For the final installment of my November columns about things I am grateful for (because it’s all ingratitude from here on out!), I will write about a no-brainer: the fact that Logan and I were recently able to take a vacation – just the two of us – to Hawaii.
When I was a kid, my parents took a trip to Hawaii, and when they returned, all suntanned and relaxed, they promised my brothers and me that they would take us there someday.
I took them at their word and pined for a visit to a tropical paradise for years and years, but for a number of reasons (cancer being chief among them), they were never able to keep that promise.
For decades, Hawaii has been my white whale; I’ve managed to travel to Europe, Central America, the Middle East and even exotic Lethbridge, Canada. But never, for some reason, could I get myself to Hawaii.
And then, in 2019, Southwest Airlines started flying to the islands, which coincided nicely with the fact that we have a Southwest credit card that has racked up about five bazillion travel points. Suddenly, taking my long-awaited trip seemed attainable.
With this being the year of our 20th anniversary, Logan and I decided it was now or never. We tallied up our points, bought tickets to Oahu and started packing our bags. OK, actually, we agonized over it for weeks, then bought our tickets and then started packing our bags five hours before we were supposed to leave. That’s just how we roll.
If you’ve traveled on Southwest Airlines, you know they use a system of “boarding groups” that are determined on a first-come, first-serve basis of who checked into the flight the earliest. If you get in boarding group A, you are pretty much guaranteed a seat next to your beloved and a view unimpeded by an airplane wing.
But if you’re in boarding group C, you might as well say sayonara to anyone you’re traveling with and set up shop in the middle seat directly across from the bathroom at the very back of the plane because that is most certainly where you’ll be sitting for the next five to seven hours.
We are no strangers to boarding with the sorry saps in boarding group C, but we managed to snag coveted A positions for our flights to Hawaii. I knew it was going to be the romantic trip of a lifetime when we settled into an empty span of three seats, and Logan leaned over the empty middle one to whisper something in my ear.
“I’m going to look at my phone and pretend I don’t know you,” he hissed, thus setting my heart aflame. I knew what he was getting at, of course: If it looked like we weren’t acquainted, passengers would be less likely to request we scoot together so they could take the remaining seat. Being in love is one thing; having enough elbow room on a five-hour flight is quite another.
We continued this romantic arc for the remainder of our trip, doing such bonding activities as stuffing ourselves senseless each day with shave ice; applying sunscreen to each other’s bald head (Logan) and overly freckled shoulders (me); and working together to manually pull closed the defective windows of our rental car each time we parked.
I showed my true colors on one of the last days of our trip when Logan and I were at one of Oahu’s many gorgeous beaches and were bobbing in the water, chatting and laughing. Suddenly, a dark shape appeared between our floating legs, which, if you know me, is one of my No. 1 worst nightmares: Shark attack! We’re all going to die!
“What is that?! What is that?!” I screeched over and over, lunging behind Logan and exposing him alone to the unknown creature. As it lazily swam away, we realized that it was just a friendly sea turtle merely passing by to say, “You’re a terrible wife. I’m going to go tell the sharks.”
Nothing says “Happy 20th Anniversary” like offering your spouse up to be eaten instead of you. And nothing says “I love you” right back more than laughing about it and heading off to grab another shave ice.
Julia Ditto shares her life with her husband, six children and a random menagerie of farm animals in Spokane Valley. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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