When I was first staying in Pahoa, on the eastern side of the big island of Hawaii, I felt especially lonely. I’d go out to eat, or to a cafe, or to the beach by myself. Rather than listen exclusively to the thoughts circling around in my brain, I often eavesdropped.

It wasn’t usually wholly intentional. I’d get sick of playing with my iPhone, and start paying attention to the people sitting near me. I have very good hearing, so sometimes I’d hear stuff that I didn’t really want to be privy to.

A cafe that I went to quite a few times while in Pahoa, was called Kaleo’s Bar and Grill. They had the best fish sandwich I’ve ever tasted. They would combine the blackened fresh fish of the day, bacon, avocado, tomatoes, and a mango/hot pepper mayonnaise. The result was pure heaven. I’m drooling just thinking about it!

Patio of Kaleo’s Bar and Grill in Pahoa, HI

I was there one afternoon, eating an early dinner out on the porch. A couple of men at a table close to my own were talking about music. They spoke about how they were going to a Midnight Oil concert, to the waitress. I smiled secretively, as I used to love this band. The three of them got into a conversation about music from the 1980’s. Many of the musicians they talked about were unfamiliar to me. They mentioned Tool, and some others that I had heard of, but hadn’t listened to.

When the waitress walked away, I spoke up and told them about my appreciation for Midnight Oil. They were two tables away from me. We both leaned out of our chairs at odd angles, and began to chat.

It turned out they were a couple. I was a little disappointed to discover this, as one guy was especially charming. He had just sold his house in Pahoa, and they were planning on going to the main land, and seeing Midnight Oil perform! I didn’t even know that they were still around! I saw them in concert over 30 years ago. They were great.

We spoke about music a lot. I can’t remember the majority of the bands that we spoke of, but I remember the interaction. These were extremely intelligent and funny men.

I asked them why they were leaving Hawaii, and where they planned on going. They both sort of rolled their eyes. They spoke about how they don’t feel 100 percent safe, being gay with the current administration. They both are feeling ashamed by the U.S.. We talked about how the artists, musicians and people with alternative lifestyles would all be leaving the states soon, to get away from Trump’s mentality. To get away from his rhetoric of hate. Or maybe we’ll all be banished by the government to a deserted island, that’s not anywhere near as nice as Hawaii.

I’m not that political. I don’t like talking politics. But I felt so sad to hear that these guys were going to be traveling through South America, and would likely find a home there.

We talked. And talked. And talked. The conversation went on for about an hour, by the end of which it felt like we were old friends. They never moved to a closer table. Neither did I. We were probably annoying some of the patrons there. But I didn’t care too much. I left before they did. They both told me their names, which I’ve forgotten. We hugged each other tightly, and that was it.

In this case I’m glad that I wasn’t minding my own business. I met a couple of awesome people, that touched me deeply. I had a conversation with them that was intellectually challenging, and thought-provoking. I might have forgotten their names, but I don’t believe that I’ll forget them.

Anthurium flowers were all over the island

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