Dualities fascinate me.

  • Good and Evil.
  • Sunshine and rain.
  • Rich and poor.
  • Moral and corrupt.
  • Light and dark.
  • Clever and stupid.
  • Love and hate.
  • Prejudice and acceptance.
  • Kind and cruel.
  • Crippled and strong.

The Hawaii I explore in my mysteries is a beautiful place with a seedy underbelly, the land, aina, a place of matchless glory:

Yes, many days are actually like this.

the people, a cornucopia. Hawaii is a complex, multiracial society filled with hidden divisions.

We like this local restaurant and are often the only "haoles" in there when we go.

I am in the enviable position of working in public schools,  a cross-section of island population equal to jury duty in terms of crossing every demographic. If you want to get to know a place, go spend time in its public schools. It's a shame so many involved and supportive families, who could really help raise the bar for our schools, have dumped us for private. But I digress.

A few weeks ago we called Child Welfare on the family of a girl I'm working with. To this day, there has been no visit to the home we're aware of to curtail the non-bruising beatings. Last week I offered to pay her soccer fees: 1) as a way to keep her engaged with pro-social activities, 2) because she's truly an athlete in the making, and 3) to build a bridge to this unstable family.

But it was hard to comfort her this morning as the parent, in a drunken rage, had taken away her soccer ball and said she couldn't participate in sports even with me paying. All because the girl gave a little sass over the drinking. (This told to me as we jogged together across a lush field, shining with dandelions and dew, a rainbow in the background, kicking the  school soccer ball together. Dualities, anyone?)

I wish I were somehow able to take her from this hopeless moment in the sunshine to a time in the future when she's made her own way to somewhere better. I can't.

So I do the bit I can. I've already made out a check to the athletic association, and I tell the girl it's too late, her parent can't pull her out because the check's already in the mail, and I'm calling the parent to tell them so. (I dare them to say no to me. I was in sales before I became a therapist!)

Hopefully I can buy her a little time somewhere she can run and feel strong. Lei, the feisty heroine of my books, would approve. Nothing she hates more than child abuse.

For now, the girl runs ahead of me, kicking the ball, hope restored. Ah, the resilience of youth. Wish I felt stronger too, but my knees are killing me–so I stop to catch my breath and enjoy the rainbow.

It's double. That's gotta mean something, right?

What are some of the dualities that fascinate you? What have you done about them?


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