Salt pond is that guy you agree to go on a date with because he is so ridiculously good looking and then sometime between realizing he has sugar teeth, has just pilfered the silverware along with the salt and pepper shakers, and never returned from the bathroom after his payment card was rejected you realize you don’t want to see him again.
I cringed each time my mom requested I meet her there, scrambling with excuses of why I couldn’t when moments before my schedule had been free.
Some background. Because, I’m afraid you won’t see it. I didn’t. The first time I went there, fantastic! White sand, palm trees, turquoise water. I’ll go there on my lunch breaks! And I did. Returning to work with sandy feet, wet hair and a bathing suit under my uniform. It was heaven.
But then I saw faces. Realized there was a campground tucked near the entrance. The faces were also on the wall of my workplace. Some of them I had had the pleasure of snapping photos of myself and taping up. Shoplifters. Very friendly shoplifters. I would be friendly too after downing a ‘free’ bottle of vodka at noon . Granted I might need it if I had to walk barefoot over hot asphalt feeling the whoosh of cars as they sped past, delivering their occupants to the same destination I was headed in the cool comfort of AC. So them. And her.
Curly arrived on Kaua’i via a Hawaiian Airlines flight originating in purgatory. She passed baggage claim on her way out, pulled a large backpack off the conveyor, and proceeded to trek the island, thumb outstretched. Money ran out, and destitute she ended up at the Salt Pond campground.
Her’s was a big albeit sadly shy smile and she was one of those folks you forgot about when they walked away. Or perhaps the lost soul air she gave off was too depressing to hold in my memory so I purged it the moment her back was turned.
She would tell me stories when I rung her up, well more like updates on her life. A constant barrage of being a robbery victim and threats from predatory drug addicts. She got out. Someone who went down there for their pau hana drinks, one of the “uncles” three times her age proposed.
In addition to the trim beer gut of a fisherman he had a house up in the heights and a nice pickup truck. She said yes. Face ecstatic, that sad smile replaced with a more hopeful one when she flashed the ring. They were married down there. The place they met and fell in love.
I should have been left with that fairytale glow I suppose but it became a place I then associated with drugs, robbery, and older guys out on their young wife hunts.
IG and my hashtags are evidence I got over it. Well not really, I discovered you see that Saltpond is a much larger place than the main road and parking would lead you to believe. That it’s full of strange curios creatures, and forgotten things. Things that belong in a post all their own.
So I type you goodnight, and as I thank you for having read this, I hope to write for you again!
Sincerely, The Chauffeur