Hawaii can be a pretty tropical place when you don’t have a lot on your mind.
I’m sitting under a palm tree on the beach smoking a cigarette. I can hear my family laughing loudly in the background. Probably at all those they left behind in the bitter New England winter.
I’m twenty-three and, for a long time now, I’ve wanted to detach myself from my family. It used to be for reasons of art, I had figured maybe I’d become a famous musician one day. Now I just want to be deemed as an independent.
Though my family won’t vocally talk down to me, you can tell by the tone of their voices they had expected more out of my existence. Don’t get me wrong, I expected more out of myself too. I’ve always been a big dreamer.
I’m currently trying to move out of my parent’s luxury. I’ve had a gig as a chef at this little pizza joint for the last five years now. On the side, I’ve pursued music. I guess you can say the music didn’t work out and, now, I have to get a second job once this little getaway is through.
I take a deep drag off my smoke.
Anyways, I’m with my family now and, as they’ve continuously informed, I should be enjoying myself in such a paradise. At least, while I’m here. Right? Like any decent fellow, I’ve been trying to, but there’s one person that keeps throwing me off.
You see, I’m here with my teenage-acting mother (everyone loves her), my overly conservative father (everyone hates him), my little academic sister (everyone’s so proud of her), and her gorgeous best friend, Melissa.
I hate to admit it, but since my sister met Melissa in college, there was always a little hope in the back of my mind that she’d be into me.
The unfortunate truth is this has always been just that. A hope. And it’s never gone beyond the grasp of a daydream. Which is what I’m currently doing. Right now. On this beach. Daydreaming.
I can hear Melissa’s laughter very prominently. It’s not too loud and it’s not too soft. It’s beautifully pitched and innocently let loose.
You hear some people’s laughter and it just makes you really upset. You know? Like they don’t deserve to laugh. Well, Melissa has every goddamn right to laugh. For she’s truly a rose in a garden of dandelions.
I guess I don’t take too much of a liking to many people. I find most to be too ignorant and unaware of their own well-being. I’ve always turned to my guitar rather than a social event. But Melissa isn’t like those people. She’s very sweet and gentle in expression. She’s got this positive attitude I don’t see in most people in Massachusetts.
This is why I hope she’d give me attention on this trip. I’ll confess, I tried. Maybe too desperately. Yet, I couldn’t even get one of her precious laughs out.
As I should’ve expected, she could care less about me.
I take another drag. This time harder. The sting against my throat makes me feel more like a man.
I recall the instances I had an opportunity. Like, when my parents and sister went to meet up with my Uncle Sal who’s staying a few doors down at our hotel. I was left alone with Melissa and attempted at making small talk. But she was more interested in her phone.
I wish I was as interesting as a phone.
Then there was this morning on the beach. I had come out for a quick smoke and Melissa came out for a tan. She laid next to me. I guess not to feel awkward. I tried again at making small talk, but she was more interested in her headphones.
I wish I could make music she wanted to listen to.
I take another drag. The cigarette is nearly out. I toss it and light another.
Melissa, man. I’ll tell you. She’s all that’s been on my mind this whole trip.
I look over to take a peek at her beauty and, to my surprise, my parents have left. It’s just my sister and Melissa. And two well-built men with confidence. Well, I assume they have confidence because Melissa’s laughter won’t stop. You can almost hear it rolling into the ocean. It teases me with gentle delight.
I feel this compulsion to pull her up on Instagram and scroll around her profile. For no particular reason other than to daydream further.
I restrain. I just wish I had my guitar. Whenever I play music, I forget about everything. Which is why I kept pushing for a career in it.
To get paid to forget about my desperate life.
The contradiction in that statement makes me cringe a bit and I take another drag. It washes the nerves away smoothly.
With another peek at Melissa and a crisp view of her flirtatious eyes, I know I’ve lost all hope. I’d never gain the ability to get her to look at me that way.
Probably due to the fact that I’m nothing more than another pizza cook. Flipping away pies while those well-built men are getting degrees. Studying something that’ll have an impact on the world. That’ll bring in plenty of money.
I can’t say I never attempted for those things. I pushed with my music for the sake of having some kind of impact. Maybe I didn’t push hard enough.
In their fairness, I was never really good with women, to begin with. Especially the pretty ones.
It never hit me how to break past small talk and get into a worthwhile conversation. I’ve always just been too much of a daydreamer.
Fantasizing about a me better than I really am.
Admittedly, I picked up a guitar for the first time at seventeen for all I’m talking about now. At that time, I really had nothing going for me. No ambition. No way of standing out. Nothing notable.
I figured a talent would give me all these things and maybe start reeling in some pretty girls.
So, with too much time on my hands, I practiced the shit out of my guitar. Ironically, I got the talent I had always wanted. People tell me all the time. But I never stood out nor got any more attention from women.
I like to blame the new age electronic music for this. However, I’m well aware it has to do with the fact that my personality never changed with the guitar.
Though I can’t be certain, I get the feeling these bad vibes have to do with the fact that I never got over daydreaming. Even with my ability to play guitar, I continued to desire more out of myself. And this more goes beyond learning an instrument. It’s so much more.
I take a deep drag.
Turning around for another peek, I notice Melissa, my sister, and the well-built men are gone. Probably off to enjoy their youths. Celebrating the life they never had to dream about.
I guess I can do the same thing. I can go out there and get that more I fantasize about.
But it’s funny. I’m quite comfortable on this beach. Under this palm tree. Smoking my cigarette. Daydreaming.
I don’t really want to move.