Chapter 4: Papaya and Coconut

Matahina teens (17)Matahina teens (27) Ahio Kaho came from one of the oldest families on Matahina Island. He was just a boy with a warm caramel smile, who had a dozen friends and liked to play the drums. And when Puaura was seventeen years old, she fell in love with him.

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Puaura and Ahio were the perfect couple. Everyone said so. They laughed at the same jokes. They both loved ice cream but hated cake. And most importantly, they both spent most of their waking hours in the sea. Ahio even knew how to scuba dive, so the two of them often went on undersea expeditions together, hunting for treasure. Though for some reason, Puaura could never bring herself to explain that what she sought was no ordinary treasure, but the mythical treasure of Rongo. young love (35) young love (22) young love (30)

She felt like a different person when she was with Ahio. She did not feel the heavy weight of losing her father. With Ahio, everything was speed and light. Motors instead of sails. Light, lorikeet happiness that flitted from beach to beach. She could never stay melancholy for more than two minutes in his presence.

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“They are so in love,” said the people of the islands, wrinkled brown hands cupped to whisper, dark, knowing eyes twinkling as the couple strolled past, hand-in-hand. “They belong together like papaya and coconut.” And Puaura, her heart lighter than it had felt in many years, believed it, too.

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And so, when the day came that Ahio at last proposed marriage, Puaura happily said yes.

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