Corrugated metal and patchwork bracing hold them together, the forgotten Victorian storefronts along the sparse Akoni Pule Highway. The road terminates at Polou, where wild guava and coconut line the trail down into the valley. Driftwood shifts in the roiling grey waters, traversing blackened sand and decimated stones. The deafening valley howls. Crashing waves, then the receding of water.
The ones left behind carry on, despite the inclement conditions. Paradise lost to the progression of time and the markings of colonists. The sweet smell of chicken braising in coconut milk wafts through the air, and with it laughter and gossip, in celebration of another day completed in the company of friends. A depreciated flat screen rolls ESPN highlights in the adjacent dining room. The static washes over them.