Every morning in Hawaii, Bubba sets his alarm for 6:15, gets up and showers, throws the nearest t-shirt and swim trunks on, shakes Eve awake, and the two of them tiptoe out the door. They walk down the beach to the Hula Hut, grab Bubba a latte and Eve a cup of tea, and wander back to sit in lounge chairs and stare at the ocean until Lola and I stagger down around 7:30 for breakfast.
One morning, Lola decides she wants to walk, too. She thinks we should all walk together, and the prospect of getting a hot chocolate at the Hula Hut is the icing on the cake. The four of us head down in the elevator together but as soon as our flip flops hit the walkway we separate. Two-and-two. Bubba and Eve leading the way, Lola and I lagging behind. Talking. Looking for geckos. Making percussive beats with our feet.
By the time we hit the beach, those two are way ahead. Lola and I walk with our heads down, picking out bird tracks in the sand, finding holes where the crabs have dug themselves in so far you can't see anything but darkness, making patterns in the sand to confuse anyone who might be tracking us.
Bubba and Eve are on a mission. Drinks and then beach chairs. That is their sole focus. Lola fusses that they are missing all of the cool stuff we are seeing. I try to call them back, but it's not their way. They have a goal. A purpose. We are simply walking. And talking.
"I don't know why nobody wants to talk about what happens after you die. Some people just tell me that you go to Heaven and that's it, " Lola says. "But what if you don't? And even if you do, you have to feel something, right? People say you don't feel anything after you die because you're dead, but you're still something, right?"
She's not upset or angry, sad or timid. She is simply philosophical. She wants to have this discussion, to explore the possibilities, and so we talk. We talk about how some people believe in reincarnation and others believe in Heaven and Hell, and how there are probably even some out there who believe in some form of both. We wonder whether you get to choose what you get to be in your next life and if all living beings experience the same sensations and opportunities after death.
Lola picks out some tracks in the sand - someone was wearing flip flops with an interesting pattern and she stops to trace what she calls a 'puzzle piece' in the center of it. We collect bits of coral that have washed up on the beach and discover the tiny slashes in the sand where baby crabs have skittered from their safe holes to the sea.
We meet Bubba and Eve at the Hula Hut and order our drinks and when they head back to claim beach chairs, Lola and I resume our slow, meandering discovery of the day.