|On Friday, August 22, 1997, I was a party to an elopement of sorts. Jaimee uprooted her life and moved to Oregon to be with her boyfriend, Nate. Only her parent's didn't know anything about it.|
From: Ryan Kawailani Ozawa <email@example.com>
At 9:32 AM -0000 9/12/97, Greg Bueno wrote:
Actually, it was among the most harrowing events of my life.
I was the one charged with the kidnapping, boarding and transporting. This on the same day we had to race to Hawaii Hochi to get the 'Venue.
Picked her up Friday at noon, skipping work to pull off the kidnapping without parents being home. Jaimee left a short note. We dragged Jaimee, her bird and her stuff to my apartment; went to the Hochi, got the 'Venues, brought them to our apartment; then took William and his stuff (he was living with us right up 'til that day) to the dorm to check in.
Mrs. Pang called at about 4:30 p.m., the message something to the effect of:
"Ryan, this is Mrs. Pang. I need to talk to you, and I think you know why. You can reach me at 5-5-5-6-0-5-4 (spelled out slowly, even though she knows damn well I know the number). Please do not fail to call me."
Then, half an hour later:
"Ryan, this is Mrs. Pang. Please call me at 5-5-5-6-0-5-4. We're not trying to stop her, we just need to know she's okay."
After a very intense conversation with Jaimee, I convince her to call her mom. William and I leave for a bit, she calls, great tears are exchanged, and night falls with fears of a SWAT team dissolved.
The next morning, her dad calls at 7 a.m. and asks her to have me take Jaimee and her luggage back to her house, where they can spend their last few hours together. After talking a bit, we determine it's a no go given her parents can quickly change their tune once Jaimee and all her stuff is back behind closed doors.
We just resolve to take Jaimee straight to the airport, but tell her parents, "We'll be there at 10." Her flight's at 11:15.
I take Jen to work, go pick up William, then return to get Jaimee and her stuff (I needed William 'cause I'm a wimp, and Jaimee's luggage was too much for little ol' me). We take her to the airport, landing her there at 11 where -- of course -- it would've been too late if she'd gone home.
She calls her parents to say, "sorry, meet me at the airport instead," which they do. Reluctantly.
The scene's burned in my mind. Even in the insane discomfort, I managed to click off a Pulitzer shot with my camera.
Mrs. Pang barely holding herself together, Mr. Pang playing the stoic, reasonable one -- actually thanking me for my role in all this (no doubt he wanted me dead). Jaimee's aunt was also there, but after conferring a gift, leaves early.
Jaimee's bird, which we'd kept locked in the closet during its stay in Waikiki, was screaming up a storm. Everyone in the terminal was muttering, "I hope that bird's not on our plane..."
Finally her row was called, she gave everyone a hug, and got on the plane. William and I leave, her parents staying behind to watch -- no doubt -- until the plane took off.
E P I L O G U E :
Nate and Jaimee have lived together happily ever since. And after six years as a couple and four years cohabitating in Portland, they finally got engaged in November 2001.