Maui Getaway

Rona Altrows

Rona Altrows

Rona Altrows is a fiction writer, editor, essayist and playwright living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Her website is There you can learn much more about her and her books.

On landing the little one’s ears hurt so badly he lets out piercing screams, I think it is just due to pressure change and the tiny Eustachian tubes he has inherited from me, but no, three hours later he is still in intense pain and I hop into the rental car with him and drive around until we find a walk-in clinic, where the doctor asks him for his symptoms and he not only describes them precisely but also tells her he has had many ear infections in the past and hopes this is not another one, but if it is, could she please let him have the bubblegum flavored medicine because it works. “He’s a clear historian,” the doctor says, and smiles at him warmly. Tell me about it. At four this kid is more articulate than I was at thirty.

After we buy the amoxicillin it is time to pick up the big one at the airport. He had to come on the later flight because of an exam. Right away the boys begin to fight. The gap between fifteen and four is too great for friendship. The condo we are renting near Kalepolepo Beach has one bedroom, which is no problem because there is a hideaway couch in the living room and I can sleep there, while the boys share the one bedroom, which unfortunately is equipped with only one bed. It’s queen size so there is ample room for both boys, we are small-boned short people, but these guys have king-sized issues and the big one wants his space, period, while the little one wants more room to play. The big one draws an imaginary line down the centre of the room and forbids the little one from crossing it, but the plan is doomed from its inception, because how the hell is the little one supposed to get to the bathroom, which cannot be reached without passing over the big one’s territory. 

The next morning we drive to Mount Haleakala, but I warn them that we can only go halfway up because the doctor at the clinic told us that we should avoid ascending further due to the little one’s ear problem. He has to be well enough to fly in a week and there is no point in tempting fate. The little one wants to go back to the condo and play with his Hot Wheels and the big one complains that the little one has destroyed his chances of seeing a volcano properly. Enjoy what there is to see right now, I suggest, but the boys are not interested in zen moments.

On the trip to Hana we come across a clearing full of feral cats and the little one freaks out because the kitties look skinny and unhappy, where are their people, and who will feed them their kibble tonight? The big one says the cats look stoned.

The outing to Lahaina at last brings respite in the form of a massive banyan tree. Kids are allowed to swing from the long tendrils. The big one grabs one tendril, the little one takes another, and they swing happily like the animals they are.

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