One day during our stay on Maui, while John was playing tennis, I drove into Lahaina Town, a historic whaling village crowded with restaurants, jewelry stores, and trinket shops. The beauty of Maui pulled at my senses. A gardener at heart, the tropical landscape touched me deeply. I wanted to stop and examine every flower and breathe in the lush odors, the sweet smell of rain and decay and flora. I was particularly fascinated with Lahaina Town’s gigantic one hundred-year-old banyan tree that covered a whole block across from the harbor.
I sat under the tree for a long time to gather my thoughts, gazing at its magnificence and at the harbor beyond with its slew of yachts twinkling in the background. I had been raised by a show business family, professional dancers, who almost made it to the glitzy heights of vaudeville when that era ended. They had experienced the high of performing at the Palace Theatre in New York and the low of honky tonk bars in Bakersfield, California, or Winnemucca, Nevada. How many times had my grandmother emphasized to me that it was as easy to marry a man with money as it was to marry one that was poor?
Sitting under the spread of the banyan tree, I knew that I had married John because I believed he could make my life and the lives of my children easier, but it was also easy to fall in love with him because he seemed a kind man who would be good to my children. Being in love with him was, in truth, a secondary motive. For some unknown reason while I was thinking about my reasons for marrying John, the tree moved into my consciousness. It was so monstrous that it blocked the sunlight, and I noticed the tree’s multitudinous roots which twisted cruelly into the tropical soil, seeking water and the good earth for their sustenance. I wasn’t much different from that tree.
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