I realize that we finished up with School for Hawaiian Girls a while ago, but i can’t get it out of my head. Maybe it is because there are so many songs in it, and I always have a song stuck in my head. There is even background music in my dreams.
Of all the songs in McMillen’s novel, “Danny Boy” has stuck with me the most. For some reason, that song keeps popping up in my life – and not just in the way that a popular song plays on the radio every hour. My little brother sang it in elementary school in choir. It was playing on the stereo when my dad told me that my grand pa was dead. And now it shows up again in a book for class. Next thing you know, I will hear about a concert featuring an unknown starlette who’s favorite song is “Danny Boy.” But, I digress.
Just as she haunted Bernie and Sam, Lydia haunts me. (Actually, it is probably this unfinished blog that is haunting me, but for this poor little blog’s sake, we will say it is Lydia.) I can not help but wonder what might have happened to her if she had somehow survived Daniel’s attack. I imagine that both Bernie and Sam dreamed of such things as well. The following is an alternate chapter I would either place at the very end or right before the chapter where Charlie tears down the old school.
The pretty young girl takes a bow as the audience applauds her performance.
They are all crammed into the main hall in the School for Hawaiian Girls for the annual talent show/fundraiser. It was my idea of course, but Lydia took credit for it. Even after the debacle with the baby she remains the favorite. Even after she was dishonored by that haole Daniel. She nearly died, you know.
“Next, ladies and gentlemen,” Sarah Christian says to the microphone, “We have our very own Lydia Moku!”
She says it with a smile on her face, but we all know she hates Lydie.
“Lydia will be performing ‘Danny Boy,’ self accompanied.”
How can she keep that smile pasted on when she despises Lydie so? On the other hand, I suppose it makes sense. Smiling and favoring her to cover up the dishonor Daniel brought upon her family by raping Lydie. I guess she thinks that if she is nice, her family’s sins will be forgiven. Then again, if she was at all smart, she would know that smiling doesn’t work. Every Hawai’in family in Kohala knows that.
“But come you back…”
Sam is figeting with the gold watch on his wrist. He probably stole it.
“…when summer’s in the me-a-dow.”
He gazes up at Lydie from the front row, trying to catch her eye. Unfortunately for him, the only person who she is looking at is Charlie Moku. How she still loves him, I’ll never know.
“Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow.”
I don’t imagine that he will ever get over her. Then again, neither will most of the men in Kohala.
“Tis there I’ll be in sunshine or in sha-a-dow.”
I squeeze my eyes together and hear her clear voice ring around the hall. They will always love her. They will always love Lydie. Even the ones that are supposed to hate her.
“Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.”
I feel the light weight of a bug on my arm and open my eyes. The hall is empty. I walk across the rotting floor to the piano. One of the ivory keys is missing. I place my finger on one of the dusty keys and press down. The note rings around the hall discordantly as I leave quickly to catch the last boat away from Kohala.