When you think about it, Hawaii really is pretty cut off from the rest of the country. We're 2400 miles out, reachable only by plane or ship, and three hours ahead, set apart even by time. This, I think, is what makes my situation all the more hopeless. Hawaii is no longer the tropical paradise where I grew up. It's become my island prison.
Right now Sister Bernadette's computer, where I'm typing this, is my only link to the outside world. For weeks I've been trapped at Saint Sebastian's Home for Orphans, Neglected Children, and Problem Girls. I still have no idea who Saint Sebastian is, but I hate the son of a bitch for his namesake hellhole.
Thanks to a series of horrible coincidences, they all think I'm an abandoned child, and nothing I've done or said can convince them otherwise. Until last week I still entertained vague hopes my parents would get home and bail me out of this mess, but so far they haven't. Not that I haven't tried to reach them. For weeks now I've been calling, but either they're keeping the cell phone off or they didn't take it with them at all. I remember -- God, it seems like a past life now -- how I'd drilled into them about not needing anyone to check in on me, I'd be just fine on my own, so they must have figured it was beneath me to ever call them for help. Grown-up, independent Keilani Akana. Yeah, that was me.
Now my life was back to a juvenile routine I once thought was long past me. Get up, shower, eat breakfast, go to class. Lunch, then recess, then more class. Dinner, homework, a little free time, lights out at nine-thirty. Every day it got worse, slowly eroding my old identity away until I began to feel like I truly WAS a child, rather than a 21-year-old college student. I still knew, deep down, who I was. I felt displaced, like this was some kind of alternate universe, and I needed to get back to my own.
Not that I hadn't tried. I'd already gone over escape plan after escape plan in my head, figuring out exactly when and why each one would fail. The doors were kept locked at night, and the walls around the orphanage were too tall to climb. Sister Bernadette had her eyes on me, too. I'd lost my temper a few times, and inadvertently established myself as one of the "problem girls".
So I continued to make the daily calls, trying to reach them at one of the places they might be staying at while they toured the other 49 states. I still have a list they left, of places they'd booked reservations at, but now it looks as if they'd changed all their plans after realizing how big the continental U.S. was. Right now I had absolutely no clue what part of the country they might be in.
I even called their house-- MY house too, I am GOING to get back to it someday, dammit! --and left a lengthy phone message trying to explain this whole wretched situation. So they'd realize what happened when they finally got home, rather than just finding me gone without a trace.
All this was on my mind as I sat disconsolately on the orphanage's high-fenced playground, with Oliana.
Oliana. She's about twelve, the same age they think I am. Something of a loser, but she's also about the only hoa`aloha I have here. Her hair is laughably short compared to the other Hawaiian girls, myself included. She's really quiet, like this place has already beaten her into submission. And for some reason she hangs around me, I don't know why.
But so we were just sitting there, not even talking, when Sister Ulalia -- the short, squat one -- came up to me. I still liked her best out of all the nuns at Saint Sebastian's, even though she didn't believe my story either.
"You have a visitor, Keilani," Sister Ulalia told me.
I didn't say a WORD to Oliana, I just scrambled up and followed Sister eagerly back toward the building. Had my parents gotten back at last? Could this be the escape I'd longed for?? My heart just absolutely LEAPT as I was led inside and pointed down the hall to a small office. I think it was Sister Ulalia's. I was practically running, glancing back at Sister keeping her own leisurely pace, whereas I was ready to explode!
I almost burst into tears when I saw it wasn't Mom or Dad. It was Gail Whitmur, the social worker who'd first brought me here after the police picked me up naked on the beach. Long, humiliating story.
"Hello, Keilani dear," she said to me, seated prim and proper behind a desk. I felt a growing sense of dread. What the hell was she doing here?
"Aloha, Gail," I mumbled, without enthusiasm, taking a seat.
She clicked her tongue disapprovingly. "Please call me Ms. Whitmur, Keilani dear."
Yeah, that's right, I remembered. Only grown-ups were permitted to call her by her first name, something I currently wasn't. I didn't acknowledge the correction, just sat in chair with my eyes to the floor. This woman had spanked my bare ass during our previous encounter, and it's hard to look someone in the face after that.
I raised my eyes just enough to see her studying me through her matronly glasses. "So... How do you like it here?" she asked me.
I turned and looked at the door where I'd come in. Nobody was there. Sister had gone back to her playground duty.
"Don't be afraid, dear. This is strictly between us, and you can tell me anything."
Ah. Now I understood, apparently this was a follow-up check, since I'd been at Saint Seb's for awhile. Well of course the truthful answer to her question was that I fucking hated this place. But I also knew what happened to bad little girls who said "fucking".
So instead I went with, "Fine, I guess."
"Sister Bernadette tells me you've adjusted, and that your behavior is much better now."
Yeah, no fucking shit, I thought. Sister Bernadette had taken a whack at my ass too, and she kept a mean switch in her office. I'd learned quickly that misbehaving meant a bare-bottomed punishment, so I'd tried not to rock the boat.
Again I didn't answer Gail. This didn't seem to bother her though. To her I was just a shy little girl, trembling on the brink of puberty. I'd long since given up trying to explain my real age to everyone. When you're a kid (or they think you are) nobody listens to you anyway.
And that's how it went, she'd ask me something and I'd answer, the kid giving the adult as little information as possible. How are you? Fine. What do you want to do today? Whatever. One-word responses were the norm. But still the parade of questions came. Was I sleeping okay? Was I getting enough to eat? Did the Sisters take good care of me? Were the other kids nice?
"Well..." I admitted, "there's this one girl, Suzanne Calloway..."
Suzanne was from Texas or Alabama or some damn place like that. Her parents had dumped her off at Saint Sebastian's to keep her bad behavior from spoiling their nice expensive cruise. She seemed to take a perverse pleasure in being my personal tormentor, nicknaming me "Scrawny Kay-Lawny" (that's how she pronounced it) because I'm so small and underdeveloped. Like everyone else here, she thought I was twelve.
It was ironic, I'd come to realize. I used to make fun of a haole girl all the time, years ago when I was in grade school... the first time around. I can't even remember her name anymore. Back then I was actually fairly tall compared to my classmates, so I'd push her around and call her insulting names because, even though she was third-generation born here, she wasn't Hawaiian in the true sense of the word. But then I just never hit a growth spurt in my teens, and now here I was, a kid again, having Suzanne, a white girl, pick on me all the time. It was a vile brand of poetic justice.
The other day in the cafeteria she tripped me into a faceful of my own food, while the girls around us all laughed. A couple weeks ago she'd de-toweled me in the dorm, exposing all four feet, ten-and-a-half inches of me to about a dozen of our roommates. Suzanne knew her game well, and was smart enough to do things only when the Sisters weren't looking her way.
I didn't volunteer all this, of course. Gail kept asking her probing questions, making me relive every humiliating experience in excruciating detail. It was far worse the second time, dredging up memories of things I was already trying to suppress. If I didn't answer, she would lean forward and prod me with, "Keilani, dear?" I finally gave in and talked about Suzanne, realizing it was the only way I'd ever see an end to this shit.
And then there was Makala, the Hawaiian girl who followed Suzanne around like a trained dog. She looked strong and mean, and all the other girls were scared of her, especially Oliana. Even when I said aloha and Suzanne wasn't anywhere nearby, Makala would just glare menacingly at me, never saying a word. It was creepy.
Gail listened intently as I told her all this, making some notes on a case file she'd brought with her. I leaned forward and tried to look, but she tilted it up toward herself to hide what it said about me. When she finished, she announced, "Well, Keilani dear, you seem to be a well-adjusted, perfectly normal little girl."
I decided to risk a question. "Um, Gai-- Ms Whitmur? How long do I have to stay at this place? It feels like I'm suffocating in here."
"Until we can locate your parents, I'm afraid. But," she added, seeing me slump in my chair, "Sister Bernadette has already told me she's planning to take you all on a fun outing this weekend. It'll give you a little break from Saint Sebastian's. Okay?"
"Okay." Just hearing that made me feel a little better.
"And," Gail continued, "I'll ask her to have a word with those two girls."
Now I was horrified.
"No! Please don't!" I begged. How could she NOT know that was the worst thing she could possibly do? Hadn't Gail ever been a kid before?!
But she must have (once again) not listened to me, because later that day I saw the two of them emerging together from Sister Bernadette's office. Makala rubbed her bottom, her face red with an angry expression, but still fighting to keep her emotions bottled.
Suzanne, on the other hand, despite the tear streaks down her face, looked absolutely ecstatic. Spotting me, she came over.
"That was GREAT, Scrawny!" she gushed. "Ah ain't never bin paddled with a switch be-fore. Thanky kindly fer squealin' on us. Reckon Makala an' Ah owe yew one!"
That's right, Suzanne LIKED being disciplined that way. It was fun for her, probably triggering something in her dawning sexuality. No doubt that was a major factor in her parents' finally having to leave her here. They couldn't control her because she enjoyed her punishments too much.
"C'mon, Makala," she drawled, leading her friend away in the opposite direction. "We'll git 'er back real soon."
I got a small bit of satisfaction at seeing Makala's suffering, but knew the payback would be hell. It was hard to watch my back all the time, it wears you down. I could have tried to get them first, but now that I knew about the weekend field trip I had to be on my best behavior. I wasn't going to give Sister an excuse to not let me go. Or to give me another paddling. The only thing Suzanne liked better than being spanked herself was seeing it happen to other girls.
Her revenge finally came Saturday morning, just before Sister Ulalia came in to wake us. I stirred from sleep, not yet fully conscious but sensing that it was nearly kakahiaka. There was a vague urge in my bladder, and I knew I should get up to pee soon, but maybe I could enjoy the cozy blankets a few minutes longer.
A shadow passed near me, someone moving in front of the window. I cracked my eyes open to the blurred outline of a figure hovering over me. Suddenly my blanket was yanked off.
"Git 'er arms, Makala!" came an excited whisper.
Shit! I thought. What was happening?! I jolted awake to find Suzanne at the foot of my bed. Then I felt her weight pressing down on my legs, which made me instinctively fight to escape. I moved to sit up, but Makala grabbed my wrists and held them. I tried to kick my legs but couldn't even budge them. Suzanne weighed a good 20 or so pounds more than me, and was built larger, and I told her so:
"Get the fuck OFF me you fat palaoa!"
Makala climbed onto the bed and got behind my head, pinning my arms down with her knees. It hurt, and I was about to yell that, when she took a corner of bedsheet and jammed it into my mouth like a gag. I hollered at the top of my lungs but it came out as only a muffled moan.
I continued to struggle, but both of them were stronger than me. Turning my head to one side, I saw the other girls watching intently, eager to see what would happen. My friend Oliana looked truly sorry for me, but simultaneously relieved it wasn't her.
Suzanne slid her fingers under the hem of my pajama bottoms and underwear and pulled them both down to my knees, exposing my pubic hair. Normally I shave, but since I no longer had access to a razor, it had grown back even thicker than before. Those first few days, it had itched like Christ.
"Gaw-LEE yew got a hairy pussy, Kay-Lawny!" Suzanne laughed. "An' lookit that scrawny li'l body, them bones ain't got no meat on 'em!" And she poked my bare abdomen with her index finger.
Well, that did it. I am SO fucking ticklish, and her unexpected touch made my entire body jerk spasmodically. My friends Akela and Naia used to do this to tease me, but it was just for fun and they always knew when to stop. Here, not knowing how far Suzanne might go, it was absolute torture.
"Ahhh, so y'all're ticklish, are ya?" Suzanne asked, with her usual penchant for stating the head-poundingly obvious. Grinning evilly, she ran her wiggling fingers down my ribs, sending me thrashing as my skin exploded with awkward sensations.
"No! Stop! Uoki!" I cried, but with the bedsheet in my mouth all that came out was: "MMMPH! NNNNNG!" My body shuddered from my rapid, gasping breaths. Tears streamed down my face as I laughed uncontrollably, hating every agonizing moment of it but powerless to break out of their grip.
And then I felt it happening. The urge in my bladder was intensifying, and my control was slipping. I saw Makala's smirk upside-down above me, Suzanne's broad leering grimace, God she looked fucking demonic. "Please!" I begged her, "Please please stop I have to go to the bathroom I can't hold it PLEASE!" But my words were lost, buried under a torrent of unstoppable giggling and muffled by the makeshift gag.
Finally, I just couldn't hold it any longer. I felt the pressure in my bladder ease up. My face was redder than molten lava as the hot urine poured out of me, down my inner thighs, saturating the sheets beneath me. My uncontrollable laughter quickly turned to despair and heaving sobs.
"Ewww! She's pissin' 'er-self!" cried Suzanne, and immediately scrambled off me to get away from the mess. Makala let go of my arms, and they flopped to the bed as I just laid there, bawling from the unbearable humiliation of having everyone watch me peeing all over the place, God it was awful! Even now, it's horrible just typing about it!
A few girls were giggling, but most were making groans of disgust and revulsion, and I knew this is how all of them would think of me from now on. They'd be whispering and joking about it for weeks, and I was stuck here with it! I shuddered to think what new nicknames I could get from this. Whatever it was it would be a thousand times worse than being "Scrawny Kay-Lawny".
Suzanne, clearly very pleased with herself, leaned over and whispered down to me. "'Member when Ah said Ah could make yer lahf a fuckin' naht-mare?" Then, after a pause to let that sink in, "Don' yew EVER try'n cross me an' Makala agin!"
I couldn't say anything, I just pulled my pajamas back up to hide my shame, though it was already far too late. Then I turned onto my side, away from the other beds, and lay there sobbing in a puddle of my own piss.
At that moment the door opened, and I heard the sharp clang of a bell. It was Sister Ulalia.
"Ala, ho`ala, wiki--!" she began, but stopped mid-ring, surprised to find everybody already up and about.
Suzanne wasted no time. "Sister Ooh-la-lee-ah!" she exclaimed, loud enough so everybody in our dorm and anyone outside in the hall could hear, "Kay-Lawny done wet 'er bed!"
Some of the other girls voiced their agreement. I knew no one else would breathe a word about Suzanne and Makala holding me down and tickling me. Everybody was too scared of having something similar happen to them.
I heard Sister's footsteps approach my bed, and I felt a hand on my shoulder. "Keilani?" she asked gently. "Did you have a little accident?"
My sobbing and the fresh yellow stain on my sheets were answer enough. She urged me to my feet and led me to the shower area to wash up.
"Gawd, it SMELLS!" blurted Suzanne, much louder than necessary.
"Hush, keiki!" Sister Ulalia scolded, but that did little to stop the giggles. "Don't cry, Keilani, it's okay," she tried to reassure me, but there was no way it would ever be okay.
I let Sister pull off my soaked pajamas and underwear, and stepped under the water when she turned it on for me. I wanted to thank her but couldn't, and I didn't want to look her in the eye. I just wanted to DIE, right there. I closed my eyes, leaned my head against the wall and bawled nonstop for almost 10 minutes, until my sides hurt. I HATED Suzanne Calloway and Makala for what they'd done. I hated Gail for turning them in, and I hated the other girls for laughing along with them. I hated Saint Sebastian and his stupid orphanage and everyone involved with it, even Sister Ulalia, but I felt horrible about that because she was being so sensitive and caring toward a disgusting, bed-wetting little girl like me.
I don't think I would have come out, except it was the day Sister Bernadette was taking us on our outing, and I decided I'd be damned to hell before I'd miss out on that. When Sister Ulalia finally did coax me out, the other girls were already lined up and heading downstairs. They were all in swimsuits and sandals, and carrying towels. Sister herself had on a flowered mu`u mu`u dress, and I almost didn't recognize her, except she still had the black and white nun's habit on her head. It looked fucking retarded, but I was too miserable to laugh.
"W-we're going to the beach?" I sniffled. God how I'd missed going to the beach.
"Yes, dear," said Sister Ulalia. "Now hurry up and get your suit on."
I ran naked to my bed -- noticing that the sodden sheets had already been stripped away -- and found a swimsuit waiting. Well, I guess you could call it that. It was an ugly green one-piece with white ruffles around the leg holes, clearly intended for a young child. There was a smiley yellow sun right on the ass part. Ugh. Once again I was going to be the victim of Saint Sebastian's charity bin.
Sister must have noticed my look of disgust. "I'm sorry, Keilani, but it's the only one in your size we have left." The other girls had already taken the better suits.
Well, it was either wear it or don't go, so I put the damn thing on. It was tight and uncomfortable, made for a child's figure, and it squeezed my abdominal area so it looked like I had a chubby little girl's belly sticking out in front.
"I can't go out in this!" I whined to Sister. "It looks hideous!"
"I'm sorry dear, but sometimes we have to make do with what we have."
"Can we stop by my house? I have a better suit there." I thought of my black thong bikini, damn I looked good in that.
"No, Keilani." Sister was firm. "Not after last time. Besides, it wouldn't be right in front of the other girls."
I stamped my foot petulantly. "But that's not FAIR!"
That's not--! God, there I went again, my own behavior making me look even more like a child.
"Are you coming?" Sister asked. "You don't have to if you don't want to." It definitely sounded like an ultimatum.
And so, just like a spoiled kid, I went along begrudgingly. Outside the front entrance was a small white bus with the Saint Sebastian's name on the side. I climbed in after Sister Ulalia. Suzanne and Makala were sitting together in the back, and they exchanged giggles when they saw me. Not wanting to deal with them again, I sat in the front. Oliana had saved me a spot.
"Don' let 'er pee on ya, Oh-lee-anna!" shouted Suzanne, and my face burned.
Sister hauled her short, squat body into the driver's seat. I sat and fumed and had hateful thoughts about horrible things happening to Suzanne and Makala the entire ride to the beach. Oliana tried to talk to me but I ignored her. I wasn't in the mood.
At Kailua Beach Park, Sister parked the bus. The other girls all scrambled off and ran, with lots of yelling and screaming excitement, down to the shore. I plodded along miserably through the sand behind them. Suzanne's cruel prank had already ruined my day.
The beach was crowded, mostly with tourists: Japanese, Americans, a few Samoans. The kama`aina -- the native Hawaiians -- preferred the quieter, secluded beaches around the rest of the island. This made me feel a little better, being lost in the crowd, plus it meant there was less chance of someone I knew seeing me dressed in that ridiculous swimsuit.
"Can I get a surfboard?" I tugged at Sister Ulalia's sleeve and pointed to a rental shack nearby. God I'd missed riding the waves.
Sister Ulalia looked to Sister Bernadette as the authority.
"No, Keilani, it's too dangerous."
"But I know how! I've been doing it since I was ten!" Which, I realized, was only a couple of years in their eyes.
"Yes, but a lot of the other girls haven't. If they see you doing it they'll want to try too, and it's just too dangerous. It wouldn't be fair to them."
I crossed my arms and pouted. "When is something going to be fair for ME?!"
"Keilani, you are acting like a spoiled brat," Sister Bernadette stated bluntly. "Now are you going to go play, or would you rather sit here with us all day?"
I stomped off, kicking at small mounds of sand, seething at the unfairness of it all. When I reached the surf I cooled down a little. The warm saltwater felt good, washing over my bare feet. I looked around and saw the other girls playing and splashing, or picking up seashells. Oliana was building a sand castle and invited me to join her, but it felt too childish. So I waded out until the water was up to my neck, and brooded in my dark thoughts, unable to fully enjoy myself.
After some time I picked up Suzanne's annoying Southern accent, carried on the ocean air. She and Makala were jumping in the waves, letting them lift and carry them toward the shore. At first I was afraid they might be planning something, but Makala glanced in my general direction once and I didn't think she was looking at me. Evil gears started turning in my head, and I decided I'd get Suzanne back for what she'd done to me earlier. I knew it was stooping to her level, and I knew subconsciously that it'd only antagonize her more, but I didn't care. She'd ruined my day, and now it was payback time!
Suzanne was wearing a string bikini, the perfect kind to snatch away and leave the victim naked in the ocean. Akela and Naia and I had done this to each other sometimes, just as a friendly prank. But I intended to thoroughly humiliate Suzanne. I'd grab her suit and rip it apart and everyone would see her naked. I'd show that little bitch how it felt.
When the next wave crested, I dove underwater and swam in their direction. Squinting in the sandy saltwater, I caught sight of her floating bikini strings and went for them with both hands, just as a huge wave crashed over us. I felt myself get slammed into Suzanne, and the next thing I knew I was on top of her in the shallows, and she was underwater, squirming and thrashing desperately.
Some of the other girls had noticed the commotion and were gathering on the shore, watching. One of them, I couldn't tell who, turned up the beach and called out, "Sister! Keilani's dunking Suzanne!"
Hastily I climbed off and let her up. Makala pushed me out of the way and lifted her friend out of the water, coughing and spluttering. Sister Bernadette was hastily waddling toward us. She looked furious.
"Keilani Akana!" she snapped. "What on earth do you think you're doing?!"
And what could I say? I hadn't been trying to hold her under, but if I said I was going to pull her suit off I'd just get in trouble for that! Why hadn't I bothered to think this childish retaliation through? I mean, I'm an adult, I should have known better than that!
So I tried to deflect everything with, "It was an accident!"
Sister looked at Makala, who shook her head firmly, no.
Suzanne continued to make a huge dramatic show of choking and gasping. "She's lyin'! Kay-Lawny tried ta drown me! Makala seen 'er! Tell 'em, Makala!"
Makala nodded, siding with Suzanne, and pointed accusingly at me. But it wasn't true! I hadn't intended for that to happen, you've got to believe me!
Sister Bernadette clearly didn't. She took me firmly by the arm and began hauling me up toward the towel she had spread out next to Sister Ulalia's. "You just lost your swimming privileges," she told me, waving a finger right in my face. "Instead you can sit there for the rest of the day and think about what you've done!"
I sat on the towel, wet hair clinging to my back, sand stuck to my calves and feet. Sister Bernadette went off again, to tend to Suzanne, but Sister Ulalia stayed behind to keep watch on me.
"Keilani, I'm surprised at you!" she said. "Suzanne doesn't know how to swim, did you know that? You could have killed her!"
Jesus. Living on an island all my life, it never occurred to me that someone could grow up without learning to swim. I felt horrible. Suzanne's prank may have been incredibly mean, but it hadn't put anyone in real danger.
But just as I thought that, down at the water's edge, I saw her turn and make a mocking face at me. She was fine. That evil little bitch had faked the whole drowning incident, just to get me in trouble!
I tried to tell Sister Ulalia, "But, look! She--"
"Keilani," Sister cut me off, "lawa kÍl‚!" That's enough.
So now I was stuck in a "time out", being punished like a naughty child, not allowed to do anything fun, while Suzanne and Makala got off scot-free. It was so unfair! First they'd taken away my surfing, now they wouldn't even let me swim. My stupid suit covered so much of me I couldn't even get a decent tan. How could this day get ANY worse?
*Sighhh*... I shouldn't have asked.
"Excuse me..." came a voice in Sister Bernadette's direction. "Did you just say that girl's name was Keilani Akana?"
Then another: "That's our friend's name too!"
My stomach absolutely FROZE. Standing right there, talking to Sister Bernadette, were Akela and Naia. My two best hoa`aloha from college. Though their backs were turned to me, I knew without a doubt it was them. I recognized Naia's arms and legs, with the different shapes and symbols tanned into them, and the `ehu, the reddish tinge, in Akela's hair. They each wore a friendship lei, the flower necklaces we had made for each other last semester. Before this wretched summer began.
NO, I thought. Please, NO. No-no-no-no-NOOOOOOOOOO...! I hunched my shoulders and slowly turned away, squeezing my eyes shut and praying they wouldn't look at me. I couldn't bear the idea of them seeing me like this. Why oh why had they decided to come to this beach, on this particular day? It was like a curse.
"¬iwaiwa, Keilani?! Is that you??" It was unmistakably Akela's voice.
"It IS her!" Naia exclaimed, coming over to me. "`E, howzit, 'Lani?"
Despite my current situation, I was so overcome with emotion that I stood up, ran over to my friends and put an arm around around their necks in a hug. I'd missed them so much I almost burst into tears right there. And with that, both of them started in with an onslaught of questions. Only this was even worse than Gail's, because I didn't want them to know all the mortifying details of the past month of my life.
"Where the hell have you BEEN, aik‚ne?"
"Why didn't you call us back?"
"Is it true you got fired from your job?"
"And what are you doing wearing lole`au`au like THAT?" asked Naia, indicating my childish swimwear.
All right. I steeled myself. It was going to be fucking humiliating, explaining all of this, but at least it meant I'd finally get out of this nightmare and back to my normal life.
"Keilani! You sit down on that towel and stay put!" It was Sister Bernadette, come to check on me. "I'm sorry girls," she told Akela and Naia, "but she's being punished." And she led me away, back to the towel, as my friends watched in utter disbelief. "Now you sit quietly, Keilani, and no more trouble, or you'll be sorry."
You'll be--! My friends were stunned. As soon as Sister's back was turned, they started with the questions again.
"Why is that nun talking to you like that?" Naia wanted to know.
"And why are you actually obeying her?" Akela asked.
"¬iwaiwa!" squeaked Naia, suddenly grabbing my shoulder and pointing. "Over there! It's Kahoku!" And then, Jesus Christ, she fucking called out to him! "Aloha Kahoku! Hey, get over here! It's Keilani, we found her!"
"Oh, GOD..." I moaned, and curled up with my chin between my knees, arms up over my face.
I haven't mentioned Kahoku yet? AuÍ, I've barely had a chance to think about him since I got stuck here. Kahoku is this really incredibly cute guy at U of H. We met at a beach party one time, and I think he liked me, but I was always too shy to say much to him. I tried to be a little tease, flirting wordlessly, at Akela's and Naia's urging. They were always pushing me to come on stronger, even though I said I wanted to take things at my own pace. Then I went and got myself fired and stuck at Saint Sebastian's.
And now here he was, coming up the beach right toward me. Kahoku, in a blue Speedo, with his long dark hair and his bronze sixpack of ripped abs shining in the sun, God he looked SO good.
"Kahoku!" exclaimed Naia. "You'll never guess who this is, right here. Go on, guess!"
"Who? Her?" I heard him ask.
I risked a peek, hoping against hope that he wouldn't recognize me, and that my friends would keep quiet. But I already knew that was physically impossible for Naia.
And, oh my God, he looked right at me, with a puzzled expression. It didn't register. "What? Who's this? Are you two babysitting today?" Then he smiled at me, like someone would smile affectionately at a cute kid in public. I felt sick.
Yes! I tried desperately to convey it to my friends, without speaking. Please say yes, please say you're babysitting, so he'll leave! Pleeeeease!
Then he asked Akela, "You said Keilani's around? Where is she?"
Naia couldn't keep her waha nui shut: "This IS Keilani!" she squealed, and then both she and Akela burst into laughter.
Kahoku stared at them as if he thought it might be some bizarre joke, but looking closer it slowly it dawned on him that, despite the giggles, they were serious. The "little girl" in the smiley-ass green swimsuit was indeed me.
"Keilani...?" he asked, seeming uncertain about how to talk to me. "Why... are you dressed like that?"
And how the hell was I supposed to answer? I didn't even have time to think about it, because now my plight had caught the attention of someone else, too. Suzanne Calloway had recovered from her ordeal and was stepping her way through the sand, right toward us.
"Howdy, Kay-Lawny!" she greeted me, then looked at Kahoku. "Who's yer friend?"
I stood up, whispered to Akela and Naia, "C'mon, let's get out of here. Hurry."
Sister Bernadette's voice stopped me. "Keilani! Where are you trying to sneak off to?"
To one side, Suzanne was starting in, talking to Kahoku. I struggled to take in both conversations at once. "So y'all know Kay-Lawny? You her paw 'er somethin'?"
God the nightmare just kept getting worse! I turned and faced Sister. This was ending, NOW. "I'm leaving," I stated. "With my friends." I looked pleadingly at them. Gimme some backup, for Christsake.
"It's true," Akela said, somewhat lamely. "We... are her friends."
"Best friends," agreed Naia, but her playful tone made it sound like she was in on some private joke.
Sister Bernadette thought the same thing. "Keilani, did you put these nice people up to this?"
"NO!" I cried. "I mean, these really are my friends! I told you before, I'm 21, they'll all vouch for me!"
Sister Bernadette looked from Akela and Naia, tall and busty in their skimpy bikinis, to me, four-foot-ten and titless in a kid's suit. Then back to my friends with an expression that said, "Yeah, right."
"Ya know, yer mighty cute," I overheard Suzanne saying to Kahoku. She was just talking to him like it was the easiest thing in the world. "Yew gotta girl-friend?" Christ, she was closer to his height than I was, too!
It was all crumbling, the horror unfolding right in front of me, like a train wreck. I had to get out of here, I just had to!
Sister Bernadette's tone was stern. "Keilani, you stay right there, I mean it!"
I felt my self-control beginning to slip away again. I stamped my foot adamantly in the sand. "No! These are my friends and I'm going with them!"
"Don't be ridiculous, dear. How on earth could these people be your friends? Look at them, they're 10 years older than you!" Then, to the two of them: "You really mustn't encourage her. She's a handful to deal with as it is."
"Don't talk to me like I'm not even here!" I whined. I hate when people do that.
Then I saw Kahoku looking at me with disapproval. He'd just seen my little outburst. Rather than make an even bigger fool of myself, I plunked my ass back down on the towel and silently prayed it would all be over soon. That seemed to satisfy Sister Bernadette, at least.
Kahoku came up and knelt beside me. "Keilani... what the hell is going on here?"
"She's gittin' punished!" volunteered Suzanne.
Naia wasn't helping matters any. "Is this a game, Keilani?" she asked playfully. "Did you dress up this way to surprise Kahoku?"
Kahoku's expression looked as if he'd eaten some bad poi. "Why on earth would you think I'd want to see you looking like this?" he demanded.
"I didn't, I..." But it would take forever to explain, and I'd already fallen in his eyes.
Kahoku glared at me. "I don't know what you're pulling here, Keilani, but this isn't the least bit funny." He shook his head. "You need to grow up." Then he stood, and started to walk away. "I can't believe I was actually thinking of asking you out."
Yeah, he distinctly said "was". Past tense.
"Kay-Lawny?!" Suzanne asked in disbelief. "Whadya wanna date her for? Lookit 'er titties, she gots robin eggs!"
AuÍ, I wanted to punch her in the mouth so bad. *Sigh*... See, in the past I'd always worn padding in my bras around Kahoku. Before today, he thought my chest was a whole two cup-sizes bigger than it actually was! I know that's stupid, and I was going to tell him eventually, but I wanted to get him interested in me as a person first... Is that so wrong? But now this stupid swimsuit was showing him what my body really looked like, undeveloped and flat as the Hilana Pali plain. Plus, it made me look like I still had baby fat. And Suzanne had just drawn Kahoku's full attention to it! Instinctively I crossed my arms over my tiny breasts.
"Be-sides," Suzanne added, "Ain't she a li'l young fer yew?"
"Of course not. We go to U of H together."
Suzanne was speechless for a moment. "Oh mah GAWD... Scrawny Kay-Lawny's in CAWLIDGE?!?" She cracked a delighted grin at her new discovery. It was absolutely hideous to look at.
"Scrawny Keilani?" asked Kahoku, repeating Suzanne's demeaning nickname for me. Then he laughed, the guy of my dreams fucking LAUGHED at me! I couldn't stand it! I turned my face away and down toward the ground to hide my painful blush.
"Careful, 'er she maht piss all over ya!"
Kahoku looked from me to Suzanne, and back, confused. "What does she mean by that?"
"She wets th' bed, y'know."
At that moment, I prayed with all my strength for a sudden volcanic eruption to bury us all under a river of molten lava. Me first.
But of course that didn't happen. And so, unable to bear being in this awful situation another second, I ran. I bolted off Sister Bernadette's towel and was pounding full-speed across the hot sand. I heard her yell after me, "Keilani Akana! You get back here this INSTANT!" But I knew neither she nor Sister Ulalia would be able to catch up to me.
As I ran I found myself fighting to keep from breaking into sobs. My life was RUINED! Even if I did somehow escape the hell of Saint Sebastian's, my old life, the life I'd always thought of as a refuge, was now shot to shit. Akela and Naia would tease me about this forever, I'd NEVER live it down!
And Kahoku! God, the way he'd looked at me, the scorn and disgust in his face! I knew any chance I may have had with him was fucking GONE. Every time he saw me from this moment forward, he would see the immature, pot-bellied little 12-year-old who got punished and made to sit on the beach. This beautiful, gorgeous guy I adored would never again be able to take me seriously as a romantic interest! Right now Suzanne was probably telling him all kinds of shameful things about me at Saint Sebastian's, and there was nothing at all I could do about it!
I didn't look back. I just ran.
After the initial horror cleared a bit, I realized I was instinctively running in a certain direction, back to my house. The one little piece of normal life I still had left. I also realized that was the first place Sister Bernadette would come looking for me. I had to be fast.
The key was still under the potted palm. Inside, I flipped the light switch but they didn't come on. Who cares, no time. I made my way to the kitchen, looking for the blinking red light on the answering machine. My parents HAD to have called, maybe I could get back to them before Sister got here.
Except... The message light was dark.
I tried the kitchen lights but they didn't work either.
I lifted the phone. It was dead.
SHIT! I realized, fresh despair washing over me. The BILLS!
I had assured my parents, every time they'd asked, that I'd keep the bills paid up while they were away. In fact, on that first awful night when I got fired and picked up by the police, I'd intended to mail them the very next day! That was over a month ago, and the phone and electric companies had lost patience and cut off our service.
I collapsed onto the table, pounding my fists in frustration and crying, "SHIT, SHIT, SHIT!" How long had it been off? I had no way of knowing. Even if my parents HAD tried to call home and give me their new numbers, any message they may have left for me was now lost. And when they did finally get back, the message I recorded for them would be gone too! They would have no way of knowing where I was, so there was no hope of them ever getting me out of Saint Sebastian's!
Unless...! I lunged at the counter drawer and took out paper and a pen. I'd leave them a written note.
I heard tires grinding in the gravel driveway outside.
Fuck! The door! I hadn't locked it.
I dashed back through the living room and reached it... just as the two nuns appeared on the other side. I scrambled for the lock but Sister Bernadette already had it open. I made for the other room but she grabbed my wrist tightly, making me drop the pen and paper.
"Keilani, you stop this RIGHT NOW."
I recognized that tone. That was the "someone's going to get a spanking" tone. But I didn't care. I grunted and pulled and tried to break away from her grip. Sister Ulalia came to her aid and lifted me up by my legs. On the way out I grabbed the door frame with my remaining free hand and held on for dear life, forcing one of them, I don't remember which, to pry my fingers loose one by one.
"NOOOOO!" I yelled. "PUT ME DOWN YOU FAT FUCKING PENGUIN! I AM AN ADULT WOMAN! I AM NOT A LITTLE GIRL! I'M NOT, I'M NOT, I'M NOT, I'M NOT, I'M NOT!!!"
Yeah, I'm sure that sounded real fucking convincing. God damn it all.
Together the Sisters physically hauled me down the front steps, across the driveway and up into the bus, me kicking and thrashing the entire way. The other girls were standing on seats and leaning out open windows, craning for a glimpse of what was happening. Much to my chagrin, I noticed that Suzanne had taken a front-row seat to my humiliation.
As soon as they let me go I bolted for the emergency door at the back of the bus, but I couldn't get it open in time. Sister Bernadette caught me and pulled me away, dragging me all the way back down the aisle, past every one of my schoolmates. They watched every moment of it, ducking back slightly as I passed to avoid my flailing feet. All of them saw what a rotten, spoiled little brat I was. They were half my age, and they were behaving better than me!
I was through talking. I just wanted to cause as big a scene as possible, I didn't care how I looked. I pounded my feet on the floor and kicked the seats, and just squealed as loud as I could.
"Keilani, STOP IT!"
But I wouldn't stop it. Not ever. This was so unfair, and even though a tiny part of me knew I'd brought a lot of it on myself, the rest of my mind was screaming to me over and over, this was not fair, NOT FAIR, NOT FAIRRR! So I continued my tantrum, my face red and scrunched up in fury. I knew Sister Bernadette didn't like it one bit, and that's why I did it. It was the only means of resistance I had left.
Finally Sister got me to the front of the bus. I was exhausted from all the struggling and I didn't have the strength to fight anymore as she knelt me over the driver's seat, my green-suited ass sticking out into the aisle for everybody to see. I knew what was coming and I let out a long, sobbing whine as she held me there, her other hand producing the switch... Jesus, she fucking brought it with her!
The other girls let out a collective gasp. They knew what was coming too, some of them had even experienced it before. But I doubt any of them had ever seen Sister Bernadette quite this pissed off. I heard an eager snorting laugh and knew instantly who had made it.
Unlike last time, she didn't expose my bare bottom. Since I was wearing a one-piece suit I would have been totally naked. Not that that was any consolation, the shame of everyone at Saint Sebastian's witnessing my paddling was nearly unendurable. The last time this had been done to me, it was a straight punishment, in the privacy of her office. Sister had been calm and totally in control. This time she was angry, and AI¬, did I feel the difference! The damp suit clung to my ass, providing no cushioning of any kind against Sister's sharp WHACK-WHACK-WHACK across the smiling yellow sun, Jesus FUCK did that hurt!
She did it about a dozen times, and I bellowed and screamed nonstop.
Sister didn't say a word when she finished. Instead she heaved a heavy, exhausted sigh and then let me up, gently nudging me toward a seat.
There weren't any in the front rows. All the girls had gathered in close to watch the spectacle. So I had to walk to the back section of the bus, past most of my classmates, my ass stinging. At least I couldn't see their faces through my tears. Sister Ulalia walked behind me, guiding me. My throat hurt from all the yelling, but not nearly as much as my rear.
We reached the second row from the back. Oliana was already sitting there, but Sister instructed her to move. Very carefully, I eased my tender, sore behind onto the seat. I had bright red marks on the sides of my cheeks where the suit didn't cover. Sister Ulalia sat beside me, and I wiped my eyes.
From across the row Oliana looked at me with the most sorrowful expression I've ever seen, almost like solidarity, as if she knew firsthand what I'd gone through. Maybe she did, I don't know, we never talked about it after, I didn't want to.
I happened to glance at Sister's watch. It was only a little after 11:00. My misbehaving had cut everyone else's day at the beach short.
Good, I thought bitterly. That'll teach them to laugh at me.
I leaned my head against the window, the tears blurring my vision again.
The girls were dead silent as Sister Bernadette started the bus and pulled away from my house. Sitting up, facing forward, hands in laps, best behavior. No one said a word.
I heard movement in the seat behind me, then a whispered voice, low enough that Sister Ulalia wouldn't hear it over the roar of the engine.
"Gawd DAMN... That was great, Scrawny! Ah'm a-gonna be rubbin' mah-self allll th' way home!"
I didn't say anything, I just sat there, fighting to stem the flood of tears.
But still Suzanne would not shut up: "Ah'd heard 'bout them stories yew told th' Sisters? But Ah never, ever woulda believed yew really was twenny-one. 'Til yer friends told me!"
FUCK... I'd forgotten Akela and Naia. What had they said to Suzanne after I ran away?
"Ah don' think they seen us leave, they was still down on th' beach lookin' fer ya."
With despair I realized I hadn't done the one thing that could have saved me. I hadn't told my friends where I was being held! They'd seen all the indignities I'd been forced to endure, but they hadn't seen the orphanage's name on the side of the bus.
They weren't coming to my rescue.
Neither were my parents.
"Don' worry, Kay-Lawny," drawled Suzanne, "Ah won' tell nobody yer see-krit. Wouldn' wan' 'em ta let ya go... Ah'm havin' sooo much fun with yew."
It was a fucking outrage. The Sisters didn't know (or believe) my true age, but now Suzanne Calloway did! And I was certain she'd use this knowledge at every opportunity to make my life even more unbearable. I wished with all my heart that I really WERE twelve. At least then my being here wouldn't be such a mockery of my normal existence.
As we rode back I put my thumb in my mouth and sucked on it, snivelling pitifully. I hadn't done that since I was three, but it was a comforting sensation. I didn't care what anybody thought. Not even Suzanne.
Christ, what an absolutely horrendous day! You'd think things couldn't possibly get any worse after THAT, wouldn't you? But one final indignity awaited me before I could escape, however temporarily, to sleep. When I came back from the showers, Suzanne was already at my bedside, laughing.
"What," I demanded. Though after today I wasn't sure I wanted to know what.
"Looks lahk some-one got a present fer th' li'l baby!" Suzanne exclaimed, pointing.
I approached my bed. Sitting right on top of the blanket was...
A fucking DIAPER.
I stormed out of the dorm and down the stairs, bursting into Sister Ulalia's office with the wretched thing in hand.
"Hey!" I demanded. "What the fuck is this shit?!"
"Keilani, you watch your language. Or do I need to wake up Sister Bernadette?"
"I am NOT a BABY!!" I yelled, hurling the diaper to the floor, breathing hard.
"No, of course you're not," Sister agreed. "This sort of thing happens to lots of girls. I know you're under a lot of stress, and it's nothing to be embarrassed about."
Like FUCK it wasn't! "And I'm NOT a bed-wetter! Suzanne Calloway and that Makala girl held me down and tickled me and wouldn't let me up! And she was faking drowning today too, just to get me in--!"
"Now, Keilani," Sister interrupted me, and she looked stern. "I know you and Suzanne don't get along, but I talked to some of the other girls in your dorm, and none of them mentioned any of that happening. Not even your friend Oliana. I understand it's hard for you being here, but you cannot ho`opunipuni all the time."
I knew what that word meant.
"I AM NOT A LIAR!!" I shrieked.
But then I realized I'd already established myself as one. All that initial hollering about not being 12 years old, when it was obvious (to them) that I was. And now, in their minds, I had a track record of telling fibs and making up stories. Especially when all the other girls agreed with Suzanne out of fear.
"It's just for when you go to bed," continued Sister, shifting the subject back to the diaper. "It's easier than changing the sheets every morning, and none of the other girls have to know."
"But Suzanne knows! You left the goddamn thing out on my bed where everyone could see it!"
"No, I didn't, Keilani. I put it under your pillow so you'd find it."
Now I felt kinda bad. I'd jumped to conclusions and believed what I wanted, just like everyone else had done with me. But still...!
"I wanna talk to Gail again!" I demanded. And OHHH did I have plenty to say to that bitch now, and I was mad enough I wouldn't hold any of it back. I would tell her how I was REALLY being treated here, and God dammit she would listen!
"Gail isn't here anymore, dear. The next time she comes by I'll make sure you get to see her."
God, the irony of it all was absolutely sickening.
"And tomorrow I'll have a talk with Suzanne about staying out of other people's things."
"No, DON'T--!" But I gave up, slumping my shoulders. It was hopeless.
Sister leaned over and picked the diaper up off the floor. "Now come on, Keilani. Be a good girl for me."
And what the fuck choice did I have? It was either put it on myself or she'd do it for me, which would have been even more degrading. The thick, bulky thing made my ass look big under the nightgown. The saggy plastic was hot and sticky, and I felt my hips and thighs sweltering inside. God, no wonder babies scream all the time. I can't believe they make them wear these awful things, it's inhuman! If I ever have children-- AI¬, who am I kidding, I'm never gonna have any children. What the hell guy would be interested in me after this?! Not Kahoku, that's for fucking sure.
The diaper crinkled noisily as I slunk back to my dorm, under Sister's escort. The lights were out, but I'm positive I heard snickers from the direction of Suzanne's bed as I crawled into mine. I must have sobbed myself to sleep.
All that was last week, and not much has changed since. Suzanne still makes fun of me every day, but hasn't done anything really mean again... yet. I still have to wear the damn diaper to bed every night, Sister Ulalia checks. Right now I'm just going one day at a time, but I don't know how much more of this shit I can take. It's even worse typing it, reliving it, knowing you all know about it, but at least you can tell someone my story and let them know where I am. Like Akela and Naia. Or my parents, if they ever get back. Please tell me you're trying. You're the only hope I have of ever getting out of h
SHIT SOMEONES COMING
(Copyright © July 2005 by ToddCheese.)