I’d landed here for a purpose. Everything was set and ready. I’d planned it down to the smallest detail and there was no room for error.
My vacation started with complete full on travesty. The luggage was spitting out onto the turn-style and I was keeping a close watch for my bag. I’d already had way more personal interaction than I could ever want on the plane.
I was ready to grab my bag and get to my hotel without any more crying babies, or southern drawls, or toddlers kicking the back of my seat.
As soon as I saw my black suitcase with dark grey edging shoot out of the hole in the ceiling I grabbed it. Get me the hell out of here.
I turned quickly to grab my carry on behind me. It wasn’t there. I stopped momentarily, wondering if I’d moved further down the line of people and lost track of the spot I’d left it.
Nope. Not there.
It was gone. For real gone. Does your stuff actually get taken when you land in the Aloha state? Is this what they call a welcome?
I begin to panic. If anything was going to get taken, please not my carry on. My credit cards, passport, computer, phone, everything living in my carry on bag.
This is not good. This is total shit actually.
I move quickly to the help desk and tell them my bag has been taken. It takes at least 3 attendants before they get that I’m not missing a bag, it was actually stolen.
It’s hours and hours at the airport with security and police and the final decision is they will get back to me. Thanks so much, here’s my number. But I don’t have my phone. It was stolen with my bag. So that will help me zero.
They’re tired of me and now I’m left with the $200 in cash I have on me and my checked bag. In all sarcasm, I think, Oh goody, all my clothes are really gonna help me out right now.
There’s nothing to do but wait and I’m exhausted so I use $50 of my cash and grab a taxi to take me to my hotel. At least I have a reservation and can rest my head for the night, get some clarity and wake tomorrow with a new point of view or hopefully a plan.
“Please show me your I.D.”
Momentary panic and then I remember I kept my i.d. with my plane ticket in the back pocket of my jeans.
I breathe a sigh of relief as I hand it to her.
“Uhm, I’m sorry. We don’t have a reservation for you.”
“yes ma’am’ there’s no reservation with your name here.”
I launch into a small fit. I know that I reserved the hotel with my card. They check my card number-I don’t have it since it was stolen-but I know the number-she assures me no reservation has been made.
I have no reservation. I have no credit cards. I have no phone. I have exactly $150 in cash. A room in this hotel is $250 and some change.
The small, bony, blonde at the desk tells me-in a snotty tone- that down the road is a hostel and I can book there for only $40 per night.
I lug my checked bag behind me and walk down the street to the hostel.
They willingly check me in with a cash payment and my i.d., thank whatever lives above I didn’t leave that in my carry on bag.
And who had it anyway? It’s ridiculous to think some random person would just take it. All the important things for my life lived in it.
I get a tour of the hostel and cringe. Everything is so public. I’m sharing a room with 7 other women. The bathrooms are for everyone. I momentarily think I might actually need to pee outside rather than use these disgusting arrangements.
I feel unbalanced without my phone and computer. I wonder who has it and if I’ll be able to get it back.
In an effort to leave the trauma behind I rent a bike from the front desk at the hostel for $20 and ride it into town. I have $90 cash left.
Let’s live it up. Why not and what could hurt at this point. I’m at worst case scenario.
I stop off at a cute spot on the beach with live music and order a drink $9, hush puppies $11, and a burger with fries $13. Then another drink $9. I’m still reeling with the loss of my carry on. I miss checking my phone on the regular. I’m left to sit listening to music. After a few songs I start to think it isn’t bad to not have my phone with me. Maybe I’m enjoying myself a little.
When it gets a bit later the crowds start pouring in, and it’s a solid signal for me to peace out so I pop back on the cute cruiser bike the hostel rented me. ‘Blue Bonnet’, that’s what I’ve called her. I ride her back towards the space and stop off at the liquor store to buy a “cheap” bottle of wine.
I actually mean to buy a cheap bottle of wine but then I see the whiskey aisle, Jameson Whiskey. Oooohhh, I love Jameson. It’s not cheap but it’s been a shit day, it couldn’t get worse so maybe this $36 will make it better. Oh, and I need some ginger ale to go with it. $7.
I pack it all into a cheap plastic bag and wrap it around my shoulder to ride home on blue bonnet.
The hostel is popping and I’m ready to die. I wish I had a room to retreat too but I don’t, I’m sharing it with a bunch of strangers, likely half my age, so I grab a coffee cup from the communal kitchen and pour myself a Jameson/ginger.
I have nothing to entertain myself, no phone, no computer. I stare into the golden street light and pretend this isn’t happening to me.
I’m at the end of a rope. It’s always been an effort to live around people and engage but here, in this moment, I feel a rage fill me up. I try my best to stifle it.
A homeless man walks past, starts pandering for money.
“Anything will help.” All the millenials staying at the hostel ignore him and when he passes my table I have a deep desire to just offer him a drink. I have a bottle of Jameson after all. I don’t. Instead I throw $3 at him and say, “I hope it gets better”.
He looks me deeply in the eyes and hauntingly says, “Yeah, it’s about to.” I can’t handle all this bizarre shit and it’s been the worst day of my life so I take myself to bed.
It’s the most horrifying thing in my life to crawl into a “dorm bunk”. I keep all my clothes on and curl up hoping the morning will bring something better my way. It’s a restless night. I toss and turn and feel bugs crawling on me. I’m sure it’s imagined and real at the same time.
At 6am I give up on sleep and roll out of bed. At least my checked baggage has a new set of clothes, toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant in it. I unzip it in the dark with a new realization.
This is not my bag.
I grabbed the wrong bag off the turn style at baggage claim. This bag isn’t mine. In fact, instead of my brightly colored clothes for Hawaii and swimsuits and deodorant it holds only another smaller hard black case. I’m stopped by this and live for a moment in mass confusion.
Then. A knock on the door.
“Hello, Lisa?, Are you awake? We got a call from the Hilo airport and your bag is there.”
My bag? What bag? My checked bag, my stolen bag, what is happening here?
“Hi, it’s Julian. I’m the manager here, all I can say is the airport called and said they have two bags of yours at the airport you can pick them up today.”
I’m elated. I jump up and towards the door.
“Julian, how do I get to Hilo?”
“There’s a bus leaving right out front in 10 minutes at exactly 6:30 am. It’s $2 to ride it.”
I know it’s a sign. I have exactly $2 cash left.
I grab my i.d., leaving the suspect bag behind and hop the bus.
It’s a 3 hour journey and I feel like it’s all gonna work out even though my vacation hasn’t been going as planned it’s all going to turn out okay. I’m excited again. I feel alive and in control of my life because it’s all working out.
A few hours later I am reunited with my bags. Both my checked bag and crazy enough my carry on bag, which is so confusing to me since I’d left it on the floor at the Kona airport. Yet, it wasn’t stolen. Here it was. Sitting at my feet.
I had no cash left but there was my carry on bag with everything. Nothing was missing. My credit card, my computer, my spectacular phone. It was all here including my checked bag.
Oh, my phone!!!! My amazing phone. I entered my passcode and opened up to my screensaver mantra, “today isn’t over yet” in bright pink letters then swiped to my news home page and the first piece of local news popped up on it.
“Terrible tragedy in Kona. Bombing at a popular hostel kills everyone inside.”
I crumble as I read and scroll quickly through all the details of a bag left behind with a bomb in it set to detonate at exactly 6:45am. It’s my bag. Not mine. The one I took from the airport. The one I left behind at the hostel.
I look left, right, all around me with fear. What had happened. Was this my fault? How could this be? I came here for an adventure. Not to kill people.
I didn’t know he was off in the distance watching and thinking…
I landed here for a purpose. Everything is set and ready. I planned it down to the smallest detail and there is no room for error.
And there was no error. She did everything exactly as I knew she would.