Angela Nishimoto was raised on the windward side of O‘ahu, teaches on the leeward side, and lives in Honolulu with her husband. She earned her master-of-science degree in botanical science at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She has published fiction in Hawai‘i Pacific Review, Chaminade Literary Review, Kaimana, Hawai‘i Review, Bamboo Ridge, Writing Raw, Ms. Aligned, and elsewhere.
From “Sex Education: A Tragicomedy of Seven Years”
When I was six years old, my parents had a Nichiren Shoshu of America church meeting at our home. Members from all over O‘ahu’s windward side descended on our little house in Kāne‘ohe on Uhilehua Street. The grown-ups chanted the liturgy, sang, recounted experiences, and vowed to practice harder.
Many of the children were outside the brightly lit house, playing in the cul-de-sac, running around in the dark. I walked on the coral-chip path at the front of our place, sounds of the meeting filling my ears. Rickie Ching, a boy from an area north of Kahalu‘u, sauntered up to me and put his arm around my shoulders.
“We go kiss,” he commanded.
I brushed my long hair away from my face and puckered up.
He planted a big, fat, wet one on my tightly pursed lips.
“You wen’ like ’em?” he demanded.
From the Contributor Commentary
The memoir, “Sex Education: A Tragicomedy of Seven Years,” started with “At Sea,” which I wrote when I recalled the feel of salt winds, the muted light through cloud cover on Kāne‘ohe Bay, and numbing fear. I began “At Sea” at the Windward Community College Writing Retreat, headed by Lillian Cunningham. I showed this beginning to my husband, Andrew McCullough—as i do with all my writing. Then i took it to our writing group, and Pat Matsueda, Connie Pan, and Mary Archer brought me to see that it was part of a greater whole. As my memory was stirred, more began to flow. It became a tidal wave.