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Dedicated to Our Girls
Submitted by Fiona
I was his Transition Woman.
Introduced by friends who thought we'd have a lot in common, Joe was a single father raising two small girls; I was a woman with a ton of love to give.
We also had Hawaii.
Joe was born there, but hadn't been there for years. I am obsessed with ancient Hawaiian culture; I study the Hula and the Hawaiian language.
Our first date went disastrously. He was mystified by my passion for his island home and even joked that I knew more Hawaiian than he did.
I thought I'd made a lousy impression, but he called me the next day. I tried not to act surprised, especially when he asked about my favorite Hawaiian restaurant.
Next thing I knew, he was swiping the poi from my Plate Lunch, but that date was a lot more fun.
Saying goodnight at my door, his smile faltered. I realized, "Whoa, this guy is really gunshy."
I bid him "Aloha nui ahi ahi." He didn't even know it meant goodnight.
Joe started calling me every couple of days, but didn't ask me out again for weeks.
"You're the Transition Woman," my friends said. "Have no expectations."
I heard he was dating other women. My heart sank like a brick balloon.
I wasn't his Transition Woman. I wasn't even in his head, I decided.
So why was he now calling me every night?
Three weeks after our first date, we went to a Hawaiian festival. I will never forget his emotional reaction to the Hawaiian national anthem.
He'd remembered it from childhood. Suddenly, he was asking about the Hula. I told him of my love for Queen Liliuokalani and how the school I dance with, honors her. I was shocked how little he knew of his own island's history.
I felt we'd made a breakthrough that day but nothing really changed.
He was distracting me from my studies, not because he was spending so much time with me - but because he wasn't. Loving him brought up all my insecurities. Joe was nowhere near ready to paddle his canoe with me. I had to paddle on my own, knowing I would not capsize without him. I needed to focus on Hula; we were about to go into competition.
In the first round heats at UC Irvine, I saw Joe's shining eyes on me. I was so thrown by his presence I almost missed my step!
Afterwards, he introduced me to his gorgeous girls. Slowly but surely, he let me in. I adored him but by the time I went to Maui for the next competition, he'd pulled away again.
My first morning on the island, my group was rehearsing. I thought it was a mirage but there he was, running across the beach towards us. Joe -and our girls.
In tears, he proposed to me - in Hawaiian. Everybody was crying.
I think it's a love story Queen Liliuokalani might have put to music: Transition Woman Finds Aloha Oe.