Making A Leap

By Maria Kanai

The wooden pole at Alan Davis is slippery and half-rotten from a combination of mold and salt water. One wrong step, and you’d fall onto the rocks below.

So I go one step at a time. One foot in front of the other. Then I make the leap.

The cold water is shocking and exhilarating at the same time.

“THIS IS THE BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD!” I scream. Kai lifts a beer bottle up to me in a careless congratulatory toast.

“You are crazy!” Megan yells from the rocks.

Piled haphazardly next to her are three green diplomas embossed in gold with the words “University of Hawaii at Manoa.” Inside each cover is a piece of paper signed by the college president telling us that we’ve successfully graduated — and to go pick up our real diplomas in three weeks.

There is not much green on this side of the island, just gray rock and brown grass. It’s a stark contrast to the lush Hawaii I’d imagined when I moved here four years ago, a home-schooled FOB from Japan. But even back then, I’d fallen in love not with the palm trees, sand and beaches, but with the air — warm and mild and salty, the kind you can really fill your lungs with, the kind you taste on your tongue.

I climb back up, and the three of us sit and breathe in the evening.

“So what do you guys think?” I ask.

“Of what?” “Of what’s to come. Of the Grand Future At Large.”

“I’m scared,” Megan admits after a pause.


“I don’t know. I think because we are never going to be back to where we are now, ever, and I’m going to just sit in front of a computer someday, staring at the screen, eventually getting married with somebody I don’t love, have kids, get fat, have an affair, get a divorce, get sick and die alone. This,” she opens her arms. “This is the best we’re ever going to be.”

“Megan,” Kai drawls, “you’re not going to be like that. Chill. You’re going to be fine. We’re all going to be fine.”

“What makes you so sure?” Megan demands.

“Life’s a waiting game,” Kai replies. The words fall easily from him. “You make your move, do your part, and then you sit back and wait for the universe to do something about it.”

“You’re such a deadbeat,” Megan laughs.

We both see right through his façade; he’s not really that cool, he’s just lazy. But I’ve always had a thing for people who could speak solid, adamant words and yet have a depressingly anticlimactic perspective on everything because, man, isn’t it so cool to not care about anything at all?

“What are you thinking?” Kai asks me.

“Nothing,” I say.

But as we watch the sun disappear, I’m thinking about how I always feel reverent whenever I see something beautiful like this, and it just seems hard to believe there isn’t anything like meaning or purpose.

I get scared too, just like Megan, but I’m pretty sure that we all have a place in the world. It’s just about putting one foot in front of the other.

Maria Kanai is a graduate student majoring in communications. Her interests include books, Netflix and chocolate.

“A SHARED SPACE” is an ongoing reader-submitted column. To share your story, email “SNAPSHOT” is an ongoing reader-submitted photo and caption. To share your photo, email