I arrive at the Kona International Airport. Jason Smedley is waiting in his van for me and two beautiful Norwegian sisters, Camila and Michaela. Smedley chauffeurs us to the campus.

My roommates are from Texas, New Zealand, Switzerland and Canada. Great group of guys.

After two weeks of classes, a few of my classmates plan a trip to explore downtown Kona on Saturday night. There is a shaved ice cream parlor that everyone should try once and a sandy spot by a hill to get some volleyball games in. We play a few matches against each other before walking to the nearby convenience store for some drinks.

My indecisiveness makes me the last to purchase, a Coke. When I walk out, that’s when she is standing there. A woman, in a grey tank top, hooded sweater tied around her waist right above her khaki shorts. I begin to walk down the steps but heel after noticing that this stranger is glaring at me. My wimpish tolerance for awkward moments forces me to turn around and head back inside the store.

Immediately I hide, duck between the Ramen and candy aisle. She spots me. I say hello.

“Hi,” she breathes.
“May I help you?” I ask calmly, smiling.
“I want food,” she orders.
“I am on a strict budget,” I say truthfully, “you may have this drink.”

I hand her the Coke, she takes a sip, gives it back and I drink out of the same straw with no hesitation. (Clearly I am not a germaphobe) and this shows her that I am the last person on Earth to judge her.

“Alright well take care,” I whisper, and make a beeline for the door. She sticks like a shadow and follows me out like a trail of M&Ms falling out of my busted Chuck Taylors.

“Who’s that? What happened?” my curious classmates ask.
“I don’t know, I gave her some of my Coke though,” I say with a nervous chuckle.
“She’s still there, man.”

I’ll take care of this. “Never leave beef unsettled” was my M.O.

“Can you give me a ride?” she utters quietly.
“I flew from Virginia, sorry I’m just a student here.” I keep myself honest.
“I need you right now,” the stranger threatens.

OK before I go on, I am a stickler for suspense. I considered myself the male version of Sarah Michelle Gellar in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

“Wait a second, I’ll be right back,” I tell her. My classmates are wondering what is going on, why I even bother to loiter around.
“Guys I’ll talk to her for a few minutes, could you accompany me and pray for our conversation?”
“Sure, we’ll have an eye out and keep our distance,” they go.

I approach her again this time and say, “Let’s take a walk, I love walks.”

I do love walks.

To be continued…

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