Henoa, Polynesian Gentleman
“Leeeeeeez!!” I heard from behind me as I wandered back toward Swell at the end of a long day in the yard. Little Henoa came running over with an icy cold pineapple juice in hand. Dirt was smeared across his left arm and sweat dribbled down his cheek. I imagined how fun life must be for an eight year old in the islands.
“Pour toi (for you).” He said. “Prondre! (take it)”
“No, c’est vrai!? Tu est trop gentil! (No, really!? You are too nice!)” I replied enthusiastically.
Ever since the holiday party at the boatyard, when I’d taken the kids paddling on my surfboards, August’s son, Henoa, has been my most faithful little friend. Whenever he’s waiting for his dad to finish working, he comes over to say hello. This time, he’d bought me a juice from the vending machine…
He handed over the juice, but just as I reached for it, he pulled it back.
“Attendre. (wait)” He said. And in the true spirit of chivalry, he put the can to his mouth and pried the tab up with his front teeth. The can hissed open and a proud grin spread across his face as he handed it over the second time. His full Polynesian lips were glossy with sweat and saliva.
My heart melted. I took the can in my hand and hesitated a moment…His eye pinned on me…He could have had bubonic plague and I still would have taken a sip.
“Ahhhhhh,” I said after the first gulp, holding back laughter. “Fantastique! Merci!”
He beamed as only a kid can beam. We turned and continued down the road towards Swell, chatting about school and soccer…