Just Friends

           Sitting on the hood of my Civic, I closed my eyes and inhale the salty sea air. I love that smell, the smell of nature: crisp, pure and wholesome. To be one with the earth and all that shit. I snickered. The ocean wind flowed throughout my body as I embraced its coolness.
           “Hey cuz, wake up, you stay all lepos or what?” Kai joins me on the hood of my car as I open my eyes. The view of the ocean is that first thing I see, then I turn my head to my best friend Kai, who is just as fucked up as me. His blood shot hazel eyes bore into my brown ones as he nudged me with a beer bottle. We had just finished off a joint and Kai left me in my own thoughts for a couple minutes to grab beer when his cousins pulled up in the next parking space near my car.
           Sandys beach is beautiful at this time of night. It was around eleven, and the full moon’s light glowed against the crushing waves as the sand sparkled its soft glow.
           “Ho, I wish I could live on the beach, just hang all day, smoke all night, dat would be cool, yeah?” I turned to Kai who handed me one of his two Heinies he had with him
           “Why cuz, you like be sovereign, like my cousin Kaniala dem?” Kai laughed. He turned and leaned against my hood, and stared at the sky.
           “Nah would be cool, can cruise all night like dis,” He closed his eyes, and I knew he was thinking the same. Kai was the only one who could read my thoughts.
           I met him in eighth grade at Keaau Intermediate School. He had moved from Kaneohe to Puna that year and was the new kid, which meant he was the subject to everyone’s curiosity at school. He had charisma and boldness, and made friends fast. The first time I saw him was at lunch recess his first day. He was already hanging out with popular Bobby Kekui and his crew. I remember the seventh grade hoochies with their tight midriff tops and stuffed bra’s trying their adolescent slutty moves in trying to hook up with him. His hazel eyes and warrior built appealed to all the middle school girls.
           I was shy and nerdy back then, so I never talked to anybody remotely popular. Until the school year was almost over and the day Elijah Medina stole my backpack. I left my backpack on the top part of the stairs in front of school. I was waiting after school for the bus, then walked up the stairs to talk a teacher passing through. I saw Elijah take off with my bag and run down the stairs. My teacher yelled out his name as Elijah hurried his merry way. Kai was towards the bottom of the stepts waiting for his ride and took off after Elijah. Kai caught up with him pushed him off the last three bottom steps. Elijah came up with blood on his knees, outraged and wanting to scrap, until he realized it was Kaipo Cabalos that pushed him. Kai grabbed his scrawny scarecrow body by his shirt. Elijah almost shit his pants. He dropped my bag as I ran down the stairs to retrieve it. The teacher took Elijah to the office, and I stood face to face with my future best friend.
           “Thank you.”
           I felt so shame, for Kai was out of my caliber. I must’ve been blushing like crazy. Even to this day when me and Kai talk about our first meeting, he remembers my shyness the most. He said it was cool, cause he never met anyone so shy before. I remember everything since it was the first time anyone popular did something nice for me. It’s funny cause back then I thought it would be the only conversation we would have.
           “No worries, sistah,”
           He smiled, a friendly smile. “Hey, you Christa, hah? I hear you da real smaht one.” Yup, confirmation I was a well known nerd back then. I felt even more shame.
           “Yeah, I guess so.” I didn’t know what to say. Suddenly the bus pulled up whipping into the school and screeching around the roundabout to us waiting kids.
           “Dat’s yo bus?“ We both looked at the oncoming bus as all the kids rushed down the stairs to line up, as we stood in the midst of the crowd.
           “Yeah,“ I figured he didn’t want to be seen with me. I understood.
           “K-den sistah, see yah lataz.” He gave me his friendly smile and showed me the shaka and turned to pick up his folder he was sitting on.
           “Bye.” I slung my bag on my back and lined up with the other kids. I thought that was the last time I would ever talk to him, but Kai was always friendly to me after that. He was going out with Sherri Imai and she would give me sassy looks every time he said hi to me. The last day of school we spoke again while we both were waiting for rides after school. He told me he had broken up with Sherri when he found she was fooling around with Greg Santos. He said he’d see me next year. As his ride pulled up I waved bye. Yeah right, I remember thinking.
           Ninth grade we ended up in the same english class together. Suprisingly, Kai sat by me in class.
           At first, I figured Kai sat by me cause I smart, and he admitted it to me couple months later in class. He thought it was a sly move until he realized I wasn’t coming to school on a regular basis. He said I threw his game plan out the door, he figured he would have it easy if he sat by me. He wondered what happened to me, since I was suppose to be the A plus plus student and I wasn‘t living up to my rep. It was the year my grandpa died, and I had hard time coping. It was his curiosity of my truancy that brought us together and by the end of ninth grade, we were tight friends. We remained friends until the end of high school. Then we both moved to Oahu after graduation and I didn’t see him for a couple months. He reappeared into my life from a short phone call and been pretty inseparable since then. Now we are both twenty, and shared a bond like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Too bad we weren’t movie stars though.
          “Ho, I bettah go check my cousins guys out befoa dey drink all da beer,” Kai suddenly got up from the hood and looked over to the car next to us, where three guys stood with beers in their hands around a red igloo cooler.
          “I wen trade one joint for moa den a couple beers,” He looked my way “I going claim my share, you like me come back or you like come?”
          He got off the hood of my car.
          “I like come,” I jumped off the hood and followed. “Who’s dat anyway?” I asked him. I followed his easy going braddah stride and caught up with him.
          “Only Kalani, Scott and Joe,” Kai yelled at his cousins. “WHAASSUUPPP!”
          All three guys turned to look at us as we approached them. His cousin Kalani is skinnier version of Kai, with the same hazel eyes and dark skin. Kalani’s younger brother Scott, is light skinned and husky and didn’t look anything like them. They were cruising with their friend Joe, a slick looking skinny portagee dude with gelled hair and enough acne to last a teenager a lifetime. He was most dorkiest looking one but the loudest of the bunch. Me, Kai and his cousins usually hung at Sandy’s every Tuesday night on my night off from work. He had a variety cousins from the Windward side meeting us every Tuesday, so I always had to ask who was coming every week. We stayed there until the cops came, then me and Kai usually headed back to town for a munchies fest at Zippys or Jack in the cracks drive through.
          “Hey Chris, how’s work?,” Joe smiled at me, and took a swig of his beer. Kai told me he had a crush on me. How thrilling.
          “Shitty, why you like my job?,” We all stood in a circle with the igloo cooler in the middle. “Howzit Kalani, Hi Scott.” I figure I greet them since obviously they weren’t going to say anything.
          I got a couple non-chalant whassups from them. They weren’t particular fond of me. I knew it was because they thought I didn’t belong with them, since I was a girl, and I wasn’t considered available pussy. So kill fight from the beginning. But I guess out of respect for their cousin, they kept their mouth shut and tolerated me.
          RIIINNGG! My Iphone went off. All the guys looked at me. I stared back and looked at my caller ID and recognized the call. It was Tiny, my petite nude dancer friend with Angelina Jolie lips and Jennifer Lopez‘s body. I pressed the talk button and put the phone to my ear.
          “Chris, Chris,” I could hardly hear, it sounded as though she was whispering.
          “Hello?” Kai and his cousins were immersed in their conversation on who was the best all around UFC mixed martial arts heavy weight champion. I could hardly hear her. “Hello?”
          Tiny’s voice suddenly became clear. “Chris, I need your help. You know Roger, the guy I checking out?” Tiny was always checking out two or three guys at a time, so I couldn’t figure out who Roger was right off the bat.
          “Roger? The one from Ewa Beach?” I turned away from the boys and walked a couple feet towards my civic.
          “NO! Roger the guy from Cali, the one I met at the mall,” Tiny’s voice sounded urgent. She didn’t even let me answer.
          “Girl, I stay at his house, in his bathroom, me and him was getting it on, and I started feeling him up and I wen feel bumps on his dick, you know on the head part.”
          “WHAT?” I didn’t know what else to say.
          “ I wen feel these bumps….” she started to repeat herself.
          I cut her off. “I heard you the first time, then what?”
          “I wen tell him I needed fo use the bathroom, and I wen grab my phone and call you. He must be thinking I taking a shit since I taking so long, but I needed fo know about his dick since I nevah feel bumps before on a boto and I know you work at dat kine stoa so you must know.”
          Did she think I was a sex expert just because I worked in a porn store? Geez. I sighed.
          “How many bumps had?”
          “Had plenny, “ she continued. “His head was covered, felt like pimples on his boto.”
          “Ewww, girl, that sounds like VD, maybe herpes or something like that. You better wash your hands.” I was getting grossed out. I didn’t want to hear about some guy’s dick with bumps. She was full on killing my buzz. Fuck, this is my night off.
          Common sense would tell you to put your pants back on and get the hell away. But Tiny fit the stereotype about being beautiful but not bright. She’s smart girl academically, she’s in KCC‘s nursing program, but her common sense was nonexistent. Tiny is the girl every guy loaded with testosterone would go for and any gay guy would put on their oof list if they were straight.
          “He sounds like he got a dirty dick,” I sighed. “Lose him, and lose him fast, girl just put your pants back on and tell him your mom called or something.” As I waited for her answer, I looked towards the boys to see if they were lighting up. I needed a toke, badly.
          “But Chris my mom is dead, I cannot tell him that,” Tiny wailed in my ear.
          “JUST LIE, ANNABETH! HE DOESN”T KNOW THAT YOU’RE MOM IS DEAD!” See what I mean? The light bulb is really dim. I didn’t mean to use her real name but after killing my buzz, she deserved to get yelled at.
          “Oh okay, shheeezzz, no need get mad. I talk to you laters. Where you stay anyway?” Tiny’s tone change from exasperation to mellow, trying to make good with me.
          “Sandy’s,” In a flat voice. I kept looking over the guys, and I saw Scott bust out a joint. I needed to end this conversation.
          “K den, Tiny, lataz,.”
          Thanks Chris, I talk to you lataz,” Click.
          Wheeww. Thank goodness that was over. Scott started to light up again and I headed towards the heavenly goods. Scott passed the joint over to Kalani.
          “Whose dat?” Kai asked me as he took the stoogie from Kalani who was looking up at the stars, holding his toke in.
          “Tiny,” I answered, in a sullen voice.
          “Wat you guys talking about, I heard overheard VD,” Kai stopped talking to inhale a hit, breathing deeply. Kalani had let go of his hit, and started coughing. Joe and Scott started laughing, hitting his back.
          “Yeah Tiny got some dude with a dirty dick,” I explained as Kai passed the joint over to me. I took it by its crotch, made from a matchbook cover. I inhaled as I saw the cherry turn brighter, and sucked in as much as I could although the hit was harsh. It took some strength to hold it in. It felt like someone scratching my throat with acrylic nails as I inhaled. I passed the joint off to Joe, who touched my fingers with the joint. His fingers were cold.
          Kai started laughing throwing his hit off. He exhaled and cough at the same time. “What? That girl cracks me up, man, shes a freak, I swear chicks say worse things than guys,” Kai pounded his chest. Kalani, Rob and Scott looked at me with interest as they heard the word freak.
          “Who dat cuz?” Kalani’s face all interested.
          Geez, this guy never get laid for awhile or what? He looks like a dog hanging his tongue out for a treat. I felt like giving him a milkbone. I stood there trying to hold in my hit. I let it go, and sputtered only a couple times. Just like a pro.
          “Brah!” Kalani spoke with force, turning a one syllable word into two.
          “ Chris’s stripper friend, Tiny, she’s hot, she got the Jlo look, but she’s short like dis,” Kai brought his hand to his chest, showing Tiny‘s height.
          “But that girl is fine. The only thing brah, she kinda nuts, she hits them corners a lot.” Kai stopped and looked at me, checking my reaction to his description of my friend. I really didn’t care what he had to say about Tiny. I was too busy enjoying my high, as I stood there in my own little world. I didn’t want to think about shit. I was only paying attention to half of their conversation.
          I caught Joe looking at me, his bloodshot eyes trying to bore into mines, but I avoided his gaze. I stared at the ocean, my side eyes seeing his lustful stare. He was a turn-off big time.
          “What you mean cuz, hit the corners? Like she like fo do’em all over the place?”
Kalani hit Scott and they both laugh. Kalani started to make the oofing motion with his hips.
          “Yah, baby, yah! Let me get yah in the kitchen, on that table,” He started to move his hips fast back and forth. He made spanking motions with his right hand.
          “Who’s your daddy?” Kalani yelled out as the boys started laughing. He must be a lousy fuck the way he giving us a sample of his oofing motion. No wonder he had bad luck with girls.
          “No brah, hitting the corners, you know, like she likes to get around town…….and the country, from the mountains to the sea,” Kai continues. ”She easy like one sunny side omelet. But nah, she’s cool. Dat kine girls good fun, but only good fun fo talk story. Moa bettah have one chick, the kine who take care.” Kai glanced at me with his red eyes and I looked back. Kalani caught our look.
          He stopped his oofing motion and said, “Nah brah, who like one chick? Dey only like take your money and daey stay bitchy all da time. Den no like even give em to you,wen you stay horny and shit. Shitty one chick. More bettah have the slam, bams, dats more garunteed and no moa da commitment. Das da best kine, otha than dat, chicks is lose money”
          Scott agreed with his brother while nodding and saying “Yeah shitty chicks”
           Kai stared at Kalani with glassy eyes, irritated. I knew that look well. Kalani’s starting to step on Kai‘s groove. If Kalani wasn’t careful he would unleash another being in his cousin. All the years I known Kai,I know Kalanis talk was pissing him off big time. But in Kai fashion, he used humor before rage.
          “Nah brah, no say dat kine stuff about chicks. Not all of em bad. Maybe cause you like the trophy girl, the one dat look all dat,” Kai made a sassy hip motion, then he continued. Everyone laughed.
          “But all you looking at is the nani, and not da person. Dose chicks only going use and abuse you.” Kalani, Scott and Joe stood there entranced, as if they never heard this before. What a bunch of dorks.
          “You find one cool chick, with da looks and one good vibe, you going be alright.” Kai looked around. “Where da joint went? Someone when stop passing em.” Joe was still holding on to the joint, letting it burn without passing it around. Scott shoved him and he gave the joint to Scott.
          Kalani laughed as he watched Scott inhaled.
          “Yeah right cuz, no moa dat kine chick. You not going find one cool chick wit looks. Only da kine cool chicks dat kinda cute. But most of them already taken and wat eva get left is butt ugly.” Scott exhaled and choked with laughter as Kalani spoke his last sentence. They hi-fived each other. Kai stood there and shook his head.
          “Nah brah get some cool kine.” Kai repeated himself softly, and looked at me again. Our gaze held for a couple seconds, and I turned my head away. I suddenly felt uncomfortable. The way Kai stared at me made me feel weird.
           Kalani started staring me and he was making me feel weird too.
          “Why, you talking about yo friend standing next to you?” He emphasized on the friend part. I was quiet all this time listening their conversation, but when Kalani said that I butted in.
          “Wat you trying…….” Kai cut me off.
          “Wat you trying fo say, hah?” Kai spoke harshly. Everyone glanced at each other in surprise. If Kai was only smoking, he would’ve stayed mellow. Kalani just stepped into broken glass and he was going to let it dig deeper in his skin. He wasn’t about to let his cousin be the bull the conversation.
          “Why you always gotta bring her fo?” Kalani lurched his shoulders back and held his chest out.
          “Fuck she no belong hea wit da boys. I thought we da the boys and da boys stick togetha. Unless you get something going on wit her? If not, brah, let me take a shot, I like chance.” He came up to me and grabbed my arm.
          “Fuckah, let go of me.” I yelled out. I twisted my arm away from him. Kalani gave me a menacing look. Scott and Joe stood there, watching.
          Kai grabbed Kalani’s shirt from the back and got him off me, and let go as Kalani turned and went into Kai’s face. They stood there face to face, eyeing each other out, each circling, like a rooster ready to attack its opponent. Kalani stopped moving, then he laughed.
          “Wat brah, we cuzzins, why you going let pussy get in da way?” Kai brought his hands up shoved Kalani hard in the chest. Kalani flew back and tripped on concrete parking barrier, almost falling. Scott rushed to help his brother and Kalani pushed him roughly away.
          “Wat cuz, you get something going on with her? No one going act dis nuts unless dat’s yo chick. Brah, why you just no say?” Kalani stood his ground, not wanting to get closer.
          Kai moved towards him. “Fuck you cuz. We just friends. What wrong wit having friends?”
          Kalani made a snorting noise. “Yeah right."
          Kai rushed Kalani. Scott ran in between them trying to be the barrier. I went after Kai, but my short body couldn’t compete with his built frame. I grabbed his arms, but he flung from me as if I was a plastic shopping bag riding the wind. He tried to move around for a clear shot, but Scott’s stocky body is what held him back from throwing. I must admit Scott was a pretty damn good barrier. Scott kept yelling, nah, nah, nah, chill, chill, chill, while Kai kept trying to get over his stocky cousin to reach his mouthy one.
          Kalani wouldn’t shut up. “Yeah right, NO guy just can be friends wit one chick.“ I went in front of Kai, trying not to step on his feet. Joe just stood near the car in the same spot, watching with amusement in his face.
          “It always comes down to the nani, no mattahs,no fool yo self cuz!” Kalani smirked.
          “Kai!! Nough already,” I yelled. Kai’s warrior spirit devoured him. He stared at Kalani and had the hunger in his eyes, the one I seen too often right before a scrap. I had to bring him back to our world, to the reality that he was about to bust up his cousin for stupid talk.
          “Nough, Kai, let it go” I spoke softer, as he continued to stare at Kalani. Kalani stare back, with hints of amusement in his eyes. He wanted see if I was the bomb diffuser with Kai the bomb.
          Kai looked my way but I couldn’t stare back, I avoided his eyes and looked at his nose, trying to softly reason with him.
          “Das ok, he stay drunk, tomorrow you guys going be alright, no worries, it’s just stupid talk…”
He kept staring, and I finally I glanced into his eyes.
His eyes were a shade of gray under the streetlight, the same color when combining different shades of paint to reach that dirty gray. His eyes burned with rage. I clamped his arm and tighten my grip and continued to speak.
          I look over at Kalani and caught his smirk while Scott kept talking about how they family and they shouldn't be beefing.
          I looked back into Kai nose again.
          "Nough, already." I whispered. I held on to his arm, my hand a deflating pump as Kai’s shoulder went from rigidness of a sharp mountain to a smooth slope of a hill.
          I looked into his eyes and saw the light hazel green returning from the grey metamorphosis. He slowly came back to reality, from his warrior spirit world. I pushed him a little to make sure.
          Kai looked at me. “Wat Chris, you like scrap too,” he said jokingly towards me. Kalani and Scott looked at his cousin, with amusement in their faces.
          “We go home already, nuff all dis talk.” Sheez its like talking about politics and religion. These boys no can handle.
          Kalani and Scott kept looking at him as if he just fell off a choice wave.
          Kai ignored them as he walked towards our cars. Kalani and Scott turned their stare at me as I followed.
          “Lataz Chris, lataz Kai,” Joe threw us a little wave from his sedimentary spot. Kalani walked towards the igloo cooler and grabbed a beer. He leaned against his car, as Scott followed his brother‘s lead.
          “You not going say bye?” I asked Kai as I walked to the driver side of my car.
          “Fuck no,” he said as he opened his door. I jumped in my car and Kai slammed his door. As we both started up our cars, I heard Kalani yelling.
          “Brah, memba wat I told you tonight.” He then shouted.
“You still my cuz, Blood run thicker than nani! Always,cuz!!”
          Kai ignored his cousin and rolled up his window and peeled out of the parking lot.
          As I reversed out, I glanced at the group of boys, looking at their smug faces, as they laughed with each other. I knew they were talking shit about us.
          After a Jack in the Cracks drive through munchies run, I came home and plopped on the couch and turned on the tv. In my weed induced state of mind, I started thinking about what happened. Tonight was the first time I ever felt uncomfortable around Kai. I thought about Kalani’s words but before I reached any conclusions, the tv began watching me and drooled the night away.

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