In 2001, my grandfather died at the age of eighty. His name was Miguel Martinez, but everybody called him "Mike." That's what people call me, too, and always have, although my own given name is "Michael." I didn't know Grandpa Mike well, but since I was his closest surviving relative, I was named executor of his estate.
You've met Mike if you've read the story "Ohana," which was taken almost verbatim from his memoirs. I didn't even know about these memoirs until I went through his effects after he died.
It was quite a story. I read about how he was born of a Hispanic father and a light-skinned Black mother in Los Angeles. When World War II came along, he was able to "pass for white" due to his light skin, and join the Navy. His mother encouraged him to do this, so he could get the specialized training then closed to Black sailors. I read about his adventures in the Navy, including the story of how he participated in orgiastic rites in Hawai'i while on shore leave. He stayed with the Navy after the war, but he eventually felt that he was living a lie, and successfully petitioned the Defense Department to change his racial classification from "white" to "colored." He was the third person to do so.
It didn't stop there. After a twenty-five year career in the Navy, he went on to become a fearless fighter for civil rights. I found letters he'd saved from Martin Luther King, Jr., Bayard Rustin, James Farmer, and other civil rights leaders, along with newspaper clippings of his activities (including not a few arrests for civil disobedience); these I donated to the Smithsonian Institution after making photocopies. But I saved the journal and some pictures of him in his Navy uniform.
As fate would have it, I went to Hawai'i myself a couple of years later. I'm an educator, and was invited to a conference on overhauling the educational system for the state's struggling public schools. I was one of two Blacks in the fifteen-person delegation from Los Angeles. Our group was met at Honolulu Airport by an assortment of high school students, from both public and private schools. The one who came up to me and slipped a lei around my neck was a senior who attended Kamehameha School, a school exclusively for those of Hawai'ian ancestry. To put it simply, she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. My heart instantly melted.
She looked pure Polynesian, with long straight black hair and huge brown eyes. Her frame was slight, her breasts small but firm, her legs long. My first thought was, "My God! It's Lani, the girl in Grandpa Mike's diary, now come to life!" Of course, that would have been impossible -- Lani must have been dead by now, or at least very old -- but this girl could have played the role to perfection. To make the correlation even eerier, her name was Lelani.
As it turned out, she was not only part of the welcoming committee, but of the study group that I was assigned to. I found myself totally tongue-tied by her beauty, but somehow managed to participate in the discussions without sounding like an idiot. Lelani was not only drop-dead gorgeous, but smart as a whip. She had chosen to spend part of her summer vacation on this project, and her knowledge of Hawai'ian culture in general, and of young people in particular, was invaluable.
I wanted to show her my grandfather's journal, and ask her about his experience on the island, but of course it was hardly suitable reading matter for a high-schooler with its detailed portrayal of an orgy. So I kept it in my briefcase, along with the photos of Grandpa Mike.
When the conference disbanded for the weekend, Lelani asked me if I had any plans for the next two days. She'd be happy to drive me around the island, she said, and show me a few beaches. After that, we'd attend a party to be held at her father's house in Kaimuki. So on Saturday morning, she picked me up at the hotel and drove me from Honolulu around the island's southeastern coast to the town of Kailua. I treated her to lunch, and then we hit the beach at Waimanalo.
We were both wearing swimwear under our clothes, and when she disrobed, she took my breath away. Her bikini didn't cover much, and what it covered it still drew attention to. The thin fabric plainly displayed her fat nipples and the cleft of her crotch. She smiled at me, grabbed my hand, scooped up a blanket and a towel from the back seat, and led me down to the seashore. We took a quick dip in the ocean, showered the seawater off at a nozzle provided at the beach for that purpose, and then lay on the blanket to dry, chatting idly about this and that. Then she said four words that caused my heart to skip a beat: "May I kiss you?"
"Is this how you welcome every visitor to your lovely island?"
"Of course not. But ever since I saw you at the airport, I've wanted to kiss you. There was no time, and no opportunity, to do that before. But now we have the opportunity, and the time. I think that we would be fools to waste it. Do you agree?"
"I do indeed. I've been wanting to kiss you, too. And more! But I didn't want to make you uncomfortable, or make you think that I only wanted you for your beauty and sexiness."
"Do you really think I'm sexy?"
"I think you are sexiness itself. Everything I ever wanted in a woman, or in a companion, for that matter. My only fear is that I'll blink, and wake up, and find that you were only a dream."
She pinched me playfully. "You're not dreaming," she said. "Or maybe I am, too. But it's a very nice dream."
I drew her close, and gave her my cheek. She kissed it, and I kissed back. She smelled wonderful, a scent of flowers and seawater and feminine arousal, and soon our kisses became caresses. My hands traveled to her waist, then her belly, then upwards to her breasts. I took a chance and slipped my fingers under her bra, and gave her nipple a delicate pinch. She closed her eyes and smiled. Soon her bra was pushed up, exposing both of those lovely tits, and I was kissing and sucking her nipples as she purred with pleasure. I felt her hand reach into my swim trunks for my cock, already rock hard. She fished it out and deftly stroked me to an orgasm, my cum spurting out onto my chest. I, in turn, slipped my own hand onto her mons and drew circles around her clit. I went further, trying to put a finger into her cunt, but she drew my hand away and said, "No. Not yet. I don't know you that well."
"No hurry," I replied. "You have already given me more than I deserve. I don't have words for it."
"You are a wonderful, gentle, intelligent man. And such lovely dark skin! Please kiss me some more." And we lay there on the beach and pleasured each other through the fabric of our suits, until the shadows of the trees started to lengthen.
"Come on, Mike. We've got to go. The party starts at four." We got up, shook the sand out of the blanket, and headed back to the car, where we put on our street clothes again.
As we drove to her father's house, my mind was a storm of emotions. I thought: I love this girl, even though she is seven years my junior. I found myself wondering how I would come across to her father, a concern that was not assuaged when I'd arrived there. Her father shook my hand, but frowned as he looked at me, and I felt a chill between us. "Call me Philip," he said. "We'll be firing up the grill in a few minutes. Nothing fancy, just hamburgers and hot dogs. There's beer in the fridge in the kitchen. Help yourself." Well, at least he didn't say, "And keep your Goddamn hands off my daughter." I took some comfort from that.
There were some other relatives there, from babes in arms to the short, gray-haired matriarch of the family, whom everybody addressed as "Tutu," which I gathered was Hawai'ian for "grandmother." Children were constantly scampering about, brown and noisy and happy. Dinner was served by and by, and I got to talking with Philip again. He asked my what brought me to Hawai'i, and I explained about the education conference, and how important Lelani's contributions to it had been. I also happened to mention that my grandfather had visited Oahu back in the days of World War Two.
And it might have ended there, had I not mentioned the name of my father's Hawai'ian friend.
"Malu? My father's name was Malu! Of course, he was born during the War, so couldn't have been your grandfather's friend."
"Wasn't Grandfather named for somebody who died in the War?" Lelani asked.
"I think so. An uncle, I think. Or maybe a cousin."
"That's interesting," I said. "My grandfather's friend died in the War."
"I'm sure a lot of people named Malu died in the war," Philip replied. "But how did you come to learn about all this about your grandfather?"
"I have his journal ... his memoirs, actually."
"Really? I'm a bit of a historian ... particularly World War II history, as it pertained to the islands. Everybody knows about Pearl Harbor, but there was a lot more, and there aren't too many accounts about Hawai'ian everyday life from people who weren't native Islanders. I'd like to see that journal."
"I'll be happy to show it to you. I brought it with me."
"In your hotel?"
"No, actually. I brought my briefcase with me, since I didn't trust the hotel's security. They had a break-in in the room two doors down. That journal is very valuable to me, even more than the plane tickets and the other stuff."
"I'd like to see it, too," Lelani said.
"Well, some parts of it are pretty ... racy. I think your dad should read it first, and let him decide."
She made a face. "OK, but don't think my morals would be damaged too much!" I remembered her hand on my spurting cock, and smiled.
And that's how I ended up giving my journal, with the pictures and photocopies tucked inside, to Philip. He said he'd return them in the next day or two. If he had been anybody but Lelani's father, I wouldn't have let them out of my hands, but I really wanted to establish a bond of trust with him, and this seemed like the only way to do it.
Lelani drove me back to the hotel, and we necked a little more, but she wouldn't permit it to go "all the way." We contented ourselves with bringing each other to orgasms with our fingers, and with a great deal of post-orgasmic cuddling. She promised to call me the next day, so we could tour more of the island together.
But it wasn't she who called the next morning. It was Philip.
"Mike? You've got to come out to the house. Right away. Call a cab. I'll pay for it. Here's the address."
"Is everything all right?"
"Oh, yeah. Fine. But I've got somebody here who wants to talk to you."
The cab picked me up five minutes later, and brought me to Kaimuki. To my great relief, it was Lelani who answered the door.
"Lelani! I'm so glad you're OK! I was so worried when I got your dad's call."
She gave me a quick hug, and then I noticed her father standing behind her. He was staring at me, as if seeing me for the first time.
"Hi, Mike. I read your journal last night. And then I gave it to my grandmother. As soon as she started reading it, she insisted on seeing you. Right away."
He led me to another part of the house, a sort of den, with two small sofas and a larger chair. The chair was occupied by an old woman, the matriarch I'd seen briefly the day before. There was a cup of tea, half empty, on a stand next to her. On her lap was my grandfather's journal.
"Are you Mike?"
"And you are the grandson of the man who wrote this book?"
"I am so glad to meet you! I am Lani."
It took me an instant to understand the significance of what she said. I blinked at her.
"THE Lani ... the Lani in the journal?"
"Yes. I am. Please sit down, all of you. I have much to say."
We sat, Lelani sharing a couch with me and putting her arm around me. Then the old woman settled back and began to speak.
"It is a miracle that you have come. It is true what the journal says. It all happened, just as your grandfather told it. The moment I saw the photo, I knew, but then I read the entry, and there is no question.
"Philip, I think you have guessed that the man who wrote this journal is your true grandfather. And Mike, here, is your cousin."
She paused for a minute, to let the news sink in, and then she continued. That was more for my benefit, because Philip had already pieced the story together and guessed its implications.
"Your father was conceived on the night that the journal describes. His father was not my cousin Malu. I thought at first that he might be, because I mated with both Malu and Miguel that night. It would have been nice to think that Malu lived on, in the seed he planted in me. But as your father grew, it became apparent to me that he was Miguel's son, not Malu's. When he was born, we put Malu's name on the birth certificate, and named your father Malu in his honor. That was just to please the haole registrars. But in our family, it made no difference whose son he was. We loved him just the same."
"I remember now about your cousin Malu," Philip mused. "Dad told me that my grandfather was a warrior, who died in the war."
"That is what we told your father. That his father was a great warrior, and that he died in battle, and that he should take pride in that. Mike, we never heard from your grandfather again. We knew that he served with Malu, and we assumed that he went down on the same ship. So it was not really a lie. Or so we thought. I did not learn until last night that they were on different ships, and that Miguel survived the war."
"So I thought my grandfather died in the war," said Philip. "But when I read the journal, and learned about Miguel's career, it was like he had come back. He was indeed a warrior, both in peace and in war. He was a peaceful man, but never ran from a fight. Indeed, he took the fight to the enemy! I am so proud of him, and you should be true." I looked at him and was surprised to see that tears were streaming down his face.
"I am," I said, my own eyes starting to mist. "I never really knew about that part of his life until after he died. My family didn't talk about him very much. They never really understood why he gave up 'passing for white' and took a harder road instead. But I am very proud to be a Black man, and I think it was Grandpa Mike who passed that pride on to me, through my own father."
"Mike, when I first saw you, you reminded me of somebody, but I couldn't place it. I could have sworn I'd seen you before. That was why I was uncomfortable with you. But when I read the memoirs, I suddenly knew why I thought that way. I have seen somebody like you, every day of my life, in my mirror." It was true. The resemblance was startling, once you looked beyond his distinctive Polynesian traits.
"I don't think you know what a precious gift you've given me," he went on. "You have given my given my grandfather a name, and a face, and a history."
"I have given you nothing, Philip. I've only shared with you what Grandpa Mike gave to me. I am as much the recipient of that gift as you are."
Lani then told me about my grandfather's child, conceived in that night of lust. When he was two, the family moved from Oahu. The war was over and the soldiers had returned and taken back their jobs in the cane fields. But when he was a grown man, he returned to Honolulu to start a successful career with a Honolulu television station. He had friends everywhere in Hawai'i, and his death of a heart attack, while he was only fifty, came as a shock. "If only your father had lived to see this day, Philip!" Lani was crying now, too. "He died too young! He would never know!"
"It's all right, Tutu," Philip said.
"But the really sad thing is this: Miguel came back here ten years after the war, looking for me. And I never knew. We'd gone back home, we weren't on Oahu at all. You know, I fell in love with him. Malu was my only child, and I never took a husband, because I always had this idea that Miguel would come back someday."