“Who is Murphy?” I ask, still surprised that a bed came out of the wall.
“The inventor of this bed,” he says, winking.
With the bed unfolded, the room feels even smaller. We both stare at it for longer than is strictly necessary. Olly turns to look at me. I’m blushing even before he says:
“Just the one bed.” His voice is neutral, but his eyes aren’t. The look in his eyes makes me blush harder.
“So,” we say simultaneously. We laugh awkward, self-conscious laughs and then laugh at ourselves for being so very awkward and self-conscious.
“Where is that guidebook?” he asks, finally breaking eye contact and making a show of looking around the room. He grabs my backpack and digs around, but pulls out The Little Prince instead of the guide.
“I see you brought the essentials,” he teases, waving it in the air. He climbs onto the bed and begins lightly bouncing in the middle of it. Murphy’s springs protest noisily. “Isn’t this your favorite book of all time?”
He turns the book over in his hands. “We read this sophomore year. I’m pretty sure I didn’t understand it.”
“You should try again. The meaning changes every time you read it.”
He looks down at me. “And how many times have you—”
“More or less than twenty?”
“OK, more than a few.”
He grins and flips open the front cover. “Property of Madeline Whittier.” He turns to the title page and continues reading. “Reward if Found. A visit with me (Madeline) to a used bookstore. Snorkel with me (Madeline) off Molokini to spot the Hawaiian state fish.”
He stops reading aloud, continues silently instead. “When did you write this?” he asks.
I start to climb onto the bed, but stop when the room sways a little. I try again and another wave of vertigo unbalances me.
I turn and sit, facing away from him. My heart squeezes so painfully in my chest that it takes my breath away.
Olly’s immediately at my side. “Mad, what is it? What’s wrong?”
Oh, no. Not yet. I’m not ready. “I’m light-headed,” I say. “And my stomach—”
“Do we need to go to a hospital?”
My stomach growls loud and long in reply.
I look up at him. “I think I’m—”
“Hungry,” we say simultaneously.
That’s what I’m feeling. I’m not getting sick. I’m just hungry.
“I’m starving,” I say. In the last twenty-four hours I’ve had a single bite of chilaquiles and a handful of Nurse Evil’s apple slices.
Olly starts laughing. He collapses backward onto the bed. “I’ve been so worried that something in the air was gonna kill you.” He presses the heels of his hands to his eyes. “Instead you’re going to starve to death.”
I’ve never actually been this hungry before. For the most part I’ve always eaten my three meals and two snacks exactly on time every day. Carla was a big believer in food. Empty tummy, empty head, she’d say.
I lie back and laugh along with him.
My heart squeezes again, but I ignore it.
Remembrance of Things Present
I feel much better after we grab a quick bite to eat. We need beach gear and, according to Olly, souvenirs, so we stop in a store called, helpfully, Maui Souvenir Shop and General Store. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much stuff. I find myself overwhelmed with the sheer volume of it. Stacks and stacks of T-shirts and hats that say Maui, or Aloha, or some variation of that. Racks of hanging flower-patterned dresses in almost every color. Carousel after carousel of tchotchkes—key chains, shot glasses, magnets. One carousel is dedicated solely to surfboard key chains with stenciled names, alphabetically arranged. I search for Oliver or Madeline or Olly or Maddy, but don’t find any.
Olly comes up behind me and wraps a single arm around my waist. I’m standing in front of a wall of calendars featuring shirtless surfers. They’re not unattractive.
“I’m jealous,” he murmurs into my ear, and I laugh and rub my hands over his forearm.
“You should be.” I reach for one of the calendars.
“You’re not really—”
“For Carla,” I say.
“What did you get?” I lean my head back against his chest.
“Seashell necklace for my mom. Pineapple ashtray for Kara.”
“Why do people buy all this stuff?”
He holds me a little tighter. “It’s not so mysterious,” he says. “It’s so we remember to remember.”