The Surgeon’s Wife
After five hours islands appear on the horizon and I can tell by the gentle slopes they’re volcanic. The one on our right is Maui. Lots of green stuff sprouts up and then pavement and we land and pull up to a two-story building with a roof with a gentle slope too. It doesn’t look like they have snow around here. Even familiar plants like Elephant Ears are gigantic. Birds of Paradise are gigantic Birds of Paradise. Bromeliads are immense Babylonian towers of color. Yellow, red, white, Hibiscus, grow on both sides of the roads like common bushes. The hotel is just around the bend.
We pile out of the car and a tiny brown-skinned lady places a wreath of plumeria or kukui nut lei around our necks, saying, “Aloha.” just like in the movies.
‘Ah, she just said it, the one word I’m sure I know what it means.’
The Grand Wailea Resort is formidable, impressive, with high roofs, scenic vistas, and island-themed designs laid out on smooth terrazzo floors. An environment all gild and flash. Paintings are simply not enough, so massive bronze sculptures, prints, mosaics, and rows of chaise lounge chairs vie for your attention. They place the reclining chairs around an azure pool, in the shade of dazzling white umbrellas. Well-fed tourists sit there, lay there, buttering each other up with sunblock and insincere compliments. Like all resorts, it is a lavish formal exercise in grand consumption dressed up in casual clothes. Bellboys wear white linen shorts and flowered shirts, but they are still bellboys, licking boots for their perks. I feel as insubstantial as a ghost.
The golf cart didn’t make much noise, and when the wind was just right, you could hear every word.
“Honey, you look great in that new bikini. You’ve really know how to count calories. I know it isn’t easy.”
“Waiter, could you get my husband a bib? I believe he’s starting to drool,” said the fashionably sleek woman. She knew her business, and her husband’s, the successful plastic surgeon from Newport Beach who didn’t look a day over thirty. He’d lifted her body so many times it wasn’t funny.
Her eyes were hidden behind Jimmy Choo sunglasses. She was looking down, gazing at her French-tipped nails idly tinkling ice cubes against the side of her Mai Tai, sporting a pink bamboo umbrella in a frosted glass. She was one of those women who laughed at danger. She relished taking chances. Bring on the knives. She qualifies for the physician’s wife’s discount, and asks for it with a smile.
“Oh, it wasn’t too hard. Those dozens of hormone shots in the belly didn’t bother me one bit.”