It’s Friday the 13th. What else can go wrong? Every day brings a surprise. Today he discovers his favorite saucepan, a birthday gift from his uncle, is missing. Yesterday his mother’s glass baking tray. Last week, his best wines. She doesn’t even cook. She was the one who walked out. Why is she doing this?
The rental on his ohana* brings in $1,000, just enough to cover his costs, but the tenant has already given notice. He dreads having to advertise and interview for new tenants. That was her domain. She had told him that it’s not easy to find a good tenant. “ND” means “no drama” —- not “no dogs” or “no drugs” — They have had their share of drama in the last twenty years.
Where is the fat retirement nest egg he has worked so hard in his marriage? He had trusted her with all the finances and dutifully gave up his job to do whatever she told him.
Worried about what else he will lose, he doesn’t notice what and when he eats. This morning, he struggles to fit into his khaki trousers. He has never felt so unfit and heavy. These days, he wakes up too late to go surfing, after trying to dodge the nightmares that compete for centre stage attention.
His right knee hurts when he walks. His left shoulder aches. His eyesight has worsened in the last few months. He can’t see the nose hairs and ear hairs that need trimming. He loathes looking at himself in the mirror. He feels a thousand years old. Who will want him now?
Each morning he drives to work like a zombie, completely wrapped in his own thoughts and oblivious to his environment. Where once a joy to run into her in Kahului, he now deliberately detours to avoid it. His colleagues and students probably all know by now. She has not only moved out but also has a younger boyfriend that she flaunts openly.
“You live in a fantasy world,” she said once. “You can’t have everything.”
She is wrong. He is convinced that somewhere out there a woman will believe in his goodness, that he is an honest, reliable, and kind person worthy of love. He will do whatever it takes to find that person.
Born in the year of the dog, he is loyal. Perhaps he needs to find a woman who is also a dog. Someone his age, 12 years younger, or 24 years younger. A mathematician by heart, he starts to enumerate his bucket list and plan for his future. He remembers the Japanese saying, “If it’s fish you’re looking for, why climb trees?”
Where can he find a pretty girl in her thirties on this island?
*ohana in this context refers to an extra dwelling, like a standalone cottage, that can be rented out or used for relatives and friends who visit. Ohana means family. Many local residents get extra income from rentals.