always do."
I assumed that she was talking about an elderly female customer who sometimes brought lunch.
When I remarked that Chase seemed "stuck-up," Esther said, "No, no, Chase very sweet, but he been through very much!" Inevitably, she shared with me that Chase was from a family in Kona, the eldest of seventeen kids. When he was 19, he fell in love with a woman 20 years older than he. His parents objected and basically banished him from the family. One day, he had a loving mom and dad, and sixteen younger siblings, all of whom he had helped raise and whom he loved like crazy, and the next day they were all gone from his life.
Chase came back to the store shortly afterward, helping along a frail old lady and carrying a bag of bento lunches. Ultimately he led her to the back room.
I whispered to Esther, "Is that his mom?"
"No," she said, "that's Lady."
"You mean his lady?"
"That's his lady and her name is Lady. That's his wife."
My first thought was that this guy was locked in a miserable marriage, and I felt sorry for him. And yet I imagined the two of them eating their bento, the side of his knee pressed gently against hers, no trace of anguish or quiet fury in their interaction, no longing for something better. There had to be love in the way that he adjusted his speed to match the slow motion of her chopsticks. And that was, in the end, all that mattered.