The living room clock says 4:15 am when I get out of bed the day after Thanksgiving. In the kitchen the turkey bones are simmering away on the stove, just as we left them last night. The simmering stock pot keeps me company as I drink my tea, eat my Cheerios. Everyone else is asleep. It's a rare thing to be up before Dad. He's usually up by five, but when he's on holiday he does tend to sleep in. The house is very dark and only a few coqui frogs are still doing their shrill calls at this hour. Eventually it seems like the only thing to do is slip out the back door and finish my tea on the lanai. It smells like green growing things out here, but there's no hint of dawn yet. I can see a few stars winking through the clouds.
It occurs to me that I haven't had this much time alone since I got to Hilo. And I haven't been this pleased to have some time to myself in a long time. It's been nonstop visiting with one person or another since I arrived. First trip back in about four years. Friends of mine and my parents keep coming by the house to seeing me again or meeting me for the first time. I'm starting to feel like a visiting dignitary. But the five people currently sleeping in the house upstairs are the ones I've really been joyously spending every minute with - my mother, father, partner, cousin, and cousin's husband. It's been so lovely, I didn't realize 'til this moment that it's also exhausting.
Presently it occurs to me that I'd like to do sun salutations right here on the porch, as the first glow of dawn starts to show. I thought maybe it was silly to pack my yoga mat, but this is actually about the fifth time I've used it on this trip. I start with the slow stretches, yawning all the while and feeling my body begin to warm. I go through the salutations with ritualistic deliberateness, rejoicing in the fact that I have the health and strength to carry out these now familiar movements.
By the time I'm finished, I've made up my mind about something. Dad suggested yesterday that we go shopping for Mom's birthday present today, on account of the Black Friday sales. Neither of us are big on shopping, even when it's not the busiest shopping day of the year. But I don't know when I've last been home for Mom's birthday, and I won't be there this year either, but going with Dad to pick out her present feels like the next best thing. When Dad gets up, I have the pleasure of seeing the surprise on his face when he sees I'm up already. We get to work fishing all the bones out of the stock pot and as we're adding some left-over veggies, I tell Dad I want to go to the mall with him. It opens at 6am today, and if we sneak out of the house now we may even return before anyone gets around to missing us.
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