The Maui rain fell against Jamey’s jeep top, creating a sense of safety inside the vehicle. Many nights in Afghanistan he’d driven in vehicles feeling worse than unsafe. One time, when the Hummer was pelted with enemy fire, Jamey ducked below the dashboard in a ball of compressed bones, muscle and skin, praying he’d live to see his daughters again, watch them blossom into teenagers and beyond. The United States military had originally assured him that he wouldn’t see combat. “No immediate danger,” the higher powers had promised. He’d hoped they could deliver. They hadn’t.
Pulling onto West Maui’s main road, Jamey saw Tina’s baseball cap on the seat beside him. Hank and Tina’s Dive Shop. She’d worn it backwards to keep her hair from blowing in her face on the ride to Molokini, her hair just long enough to whip at her eyes and mouth. Years ago, it had been long enough to spread across the pillows.
At the harbor, Jamey had grabbed the hat off Tina’s head and put it on backwards, trying to engage her with his best Tina impersonation. “I’m Tina, your captain. This is only going to be a three-hour tour, a three-hour tour.” He sang the tune from Gilligan’s Island menacingly, an inside joke in the charter business about everyone ending up shipwrecked.
Although her lips curled into a half-smile, the sadness in her eyes was almost intolerable. Where was that spark in her personality that had defined her years ago? He’d expected her to grab the hat and hit him with it. Instead she looked like his father when the Yankees lost the World Series. “You can have that hat,” she said. “I had to order more with the new logo.”
“What? No sea turtle?”
“No Hank,” she muttered, and threw him a bag of gear to stow in the truck.
He didn’t need to be a genius to figure out the source of her sadness. Tina was a widow. Jamey tried to recall what Katie said about Hank and Tina. “Great couple, so in love, tragic surfing accident.” Jamey doubted that Tina ever thought about the days when he was the man in her life. At least, he hoped she didn’t. She had enough to worry about without rehashing his hasty departure.
Pulling onto Honoapiilani Road, he slowed the jeep to a snail’s pace, enjoying the view. The lower road dead-ended just past his father’s place, resulting in very little traffic. Most tourists chose the upper highway long before they got to The Ridge property. It was faster and, although tourists came to Maui to relax, it seemed like everyone was in a hurry to get somewhere.
Pulling into his dad’s parking spot, Jamey did a quick scan of the property. He wasn’t totally in the clear yet, but he doubted after all this time that anyone was following him. Every day that he wasn’t abducted was another step towards security. If the enemy really wanted him and knew who and where he was, he had to believe they’d have grabbed him weeks ago when he was still in Afghanistan or jumping between airports on the trip home.
He noted the cars in the parking lot. Nothing unusual. The view always stopped him. Overlooking Molokai, Pops’ place sat on the northern cliffs off IronwoodBeach. The majestic Garden Isle loomed in the distance, its mountains towering to meet the low clouds. The condo had been a pricey purchase even in 1988, but Pops rented it out, saving two or three months in the calendar year for family vacations. It had been a brilliant investment. And a godsend for Jamey.
“As much as you love us,” Pops had said only a week earlier, “you need to get away, son. Take a month on Maui. Just like your superior officers said. Think about the armed forces while you’re over there walking the beach, and whether you even want to go back to the war zone. That is, if you still have what they want.”
If he did regain his ability... Even though Jamey hadn’t given Sixth Force his answer, how could he not go back? What else was he going to do? Years ago he’d given up his right to daily doses of his children by agreeing to divorce their mother.
Settling into the deck chair with an icy beer in hand, Jamey thought of Tina, and the day he’d left her. Stepping onto that plane bound for Seattle, he doubted anything would ever be the same. Not after the dream he’d experienced the night before. At the age of thirty-five, he’d never had a precognitive dream. Now he knew the colors were dull, the edges fuzzy. He’d promised Uncle Don that if he ever had one, he’d do everything in his power to not alter the future.