Is this my life? Am I dreaming a walk through the soft, Hawaiian evening to the Hana Hou Café? My housemate and friend, Karren Louise and I are headed there for some music and a glass of wine. This local dinner house is largely an enclosed patio surrounded by tropical plant life, strung with twinkly lights, and the feel of an old neighborhood restaurant.

We’re not just here for the music, the relaxation, or the pleasurable stroll through the lush, rural streets of our little town. We’re here in support of a person—and truth be told, for our own delight. Our friend, Bentley Kallaway, sings here on Thursday nights. We’ve never heard her perform cover songs like “Fly Me to the Moon” or “Quando, Quando.” We’ve only heard her sing her own music: “Honor Who You Are,” “Counting Miracles,” and “When Brave Hearts Rise.” Bentley is a member of our Peaceful Woman tribe, and more importantly, Bentley is a peaceful woman.

The restaurant is quiet tonight and so she takes the liberty of singing her own music—in fact singing mostly to us. I look over at Karren Louise and her eyes are shining like mine. I’m filled up with this moment—sitting in a little café in Hawaii, sipping a glass of wine, mirroring the joy of my companion, glowing in response to Bentley’s music—her words like love letters to my spirit.

When Bentley takes a break she sits with us and the conversation is a song too. The three of us each sing our parts, words blending around the theme of permission: not waiting to receive it from the outside, but giving it to ourselves. Permission to sing, to move, to create, to answer the call to be more of who we are.

When it’s time to go, we hug Bentley goodbye and go out into the astounding blackness. Once past the parking lot and the town center, the street lights are intermittent and we are dependent on passing cars to find our way. Without sidewalks, it’s a bit unnerving. We call our other housemate for a ride, but she doesn’t answer. Then Karren Louise calls our landlord who is indisposed in the midst of a massage. When we turn onto Haiku Road, it’s blacker still and we join hands, marvel at the quilt of stars, and focus a quarter mile ahead where a street light bathes palm trees in an otherworldly glow.

Arriving at our house, we roll the heavy, metal gate aside and step inside our yard. Something about the contrast flow of Hana Hou’s warmth, the expansive dark, and the safety of home sit well with me.
“Hana Hou,” means, “encore” or “one more time.” I’m sure I’ll make this lovely trek again. It’s the kind of simple, sweet and sensual evening that leaves you wanting more.

A Hui Hou, (Til we meet again)
Maridel