We stood on the edge of the Pacific Ocean as the setting sun filtered through a bank of clouds, the glow hanging over us like a hallucinatory dream. At our side, two beach bums gave witness, people whom neither John nor I knew but who endorsed our marriage as we stood on the shifting sand without our families or friends to support us.
That September day in 1980, John and I were on the island of Maui, one of those honeymoon-touted Hawaiian Islands where the native language has a distinct musical quality when the long words are pronounced correctly. Our words of faith and devotion, however, seemed unnatural to the tropical setting as the trade wind blew them back in our faces and sand seeped into my sandals.
A half hour earlier, we’d walked to the manager’s office of our honeymoon condo. There we met the two strangers who had volunteered the day before to be our witnesses. I remember neither, except that they supplied us with luscious multiple flower leis. There in the cramped office space, everyone seemed languid except me. I felt as trapped as a cat thrown into a dark gunny sack—the world a sudden unknown place.
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