Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Apr 3, 2018


An interesting thing happens when factual accounts become Urban Legends. Such as the case of 'Janette Lum.' In 1951 at 15 years of age Janette and her friend, Anna Kalilikane were classmates at No Ka 'Oi school in Aiea. Every day after school Janette and Anna studied in the library at the intermediate school next to theirs. Anna said that one day she and a group of her friends wanted to go and meet some boys after school rather than go to the library. Every the vigilant student, Janette decided to go the library next door and study. That was the last time that Anna and her friends would ever see Janette Lum alive. A week later on a late afternoon, a group of teenagers hiking and exploring on the Kailua side of the Old Pali Road came upon the remains of a body which had been dumped in the bushes along a desolate part of that famous or infamous path. The police were called and the autopsy revealed that the already decomposing corpse was that of young Janette Lum. She'd been sexually assaulted and strangled to death with her own jump rope. It would later be revealed that her killer was a family friend who hung around the Lum household  He was a friend of Janette's cousin who always wore his McKinley High School football jersey to show off to the girls. On the afternoon when Janette was done studying at the intermediate school library, she was walking home when suddenly her cousin's friend pulled up in his hot rod and offered her a ride. Instead, they went to Kane'ohe beach to frolick a bit before returning home but along the way, the McKinley boy pulled over to the side of the road along the Pali path and tried to make out with Janette. She refused and began to scream, that's when the boy panicked and strangled her to death with her own jump rope and sexually assaulted her. Realizing what he had done, he dumped her on the side of the road and took off. He was later caught and confessed to the crime.

On March 15, 1992, my late boss and mentor Glen Grant submitted an entry into his 'Obake Files casebook numbered #1467. In it, Glen describes an evening trek with a small group of psychics from New Zealand. He takes them to the grounds of No Ka 'Oi Elementary school where forty-one years later it had gained a reputation for being haunted by the shadows of a famous battle. However, what would possess one of the psychics that night was not a spectral Hawaiian warrior but the ghost of a 15-year-old girl was strangled to death and sexually assaulted. They would later find out at Zippy's restaurant that same evening that the ghost was indeed that of Janette Lum. During this time many stories circulated throughout the local community about a ghost of a young girl skipping rope along the desolate Pali Road with the bottom half of her face decomposed and rotting away. This story can be found in "The Secret Obake File Casebook: Tales from the Darkside of the Cabinet," on page 38. It's interesting that the image of the girl dressed in white with the rotting face who skips rope along a desolate road had been passed around as factual, except that now the desolate location has been switched to the long winding road along Tantalus. Some other ghost groups claim out of their own convenience that the location is at Judd Trail. Truth be told, Janette Lum never existed and neither did her friend Anna Kalilikane. Also, if you were to do a thorough search of the directory of schools on 'O'ahu you will find that No Ka 'Oi school is non-existent as well. Of course, if we're talking about a school that was haunted by the shadows of a famous battle in our Hawaiian history you can pretty much figure out where the actual school is located. Hint; it's not in Aiea.

Knowing the particulars of a story that involved the murder of someone so young, innocent, and undeserving of such a horrific death, Glen Grant knew that he had a Kuleana to respect and protect the names of the actual people involved in such crimes, especially the surviving family. Therefore, names, dates, and locations had to be changed. However, the drawback to such an honorable deed is that people will rush past the fine print and take what they read from such tomes as the literal truth. Thus, was the urban legend of Janette Lum born from a fictionalized account in order to protect the innocent, but the character of Janette Lum was a combination of Dawn Bustamante, Lisa Au, and Diane Suzuki. These three girls were real people who had real families who were devastated as we all were when we learned of their unfortunate circumstances. It scared us and saddened us all at once because they were one of our own. They were just like us.

It's fascinating to see Glen's stories gain traction as urban legends when he so much as writes himself that most of them are fictionalized for a purpose. Kinda makes you think, doesn't it?


Join us as we explore the strange origins behind some of the well known and lesser known urban legends of 'O'ahu. 

From a moving statue in a well-known cemetery to a haunted freeway overpass, which are the ones that have an origin of truth and which are the ones that have been made up?

April 14th, 2018
We'll meet on the steps of the Hawaii State Library at 7pm.

$55 per person
Book your spot soon:

Mar 30, 2018

Before The Son Met The Ocean

Blue and Honey spent most of the morning sharing intimacies and holding one another in such an embrace that it seemed neither would let go for some extent of time. Dave Loggins sang longingly from the old radio in the living room, "Please come to L.A. to live forever..." Honey turned away, making certain that Blue could not see her tears as they stained the pillow she rested her head on. "It's just a song," Blue whispered. "It has nothing to do with us. I'm only going away to school. I'll be back."

"Promise?" Honey said, holding back the building torrent.

"Of course," Blue said. He gently turned Honey toward him and kissed her on her forehead
and was already holding a gold chain with a heart-shaped locket at the end of it in front of her.
He quickly placed it around her neck and even before Honey could say anything, "Don't cry yet because I want you to hear what I'm going to say alright?"

Honey nodded.

"I could get in trouble with my Mother for doing this but I felt it was Pono because of how much I love you. You and I are already like one person. You're a part of me, everything about you is now absorbed through the pores of my skin. I know your smell, your laugh, I can pick out your voice in a room full of women talking at the same time. I thought of all the things that I could buy so that you would know how much I love you while I was away at College, but nothing seemed to be right for you.."

"But you got me this locket?" Honey interrupted as she rubbed her fingers over the gold piece.

Blue shook his head and held both of Honey's hands in his. "It's not the locket itself, it's what's in it."

Honey instinctively went to open the locket but Blue held on to her hands even tighter and looked deeply into her eyes.

"The only thing I could think was that I should give you a part of me. My Mother believes in the old Hawaiian ways and.........well....she would say this was dangerous but, I love you. I trust you and I know that you would never hurt me." Honey followed Blue's eyes as he looked at the locket. She held it in the palm of her hand and opened it. Inside of the locket was a single strand of Blue's hair. Now she knew what he meant. It would be dangerous to Blue if she was someone who had meant to harm him. Others would have taken something like this to render a curse on someone else or even worse, take their life. For Honey, this meant everything. It meant that Blue was giving of himself wholeheartedly. Hawaiians give everything or nothing at all, Honey knew this while growing up in Nanakuli.

For the brief moment that it took Blue to give Honey her gift was the moment when love had renewed itself and had allowed the two to share in yet one more embrace of intimacy.

It was the earlier part of the afternoon when Blue finished packing his bags and put them in the trunk of his car. Honey insisted on driving. Otherwise, she would have spent the whole way to Honolulu Airport crying and she didn't want Blue to keep pulling the car over to the side of the road in order to comfort her. The car drove down the length of Nanakuli Avenue for the last time with its owner now in the passenger's seat. With the car idled at the stop light for a brief moment, Blue tried to change the somber mood into a lite hearted one.

"I don't want to get any phone calls from my folks telling me that some guy is driving my car around Nanakuli okay?" Blue laughed.

"Hey, shut up! How do I know that you won't end up with some Haole
girlfriend up there huh?" Honey narrowed her eyes at him as he continued laughing.

"That's my hair you have in your locket. If I ever do something like that, you can curse me."

"That's not funny Blue, this is meant for love, not evil."

"I know." Blue sighed. "I was just joking."

Blue turned the radio on and leaned back into his chair as Johnny Van Zant crooned in his Southern
drawl, "If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me? For I must be traveling on now...
..there's too many places I've got see..."

Honey held his hand in hers and kissed it gently.

"Love you," she said looking at him.

"Love you, Honey. Always." Blue smiled.

Love was such a powerful emotion that for a moment it prevented Honey from noticing that the traffic light had already changed from Green to Red. She drove into the intersection to make a left turn.


Johnny Boy Martin spent most of the night at his Kaukamana Street home drinking a potent mixture of beer and whiskey. His eyes were bruised and his cheeks were swollen and bloodied after the beating he had just received from his father, John senior. It was the beating of many beatings that he had suffered throughout his 22 years of life, but this was the last. Something deep within Johnny Boy Martin unleashed itself and he lashed out. The punch he delivered was not meant to land in any specific place on his father's body but somehow it found its mark. Johnny Boy Martin caved his father's sternum in with one blow and killed him. When he realized what he had just done, he wasn't sure if he was happy or sad. He just sat there for the rest of the night, staring down at his Father's lifeless form. He began to drink from his father's beer and whiskey stash until everything was gone. It was just past noon when Johnny Boy Martin stumbled to his old man's Corvair and pulled out of the driveway spraying dirt and gravel everywhere. Speeding up Kaukamana Street he catapulted into traffic barely missing a Plymouth station wagon filled with 8 children and a screaming mother in the driver's seat. The tears began to hamper his vision as he drove past Nanaikapono Elementary, it was only at that moment when Johnny Boy Martin saw the Blue Mustang cross the intersection right in front of him that he realized it was too late.

Mar 18, 2018

" The Son Giving Life "

Leiana dragged Ola's lifeless broken body along the salt-encrusted red mud just outside the gates of the refinery which was across the street from the cafe'. It was a dried up canal when it wasn't filled with water coming in from Kawaihae bay. She could hear the gentle tide lapping up against the concrete arches which held up a pathway where foot traffic and vehicles crossed. There was a second pathway after the first which then led out to the ocean. That's where she needed to go; to the water. That's where she needed to bring Ola's body. It was a Herculean effort to get under both overpasses of the small bridges because the mud became more like silt the further she traveled and it began to suck her feet down and hold them in place, but finally, by sheer willpower, she was at the water's edge. The burden of Ola's weight was lessened as Leiana found herself chest deep in the dark water and her son floated into her embrace with little effort as if he were a mere infant.

"Please!" She pleaded into the dark night sky. "Please, I beg you! It's been so long.....I've forgotten all chants, all the incantations! I don't have the things.......I don't have....please...don't let my son's death be for nothing! Please if you're still there........if you hear me.....please take my son.......and give him life! Bring him back......somehow...bring him back! Let him live...I just found him...I just held him for the first time in over a lifetime...please."

Leiana held Ola's body in the gesture of an offering and gently pushed him away from her. His body floated just less than a foot from her and in the glow of the ambient firelight from the accident up the road, she saw two large sharks emerge from the water covering Ola's body with theirs as they brought him down into the dark depths of Kawaihae Bay.

"Mahalo!" Leiana cried. They heard her, she had not been abandoned after all. They'd been watching and listening to her the entire time.  "Thank you....."

The following morning at daybreak, Leiana's pale lifeless body was found just at the edge of the road across the street from the cafe. She died as a result of massive internal bleeding, but on her face was a smile, a beautiful smile of content and happiness. It wasn't a big smile, but it was a smile none the less.


4 Years Later


Bernice Mahi met her husband Andrew at a Barbershop at the Wai'anae shopping center. Andrew was having a difficult time getting his little boy into the barber's chair as he decided at the last minute that he didn't want a haircut. Andrew's scoldings weren't working either so Bernice stepped in and gave the little boy an orange lollipop.

"What's your name?" Bernice asked the little boy while simultaneously giving herself an orange lollipop.

"Kalahikiola," the boy answered softly. "You can call me 'Ola.'

For the next few minutes, Bernice and Ola talked about everything and nothing and became fast friends. Once the lollipops were done, Bernice propped up the little boy in her barber's chair and began to cut his hair without any protest from the little boy. Andrew was pleased but somewhat embarrassed. It turned out that it was father and son Saturday and the both of them had come for a haircut and so Bernice obliged Andrew. Through their conversation, Bernice found out that Andrew was a single father and that the boy's mother moved away suddenly and was never seen or heard from again.  By the end of the haircut, Andrew and Bernice exchanged phone numbers and began dating soon after. Ola took to Bernice without a problem which pleased Andrew greatly. It wasn't long before they were married but it wouldn't be until ten years later that Andrew and Bernice would have their own child, a little girl they named 'Kaiona.'

Initially, Andrew was against a Hawaiian name for his daughter but Bernice insisted that the baby be named after her great-grandmother who came to her in a dream and told Bernice her child would be her namesake.


Bernice laughed at herself while she washed the dishes and gazed out the window into the backyard. "Of all things," she thought. "Why would I suddenly remember that?"

For a second she thought it was Andrew standing in the backyard wearing nothing but a pair of shorts but as she looked closer she suddenly realized it was a naked man standing there. The sight was startling and she screamed out her husband's name. "ANDREW!!!! ANDREW!!!" He came running from the back room into the kitchen and found his wife jumping up and down in hysterics while pointing out the kitchen window. He saw it himself; it had to be some crazed drugged out crack head standing in his backyard with no clothes on. Without hesitation, Andrew grabbed a meat cleaver and ran out to the meet the stranger face to face with Bernice right behind him. Andrew expected the worst but once he arrived in his backyard, he and his wife stopped dead in their tracks. There standing naked in their backyard soaking wet as if he had just emerged from the ocean was the stranger, but it wasn't a stranger.

It was Ola.

Mar 13, 2018

"The Life Giving Son"

At 53 years old Leiana worked a full-time job during the day at the Seafood Bar in Kawaihae and a part-time job on the weekends as a ticket agent at the airport in Kona. Her only real hobby was feather lei making which she learned from a group of lei makers and lauhala weavers at Hulihe’e palace. The women she learned from told her how important it was to have a clear mind and heart while making a lei because the essence of oneself would be contained in the work. Ill feelings or thoughts, however, would prevent the lei from being completed or at worst, the result would be very “Kapulu” or careless. When that happened, no matter how far along one had gone in making their lei, especially a feather lei, the entire lei would have to be taken apart and the person would have to start all over again. It was a frustrating thing to happen to anyone. Some would give up and never try again. Others would take in a deep breath and give it another go. This is what the elder women were always looking for. Not so much at how someone fell, but how they would recover after falling. This would tell them who was worthy enough to continue to the next level.

It was what Leiana needed, and it was why she took to the art so easily and why the elder Hawaiian women took to her so quickly and accepted her into their circle. At that time she was 15 years old when she first moved to Kohala. She was quick to learn and was always watchful but never spoke unless she was spoken to. When she had a question about anything it was always pertinent to what was going on. Most of all, she was respectful and humble. But Leiana had her own reasons. She needed something to help her forget. The making of feather leis allowed her to put aside her heartache for at least a while as she wove the different colored feathers in a descending layered style one on top of the other. Her fingers gained a supple touch and her eyes now held a focused attention to detail. And so, it was in life. Nothing escaped her attention. She had already been trained how to see, listen and feel with her heart and her inner being when she was under her Uncle’s tutelage while living on ‘O’ahu, long before she moved to Hawai’i island. She was successful at this for many years. However, in these last few months, she found herself slipping for some reason. Her mind would begin to wander off in the middle of making a lei. The throbbing pain of years gone by would reverberate through time and find its way into her hands and cause her to misplace a feather or to tie two half hitches instead of one. She sat in her car now, in the parking lot of the seafood bar where she was just about to start work.

“Please,” she prayed. “Let my hands be guided by your Mana today and not by anything else that might cause me to make mistakes.” She took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “ And please, please, please, keep the memories away. I don’t want to remember.” Her eyes began to fill with tears. “I’ve done a good job so far of forgetting. Please, please I just want to forget..”

At that moment Leiana felt the torrent coming but she took another deep breath and held it in for a few seconds and slowly let it out. She had it under control. The last thing she needed was to show up for work a complete emotional mess. If that happened, she knew that she would never survive the day. One more deep breath and she had it in check.

Just up the road at Pu’ukohola heiau, Ola Mahi spoke with a man who sat in his truck in the parking lot of the state park. In his left hand, he held on to a piece of red shammy cloth that was wrapped around a small wooden image which appeared to be black in color. In his right hand, he held a .38 caliber pistol. The man’s eyes were red with rage as he stared straight ahead toward the ocean.

“So what bra? What you going do?” Ola asked.

“I go inside that office and I going shoot Kayla then I going shoot myself and me and her going be together with Ku. Ku is the one who commanded me to kill her.” The man said.

“O.k.” Ola agreed. “But what about the other people in the office? Get Aunty Fran, she old bra and she get kids and grandkids. You going shoot her too or what? And then Uncle Pete, you going shoot him?”

“No.” The man said. “I told you bra. I only going shoot Kayla and then myself and we going die with Ku.”

“Who is Ku? That’s the ki’i you holding on to?” Ola asked.

“Yuuuup. This is Ku bra. He’s da man.”

“Oh nah bra? Das really Ku?” Ola was enthusiastic now. “Wea you got him from?”

The man finally turned and looked at Ola. “Bra, right from undaneat dis heiau. Get one unda watah sea cave bra. I wen go dive down dea one day and I found ‘um. Da ‘ting was calling my name. “Manuel!” la dat.”

“I tell you what bra, just so nobody in da office get hurt, I go bring Kayla ‘ove hea and den you can take care your business wit her bra. Hows dat?”

“Shoots bra.” The man agreed. “She go brah.” Looking at Ola, the man smiled. “See bra? See?”

“See what bra?” Ola asked.

“Ku is talking to you now! He helping you undahstan my stradahgee.! See bra I knew you was right with Ku bra, I knew it!” The man was beside himself with laughter.

“Eh, bra. Before I go inside, you ‘tink I can see Ku real fast kine?” Ola asked.

The man was more than willing to share his wooden image of Ku now that he’d found a fellow believer.

“Oh yeeeeeeeaaaahhh bra! Of course bra! Of course!” The man gingerly handed over the wooden image that was wrapped in the red cloth. Ola received it in his hands with reverence as if it were Kamehameha himself giving it to him. In a flash, Ola grabbed the wooden image and hit the man on his left temple and knocked him out. Quickly opening the door to the truck, Ola took the pistol from the man and lay him down across the front seat. He called the workers in the office to let them know that everything was o.k. He then called the police and afterward, stayed with the man until they arrived. Looking at the small wooden image of Ku, Ola said.

“Sorry Ku. I guess this guy didn’t see the made in Taiwan sticker on your feet? ”

The office workers came out to see what happened and were shocked to see the man laid out cold across the front seat of his truck. Kayla cried because of the fact that she was almost killed by this crazy man.

“Who the hell is this?” Ola asked her.

“His name is Lyle Manuel. I made the mistake of bringing him home one night after we met at the bowling alley. He didn’t understand that it was just a one-night thing. Thank you so much Ola! Good thing you happened to be here!” Kayla said.

“You should thank Aunty Fran and Uncle Pete. They’re the ones that let me come here to do research for my students at U.H. Hilo. If it weren’t for them letting me come here today, you’d be dead.” Ola said. Kayla stepped forward to hug him but he grabbed her and redirected her to hug Fran and Pete.

After the police arrived and took Lyle away, Ola drove down to the seafood bar for an early dinner and a dirty martini. When he arrived, he found that the establishment was half empty save for the waitress who sat behind the counter making a feather lei.

“Hi!” The waitress said. “Just take a seat anywhere you like, I’ll be right with you.”

Ola took a seat at the counter.

“I think it’s better for me to sit here. You look like you’re concentrating really hard. I almost hate having to order dinner.” Ola smiled.

“That’s nice of you.” The waitress replied. “What are you having?”

“Uh,” Ola replied. “I’ll have the ‘ahi steak and the green olives and a bowl of poi.”

“Very good,” The waitress said. “Coming right up.”

As the woman left the counter to go and place his order, Ola examined the feather lei. One end was fastened to a small ribbon which in turn was tied to the back end of a huge steel clip which was locked on the counter.

“Interesting,” Ola said. “It looks like a lot of work.”

“It can be.” The waitress said. “But it’s also very therapeutic. It helps to calm you and clear your mind.”

“You obviously have a very clear mind. This is beautiful.” Ola said.

“Thank you. That’s the second compliment you’ve given me. One more like that and I’ll start to think that you’re trying to get a free meal.” The waitress laughed.

“I’m sorry.” Ola smiled. “My name is Ola.”

“I’m Leiana.” The woman said.

“Do you mind if I play a song on the jukebox?” Ola asked.

 “Go right ahead,” Leiana said.

Ola looked through the list a couple of times and finally chose 173. Returning to the counter, Leiana reminded him that he hadn’t ordered a drink for his meal.

“Originally, I was thinking about a dry martini. But now, I think I want a peach flavored tea.” Ola said.

“Do you want that with some rum or just mild?” Leiana asked.

“Mild is fine. I still have to drive back to Hilo.” Ola said.

Just then, Linda Ronstadt’s voice began to echo from the music machine.

“Hey, mister that’s me up on the jukebox. I’m the one singing this sad song. And I cry every time, that you slip in one more dime, and play me singing the sad one, one more time…”

“Prisoner in Disguise,” Leiana said. “That’s a great album.”

“You know this album?” Ola asked.

“I was still in my teens when this album was released. And what is that supposed to mean? Do I know this album? This is when music meant something. Songs were based on real people back then. It had the real soul to it. Today, it’s just a lot of noise.” Leiana said.

“This album was all I had when I was about 6 years old. I was sick a lot, in and out of Children’s Hospital. At home, I had to stay in my room a lot and rest. All I had was an old record player and that album.” Ola shared.

Leiana looked at Ola and said,

“You’re almost like an old soul, even though you’re young. Sort of like, you’ve been this way a few times.”

“Oh, I don’t know about that.” Ola laughed. “My girlfriend says I’m too much like a kid sometimes, it drives her crazy.”

“Order’s up!” The cook yelled from the back.

Bringing his dinner to him, the waitress noticed that Ola was still closely examining her feather lei.

“Would you like to learn how to make one?” She asked.

“I don’t know if I even have the patience for it. It seems like, if you make a mistake, you should stop to go back and fix it before you continue. Kind of like how life is. Except that some people never go back to fix their mistakes, they just continue as if nothing happened.”

“That’s exactly right,” Leiana said. “One mistake in making feather lei and you have to take it apart and start all over again, no matter how far along you are. That’s patience, and it shows character.”

Ola looked at her thoughtfully and said, “Can I get back to you on this one?”

Leiana replied, “You’re not obligated, don’t worry.”

“No,” Ola said. “I want to check my schedule and make sure that it’s o.k. with my girlfriend. We’re both teachers at U.H. Hilo so we hardly get a chance to spend time together.”

“Aiyah you,” Leiana said exasperatedly. “Bring her! This could be something that the two of you could do together! That way there’s no misunderstanding if you were to come and learn by yourself!”

“Oh! Oh yeah!” Ola laughed. The dinner hit the spot and as Ola neared the end of his meal, he asked Leiana if she minded if he played another song on the jukebox.

Smiling now she said. “Why even ask now?”

“Mahalo,” Ola replied. Just as he pressed number 181, his phone rang, It was his girlfriend Kailani. Looking over at Leiana, he signaled to her that he was going to take his call outside and that he would be back in a second.

As Leiana began to bus his table, the next song echoed from the music machine like a voice from the past. She had meant to have that particular song removed from the jukebox, but because so few people came into the establishment at this hour, she’d forgotten about it. Now here it was playing with its steel guitar accompaniment and stand up basss and slow ‘ukulele and guitar.

“Ua Noho Au a Kupa I Kou alo, a kama’aina a’e I kou leo…I have stayed and become accustomed to your face, and familiar with your voice…”

It was too much for Leiana to hear. She quickly walked to the Juke Box and unplugged it for five seconds and then plugged it back in. She would apologize to Ola and explain that for some reason that particular song gets stuck and never plays all the way. He would have to make another selection.

“Please.” She prayed. “I asked for no more memories but you’re not listening. Please, I beg you please.”

The family gods and the myriad of akua and kini akua would not heed Leiana’s prayers. Something had been set in motion that night at the seafood bar that could not stop until in unfolded like a fine piece of Kilohana. Leiana was the key to it all. However, in a very small way, one of her prayers would eventually be answered, and then her life would never be the same.

“That was my girlfriend, Kailani. I talked to her about it and she says it sounds exciting! She’s all for it.” Ola said.

“See? As long as you communicate everything works out smoothly. So, what brings you to Kawaihae? Hilo is a far drive.” Leiana asked.

“I’m here doing research up at Pu’ukohola. It’s part of the final exam for my class. I’m going to bring them here and they are going to have to tell me different aspects of the history of not only the heiau but about this location in general.” Ola said.

“Oh like storytelling. Ha’imo’olelo.” Leiana agreed.

“Right,” Ola said. “That’s exactly what it is. I don’t want them to just give me a report on a piece of paper. I want them to tell it to me in their own words and bring the story to life. I want to be transported to that time and place. I want them to make me smell the smells and feel the wind on the back of my neck. I want them to make me feel the wind raise the mist from the top of an incoming wave and carry it to me as it touches my skin and leaves a sheen of salt water on it. That’s what I want them to do.”

“Wow.” Leiana said. “That’s a tall order for a bunch of college students.”

“Yeah, it’s kind of overkill.” Ola laughed.

“You know, not all of them are gonna get it? You have to be ready for that. It’s easier to encourage them to do it the best way they know how in accordance with their own capabilities.” Leiana thought about what she’d just said and apologized. “Howz me, telling you how to teach? Sorry about that.”

“It’s ok. It’s an honest opinion, can’t argue with that.” Ola started to search his pockets as if he had lost something. “Dang. I’m out of quarters. I guess I missed my song huh?”

“Oh,” Leiana said. “That song you played always skips. I think that it’s scratched or something. I’m probably going to have to take it out and replace it.”

“Too bad. It’s a great song.” Ola said.

“You like those old songs huh?” Leiana asked.

“Yea, there’s something about them that makes me feel simple and easy, like home. Like I mentioned, when I was sick and home all by myself, a lot of those old songs were my friends.” Ola said.

“So then,” Leiana asked. “Where did you get your interest in Hawaiian music from?”

“Oh,” Ola smiled. “A few years back in school in the student lounge I heard a girl singing that song. Her voice, the words, the intonation and just the emotion of it, moved me. Can you imagine someone saying those things to you?

“Ua noho au a kupa I kou alo,
A kama’aina a’e i kou leo
Ka hi’ona a ka mana’o la i laila
I’ane’i ka waihona a ke aloha

I have stayed and become accustomed to your face
and familiar with your voice
The memory of someone attracts me there
Where the sweet water makes love flourish”

“Who takes the time to tell someone things like that nowadays? Where does that kind of thought and emotion come from?” Ola asked.

Leiana put her head down as she pretended to stretch open her feather lei and examine it. All the while she was really making her best effort to hold back the flood of tears that were on the very brink of bursting through.

“Well, look. You know the name of this place now right? Call me, I’m here all the time and let me know when the two of you can make it back here ok?”

“O.k. I’ll do that. Thanks for everything! Sorry for talking your ears off. I just get carried away sometimes you know? Anyway, I’ll call you tomorrow. Mahalo!”

As soon as Ola was out the front door, Leiana crouched down behind the counter as the tears came freely now. Her body heaved and she couldn’t hold back her sobs. Raymond, the cook quickly came out from the kitchen and knelt next to her and held her for a long time.

“I know,” Raymond said. “I know. It’s gonna be ok. It will, it will all be alright.”

“ I can’t control it anymore.” Leiana cried. “There’s nothing I can do to stop it, and things have been happening lately that make all these memories come back! Like this kid who walked in here earlier…..those songs he played on the jukebox. I don’t know what the hell is going on..?!”

“You know him?” Raymond asked.

“I have never met him until he walked through that door,” Leiana said

After the drive home to Hilo, Ola shared more details of the day’s events with Kailani. From Lyle’s determination to spend an eternity with Kayla and Ku, to his interesting meeting with Leiana, the day seemed to have been filled with surprises which unbeknownst to Ola, had already seeped into his subconscious.

Later that night in Ola’s dream he was back somewhere in the ancient time of our ancestors where he saw himself running across a vast field of pili grass. He wore a rust-colored malo and there was urgency in his haste as if he were running from something or someone. A moment later a mob of people appeared running in close pursuit behind him, armed with sticks and rocks and shark-toothed weapons and spears, they’d meant to take his life. Ola’s dream self-stopped suddenly and delivered a brutal straight punch to the man running closest to him. The impact not only broke the man’s nose, but it shattered the bones just below his right eye socket and caused him to drop the short-armed spear that he was carrying. None of the mob expected something so horrific, and it’s what Ola was counting on. It brought him enough time to pick up the short-armed spear and to put a greater distance between himself and the crowd.

To his right, he noticed an opening to a lava tube that could only be seen if the wind were blowing the pili grass to and fro, but today the wind was not so kind. Ola quickly backed into the tube, all the while making certain that no one followed him in. A short second later, he could feel the thundering feet of the mob as it ran right past the opening. It gave him to a moment to take a quick breath when he suddenly bumped into someone behind him. Ola spun around quickly and with a short closed body stroke, he stuck the short spear into his assailant’s heart and killed him instantly.

However, in the heat of the moment, Ola reacted too quickly. There, lying dead on the ground with a short spear sticking out of his chest was no assailant, but a little boy who held on to a small ball of ‘olona. He had an unusual crescent-shaped birthmark on his left cheek, which would have made him more adorable had he still been alive.

Ola’s dream self was horrified at what he’d just done. In his mind, he became furious at the mob that pursued him.

“They did this.” He thought to himself. “They caused me to kill this innocent boy. If they want to kill me then fine. I’ll take a few of them with me.”

Dashing up and out of the lava tube, Ola emerged just in time to see the mob in the distance. He put two fingers in his mouth and in one breath, gave a sharp, piercing whistle. The mobbed stopped for a moment, and turning in the direction of the whistle, they saw him. They began to move at a slow trot but managed to build up momentum until they were running at a full pace.

Ola breathed calmly and walked toward them slowly. As soon as they drew closer, he made a sudden mad dash and ran directly into the middle of the mob and was engulfed by flesh and weapon.
A second later he sat upright in his bed and let out a short yell, “Aaaahhhhhh..!!!”

Kailani rolled over from her sleep and gently rubbed his back.

“Is it that dream again?”

“Yea,” Ola said as he exhaled slowly. “I haven’t had that dream since I left home. I don’t know why it’s coming back all of a sudden.”

“Tomorrow go ask Aunty Pua. She knows about dreams and stuff.” Kailani said half awake.

Ola got out of bed and went into the living room to get some fresh air. This dream was a part of his past that he had put behind him along with other things. Why would it suddenly resurface now after all this time? Other echoes seemed to be reaching out to him through the thread of time, but he wasn’t prepared to answer. Not just yet anyway. The past and the present were soon going to meet at the intersection of fate, and the road they would take toward the future would bring all three elements together in one place and time. How they get there is the question.

The following day at 2:30pm the phone rang at the Seafood Bar in Kawaihae. Raymond answered the phone and heard Ola’s voice on the other end asking for Leiana. She hadn’t expected Ola to call so soon but she was happy to hear his voice nonetheless.

“Aloha, Leiana! It’s Ola..!”

“Aloha, Ola! How are you?” Leiana replied.

“How is this Saturday? Is that day okay for you or are you busy?” Ola asked.

“Oh yes, that day is fine. It’s best that we start early because there are a few things you have to do before we start making the actual feather lei.”

“Oh, I see,” Ola replied, “How is ten o'clock? Is that too early?”

“Nine o'clock is better,” Leiana cautioned.

“Nine o'clock it is,” Ola said, “Where are we meeting?”

“Just come down Mahukona Road and take the first left as soon as you pass the Seafood Bar. It’s not hard to find,” Leiana said.

“Alright, I got it. We’ll see you there!” Ola was excited.

“Aloha!” Leiana said. She must have stood there for too long while she gathered her thoughts about preparing everything for that coming Saturday because Raymond was watching her very closely.

“Stop thinking so hard. All you’re doing is showing him and his girlfriend how to make feather lei. It’s not a course in quantum physics,” Raymond said.

Looking at Raymond, Leiana replied, “Can you stop hovering all the time?”

“Who’s hovering?” Raymond said, “This is the kitchen, this is where I work. You’re in my workspace and you’re not using your inside voice. People can hear you way up the road for chrissakes!”

“I’m doing it again yeah?” Leiana said.

“Yeah,” Raymond answered, “Plus, you’re the only waitress I have who can handle the night shift. You can’t go around here having nervous breakdowns. I’m not being a jackass because I understand where all of this is coming from but when we have a full house up in here, you need to be on your game. I need you, Lei. I need you to be here, in your body. I’ll help you any way I can but in the end, you’re the only one who can do it, makes sense?”

“Makes sense,” she said.

Raymond walked over to where Leiana was standing and gave her a hug. “You’ll be fine. Now c’mon, let’s get ready for the lunch crowd. Damned construction workers, it’s like feeding the Klingon Fleet!”

On the morning when Ola and Kailani arrived at Leiana’s modest home on Mahukona Road, they’d spent the first hour and a half cutting dyed goose feathers at an inch in length, and then saving the second cut of the feathers for another lei to be made later. It was not an easy task as they both had to use a measuring gauge that was made specifically for that purpose. Once that was done, Leiana first showed them method in which every single feather was placed one on top of the other so that it fell in a downward spiral as each feather was fastened down individually by a piece of thread that was tied in a traditional half hitch knot. That exercise alone took up most of the day.

By the time they were done, Kailani had only progressed three inches with her feather lei. She showed Leiana the difficulty she was having in trying not to make the feathers bunch up one on top of the other.

Ola, however, had progressed a full 8 inches. He had made mistakes along the way but was patient enough to go back and undo his mistake, and start all over again. Leiana made a note of that but also noticed Kailani’s feather lei.

“When I made my first feather lei at 15 years old, this is exactly what it looked like. But I didn’t give up. I kept at it until I finally got the hang of it. That’s a part of this process; it tests your patience and builds character. It’s like anything else Kailani, the more you practice, the better you get.”

“Yeah,” Kailani said looking over at Ola, “we can’t all be prodigies.”

“Don’t worry sweetie. He’s not a prodigy,” Leiana said, “He’s just ho’oio!”

The two women cackled laughing while Ola sat there unimpressed.

“It’s a shame how the naturally talented always have to be condemned for their god given abilities,” Ola sneered.

“Oh please!!!” The two women laughed.

“Hey,” Ola said, “It’s three o'clock. Shouldn’t you be getting to work Leiana?”

“Oh my gosh!” Leiana screeched, “I forgot to feed you, folks! What kind of hostess am I?”

Rushing into her bathroom to change, she gave directions from the shower, “Go down to the Seafood Bar and order whatever you want! It will be on my tab! That’s an order! Not a request!

Ola and Kailani looked at one another and smiled. They were starving.

This became the normal routine at Leiana’s house for the next month. Often times it was Ola and Kailani who provided lunch or it was Leiana who would prepare a meal. Eventually, the laughter and happy conversations would stop once every one set themselves to work. All three worked in silence but were keenly aware of one another’s presence. When one would make a slight mistake, that person’s breathing would suddenly change. Leiana, more often than not, would stop her own work in order to help either Ola or Kailani. If there was a slight glitch, she would undo the mistake and then let them continue. The day would end with a meal which would then lead into a long night of conversation and laughter. On the first Saturday of the following month, Kailani was not able to attend to due to a friend’s baby shower, of which she was put in charge. Ola arrived at the usual time and, with less than an inch left on his feather lei, he wasted no time and went right to work.

“It’s a beautiful lei, Ola. That golden yellow color is a good choice for you,” Leiana said.

“Thanks. I never thought I would finish,” Ole answered.”Aaaaaaaannnnd… I’m done! Yes!”

“That’s very nice Ola. Everything is even and well placed good job!” Leiana gave Ola a hug and laughed at the same time, "If you’ll give that to me, I’ll tie off the end for you.”

“Sure,” Ola said, as he handed the garland of feathers to Leiana, “here you go.”

“In my years of limited experience,” Leiana was joking now, “I’ve seen many feather lei made. Some are exquisite. Others are okay. Some people make mistakes in the lei hulu and just keep going. All of that is indicative of the person themselves. It reveals their personality and how they live their life. That’s just the way people are and there’s nothing wrong with that. But rarely, rarely there comes a person who starts out making a lei hulu that is just beautiful, the choice of colors for the feathers are so rich and so tangible, you can almost taste it.”

Taking a deep breath, Leiana continued, “That’s a lei hulu you don’t ever want to end up making, never make that lei.”

“Well, why not?” Ola asked.

“That lei never gets finished. The circle is never completed,” Leiana said seriously.

There was a short moment of silence as Leiana stared off into space.

“I’m sorry,” Leiana said as she came back to herself, “I have to get ready for work. I’ll be right out.”

“Okay,” Ola said, “Do you mind if I peruse the contents of your bookshelf?”

“Go right ahead!” Leiana said as she disappeared down the hallway toward the bathroom.

Ola found that Leiana’s bookshelf was filled with many paperback novels about romance and mystery. There were books by Westervelt that were very old. Toward the bottom of the bookshelf were a few photo albums but they were mostly filled with photographs of Leiana and a group of older Hawaiians who were busy making feather lei. As Ola opened the last photo album, an old black and white picture fell out and rested itself next to Ola’s foot on the floor. He bent over and picked it up quickly to look at it. The photograph revealed an old Hawaiian man with a shock of white hair and a full beard. He was dressed in a white kihei. Standing in front of him were two teenagers, a girl on his left and a boy on his right. They must have been no older than 14. The girl and boy were also dressed in white kihei as well. It didn’t take long before Ola recognized the face of the boy. Looking at the eyes and shape of the girls face in the photo, it became obvious that this was a picture of Leiana in her younger days. Written on the back of the photo was the year, “1974.”

Just then Leiana appeared in the living room dressed and ready for work.

“What’s that you got there?” She asked.

Showing the old picture to Leiana, he asked her, “Is this you in this picture?”

“Oh yes,” Leiana said, “I don’t know why I kept that picture but I’ve had it all this time.”

“Who are they?” Ola asked.

“Well,” Leiana said, “The old man is our Uncle and the boy next to me is my cousin. That was years ago, I haven’t seen them since.”

“The boy next to you is your cousin?” Ola asked.

“Yes,” Leiana exhaled, “My cousin Analu.”

“Andrew?” Ola was pressing now.

“Yes, Andrew,” Leiana replied, “Why?”

There was a momentary silence before Ola answered. “That’s my father,”

Leiana’s face suddenly became very serious, “Analu is your father?”

“Yes,” Ola said.

“What’s your full name? Your whole name?” Having asked the question and already knowing the answer in her heart, Leiana was on edge.

Without hesitation Ola replied.


“No,” Leiana said, “No, this can’t be, No! Oh my god no! It can’t be you after all this time! You have to go! Get out! Get out! Get out!” Pushing Ola out of the door now, Leiana slammed it shut and locked the door behind him. Sitting on the floor sobbing now, she could only scream, “Go home Ola, please! Just leave me alone! I need time to think!”

Ola stood there shocked and confused. He couldn’t figure out what just happened.

All Leiana could do was cry. This should have been the happiest day of her life but it was too much for her to take. The gods had answered her prayers but not in the way she had expected.

Leiana tried to be as calm as possible even though her emotions were getting the best of her. She gave it her best effort not to come off like a bitch to the young man who was now standing outside her door, confused and dumbfounded. He had every right to know why his father was in a picture that he had obviously never seen his entire life until now.

“Ola, I just need a couple of days to think and I’ll call you okay? I just need to be alone right now.” Her voice was broken.

“I’m sorry if I said anything to make you upset! Please tell me what I did wrong?" Ola pleaded.

“You did nothing wrong. It’s just me, that’s all. I promise I’ll call you in a couple of days. Please go home now,” Leiana said.

“Okay.” Ola slowly stepped down the stairs and looked at the closed door for a second and then left.

The couple of days that Leiana promised Ola turned into a month. She wouldn’t answer his phone calls and when he showed up at her house, she left him a note telling him not to come to her place or to the Seafood Bar. When Ola shared the incident with Kailani, she couldn’t figure out what had happened either. All they could surmise was that she knew Ola’s father and that they were cousins and that she freaked out. Everything else remained a mystery.

“Here’s the miracle that you’ve spent all of your life praying for and when it shows up you chase it away? And now you won’t take his phone calls or you have ME chase him away when he shows up here? I don’t get it Leiana?” Raymond said.

Leiana ignored him and headed straight toward the jukebox.

“Leiana, you can’t drown your sorrows in a bunch of heartbreak songs. You have to go talk to that boy and tell him everything! Leiana?” Raymond walked over to her and grabbed her by the shoulder and turned her around.

“No more sad songs Leiana., no more heartbreak! This boy is your chance to get rid of all that sadness!”

Leiana’s light brown eyes looked up at Raymond with an ancient weariness which weighed on her shoulders for a lifetime. She put a quarter into the music machine and pressed number 175. Looking at Raymond she said, “Some people have comfort food, I have comfort songs,”

She walked off to refill the empty napkin containers and refill some of the empty ketchup bottles. A moment later, the B side of “Hey Mister” echoed out from the music machine.

“Well, it’s so funny to be seeing you after so long girl,
ah... but the way you looked, I understand that you were not impressed?
I heard you let that little friend of mine, take off your party dress?
I’m not gonna get too sentimental like those other sticky Valentines.
‘Cause I don’t know if you were loving somebody, I only hope he wasn’t mine….
Alison, I know this world is killing you… Alison my aim is true…”

Another evening shift went by as Raymond and Leiana closed up the kitchen and headed out to their cars in the parking lot. Leiana stopped in her tracks when she noticed Ola leaning up against her car with his arms folded.

“What is he doing here? I told him that I didn’t want to see him!” Leiana asked out loud.

“You can blame me for that one,” Raymond said, “This has gone on long enough and you need to put some closure on it once and for all. You owe it to him. This isn’t a coincidence Lei. Get over there and talk to him.”

“You’re gonna pay for this Raymond. I’m gonna tell everyone what your real name is!” Leiana scolded him.

“Yeah but no one will call me Leslie to my face!” Raymond called out from behind her.

Approaching Ola, Leiana put her head down with her arms folded and said, “Hi.”

“Hi,” Ola said.

His eyes told her everything. There was a hunger there for something that needed nourishment and clarity, “I’m not a stalker or anything but…”

 Leiana put her palm out to him and said, “Wait. Just wait. I better tell you here and now before I lose my nerve, so just listen okay? Whatever you decide to do after this is up to you,”

“Alright,” Ola agreed.

With her arms crossed in front of her, Leiana took a deep breath and began.

“The family we come from, which includes you, is descended from the Pele line. We are a line of Kahuna who were healers and our ‘Aumakua is Hi’iakaikapoli’opele who is Pele’s youngest sister. Our method of healing was very specific and, if not done correctly, could also be very dangerous. It was an art form called, “Kupaku.” have you heard of it?”

“No,” Ola replied, shaking his head.

“It’s alright. Very few people have;  it’s the art of bringing someone back from the dead by capturing their spirit or their essence or however you want to say it, and put it back into their body.”

Nodding now, Ola said, “Like Lohiau?”

“Yes,” Leiana said, “Exactly like Lohiau. You see a lot of our legends appear to be that just that but that’s because our language is so beautifully ornate that something as simple as a leaf cannot be described as just a leaf. A Hawaiian person sees a leaf and they describe it as a leaf attached to a branch which comes from a tree whose roots are firmly planted in the earth, which is the body of Papa, the earth mother who receives nourishment from her lover, Wakea the sky father; who intimately gifts Papa with his fine misty rains. Do you see?  You know our language and you know the heart of our people and you know that within the content of our decorative poetry is the truth. So… that art was passed down through the ages until the late sixties and early seventies. That’s when it was already dying out. It was a different time and everyone was trying to acclimate and become more Americanized and the people in our family had lost interest in anything Hawaiian. The very last person who knew this art and practiced it as it was taught to him by his grandparents was a very intense Hawaiian man known as, Ka’aikuahiwi. Everyone feared him because of what they all knew he could do. Even the Police left him alone and the church wouldn’t even touch him. In fact, whenever the local pastor saw Ka’aikuahiwi coming, he would make it a point to walk on the other side of the street. Ka’aikuahiwi had two younger siblings, one brother, and one sister. Ka’aikuahiwi’s younger brother, John, was my father. His younger sister Melia was your father’s mother. That’s how he and I are related. He’s my first cousin.”

Leiana took a deep breath at this point and stood beside Ola. Unfolding her arms, she now began to slowly rub her hands on her thighs.

“Knowing that there was no one else left to pass down his knowledge to, Ka’aikuahiwi went to our parents, your father’s and mines and he told them that he wanted the two of us to be his students so that we could continue his knowledge after he was gone. For as much as our parents were modern Hawaiians who were now trying to live and survive in the westernized Hawai’i of the early nineteen seventies, there was no way that they were going to refuse their older brother’s request. So, they consented and, at 6 years old, our training began."

Leiana’s hands were together now as if in prayer. It was now coming back to her, every detail, every smell, every feeling. She was in her past watching it all unfold in front of her. The tears flowed without effort, in very much the same way that the story of her life was now playing without pause.

“From school, we went home and did our homework, completed our chores and went straight to being with our uncle. We learned everything simply by watching and listening. There was so much to learn about medicinal plants and which ones to use by a particular moon phase or a particular position of the sun. There was the use of certain kinds of seaweeds and sea creatures and particular kinds of land animals. And there were the prayers and the chants. Many of them were very long and had to be mastered line for line; there could be no mistakes. We assisted our Uncle in many ceremonies. Once, he brought back a young boy who died after he hit his head on a rock while diving off of a short cliff at Nanakuli beach. Although the boy’s body was lifeless, his spirit was still diving off of the cliff at the beach. That’s where our uncle was able to capture it in a small bamboo container and bring it back to the boy’s body. He massaged it back into the body through the big toe. As we got older, your father and I were allowed to start with small things, like cats and dogs and a few mice. By the time we were eleven years old, we were allowed to go to a delivery room in a hospital where a baby was born dead. Your father was the one who found the baby’s spirit in the top left corner of the delivery room near the ceiling. It left the baby’s body just as it was being born. It was still attached to its previous life and it didn’t want to be born in this life. Your father helped it understand that its previous life no longer existed and that the people it knew and loved were long gone and that there was nothing to go back to. As sad as the spirit was, it agreed to go back to its new incarnation and a new life was born. It was an amazing thing to see.

The day finally came when your father and I were 14 and our Uncle was going to let the two of us lead the Kupaku ceremony for a man who had died of a broken heart. His spirit was captured in the folds of the dress that his beloved always wore. Even though she had thrown him away like common trash, he felt that this was the only way he could be with her. Our uncle captured his spirit in a long bamboo container; the rest was up to us. Everything was done correctly; all of the methods involving medicinal qualities and certain types of water to be placed in a particular kind of vessel were in order. The phases of the moon and sun were in correct alignment as were the rains and winds. His body was wrapped with particular kinds of ferns and ti leaf. All the prayers, although lengthy were correctly given without a mistake, we waited and waited but nothing happened.

The man’s body was still lifeless and he never came back to himself. With the dead man’s entire family standing there watching the whole ceremony, my uncle became embarrassed and excused himself and us. He took the two of us outside and told us to wait. He returned back to the house and tried to complete the rest of the ceremony by himself but nothing happened. The man didn’t come back. Even though his spirit was in his body, he didn’t reanimate. He was dead and he remained that way. When we got back home later that evening, he was completely furious with your father and my self and he beat us. He had already figured out what we had done wrong.”

“What was that?” Ola asked, “What could you have done wrong if all the proper protocols and prayers were done and all the elements were in order? What could you have done wrong?”

Looking at Ola through her tears but still smiling, Leiana said, “We fell in love.”

Ola placed both of his hands in front of his mouth and nodded. He understood now and through Leiana’s words, he truly began to feel the essence of his beginnings. Wiping away the tears, he continued to listen as Leiana went on with the story of her life.

“We were all we had, we were with each other all the time, every day. As we grew older, we began to develop feelings for one another and we began to discover... love. We never thought for a moment that our uncle would ever find out but he did, and when he did, I was already four months pregnant. That’s why the Kupaku didn’t work that time. We had to remain pure whenever performing the ceremony and well… you know. At that point, our training stopped and our uncle took me away. I was forbidden to see your father after that. Needless to say, our parents were embarrassed but I have to give my father credit, he did stand up for me when our uncle called me a whore.”

When Ola was finally born, all Leiana could do was sleep.

Two days later, Leiana’s parents broke the news to her. They were moving from Nanakuli and going to live on Hawai’i island in Kohala. They were ashamed of what everyone might think and before they could cause any more embarrassment for the family, it would be best that they pick up and move. Leiana was already devastated that she would have to leave Analu behind, but that wasn’t the complete story.

Arrangements were made between Ka’aikuahiwi and Analu’s family that they were going to care for the child and that Analu himself would learn to be responsible for the child he helped create. Leiana would have no contact with the child or the family again.

On the day when the infant was put into the arms of his father at their home, Ka’aikuahiwi was the one who was holding the child. Leiana and her parents stood behind the old man while Analu and his parents stood in front of the door of their home.

“His name is Kalahikiola. That will BE his name. NO haole name. Don’t change it.” The old man said.

The child was sleeping as it lay in its father’s arms. Analu looked at Leiana who was already insane with grief and heartbreak as her only connection to her true love was taken from her. It was the last time the two would ever see one another.

But the cruelty of the day was not over. It was Ka’aikuahiwi who actually got on the plane with Leiana and flew with her to Kohala. She was told that her parents would be joining her later, but they never came. They felt that it was Leiana herself who was the cause of their shame and that, with her gone, they would somehow be able to salvage their reputation in the community. She was introduced to relatives in Kohala who were related to her on her father’s side of the family. They were going to be the ones who would care for her and see to her needs. This was her new home and this is where she was going to spend the rest of her days.

“I tried to kill myself several times after that, but somehow my family here knew what I was going to do and they always were able to stop me. I spent my whole life wondering who you might grow up to be and that if I ever ran into you somewhere, would I even know that it was you? That’s why I took up making feather lei, to focus on something else and forget about my pain. I was doing great at it all these years and then suddenly in the last few months, all those memories started to seep through. That day when you walked into the bar and you played that song, “Ua Noho Au a Kupa,” that’s the song your father would always sing to me whenever we were together. He had a natural talent for the ‘ukulele and a beautiful voice. That day, it was as if time reached out from the past. I should have known then. What I really wanted to tell you is that I’m sorry for interrupting your life. I realized that you were already raised by a woman that you grew up knowing as your own mother. I had no right to act the way I did, but I didn’t want to ruin your life. Do you understand? That’s the main reason why I freaked out and well….I just wasn’t prepared for this. I really wasn’t.”

“Well,” Ola replied. “you’ve done nothing wrong by telling me this. In fact, just hearing that story helps bring clarity to my entire existence!”

“How do you mean?” Leiana asked.

“The reason I was shocked to see that photo of the two of you and your uncle dressed the way you were is because my father is the most anti-Hawaiian Hawaiian there is! Everyone called us the coconuts behind our backs in Nanakuli! He wouldn’t allow me to do or associate with anything Hawaiian while I was growing up. In fact, whenever there was a Hawaiian program of any kind at school, he would always make sure that I was absent on that day. It was like that my whole life. He sent me to Saint Michael's School for boys and man on the day that he found out that there was a Hawaiian Studies program there, he lost his mind. He told me that to go college in the mainland and to get a degree in business was the best thing to do. Forget about anything Hawaiian, do the thing that would make me money and make me successful. That’s what he pounded into me, day in and day out. I was a product of my father’s program.” Ola revealed.

“And yet,” Leiana said, “here you are, teaching Hawaiian Studies at U.H. Hilo?”

Ola nodded. “One day at the student lounge at U.H.Manoa back on ‘O’ahu, I was studying for an exam. From behind me I could hear a bunch of girls chattering and laughing but I didn’t recognize the language, but there was something about the language itself that caught my attention. It was lilting and poetic, almost like a song. I went over to the girls and asked them what language was it that they were speaking and they all laughed at me. One girl, in particular, called me a coconut and said, “That’s the thing about Coconuts, They can’t even recognize their own native tongue,”
They were speaking Hawaiian and they were right. I didn’t even know my own language. The girl who said that to me was Kailani. The second I saw her I was head over heels in love with her, every time I saw her after that I would ask her out and she refused and always told me to leave her alone, but I never gave up.

One day I followed her to work and to my surprise, she worked part-time at this pre-school. I waited outside for her and before I knew it, the kids came out to play………………..those little pre-school aged children spoke Hawaiian………………………………………….something inside me happened that day. Something awakened within me. For a second I’d forgotten about Kailani and I went into the building and asked the director of the school if there was a way that I could volunteer there or if there was anything I could do just to be involved. I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. It turned out that the only requirement at the time was that one had to be able to speak Hawaiian or be enrolled in a Hawaiian language course. Luckily, the school itself offered free Hawaiian language classes twice a week. I started attending those classes until I could enroll in a formal class the following semester. I loved volunteering and just being there, it was something about it all that just fed my soul. Little did I know, however, that Kailani was watching the whole time. She finally agreed to go on a date with me and by the end of the night we were both madly in love and that’s when I decided to tell my father that I was going to change my major from business to Hawaiian studies.”

“How did that work out?” Leiana asked.

“Not good” Ola said. “We got into a fight. He called me an idiot, which was fine but then he accused Kailani of leading me astray and he called her the “C” word. That’s when the fists started flying. I’ve been in Hilo ever since. I call home to talk to my mom and sister, but my father and I can’t be in the same room anymore. See, I realized that I had spent my entire life trying to please that man by fulfilling HIS want for me and my life, but I wasn’t really fulfilling my own life. There was no nourishment for my soul…”

Leiana was crying in disbelief. “It sounds like your father grew up to be our Uncle.”

“Yeah.” They agreed.

They stood there laughing and looking down at the ground without really knowing what to do next. Suddenly a shout came from across the parking lot.

It was Raymond.

“For chrissakes! Hug your son Leiana! I’ve been standing her for almost an hour! Hug your son!!!!”

For the first time in 40 some odd years, after watching him being given away to his father, Leiana held her son in her arms again and all the pain, hurt, worries and sorrow came pouring out.

“I can’t believe that you are here after all these years Kalahikiola! My son, my child. My life is complete.”

Leiana suddenly got dizzy for a second and lost her balance.

“Are you alright?” Ola asked.

“It’s been a long day and I’m exhausted, too exhausted to drive. Would you mind taking me home? I’ll leave my car here and tell Raymond to pick me up tomorrow.” Leiana asked.

“Oh sure,” Ola replied.

“Raymond?” Leiana called out.

“Yeah?” He replied.

“Ola’s gonna take me home and I’m gonna leave my car here. You can pick me up tomorrow?” Leiana asked.

“Yeah, sure,” Raymond said.

“O.k. thanks!”

Ola and Leiana were soon in his car and headed out of the parking lot on to Mahukona road.

“I have to call Kailani and tell her what happened,” Ola said.

“Oh yes, you have to tell her! This is nice; I’ve never had an almost daughter in law before.” Leiana said.

The two of them laughed again. The past from which they both had come that caused so much pain and suffering now returned in the present in order to bring closure and heal itself, but not in the way that we would like to think.

. . .

Simon Aiona had just come from a long day and night of partying and drinking at his friend's house in Kamuela where, by the end of the evening, his friend had cautioned him to stay over and sleep off the effects of the alcohol. Simon paid him no mind as he was one who always had to be in control. He kept convincing himself of that the more he began to doze off at the wheel. As drunk as he was, he was determined to get to his security guard job at the shopping complex near the seafood bar. Once there, he would just spend his entire shift sleeping.

By the time Ola’s car made the right turn onto Mahukona road, Simon was fast asleep at the wheel of his SUV as it headed straight toward the car that Ola and Leiana were in. The SUV blew through the main intersection just past Pu’ukohola at eighty-five miles per hour.

The impact was so brutal that it tore the front half of Ola’s Mazda 626 off and dragged it a mile and a half down the road. The back half of Ola’s car remained untouched as if nothing happened.
 Raymond was no more than 10 feet from the door of the Seafood Bar when he heard the horrific crash from behind him. The sickening sound of metal scraping the pavement filled his ears as he turned around to see the back half of Ola’s car in the middle of Mahukona Road. The front half was being pushed forward by an SUV while sparks flew about and lit up the night. A few other people who witnessed the accident were now running toward what was left of the two vehicles as the wreckage finally came to a stop near Kalaeolo Street. After running for a quite a distance, Raymond was the first to arrive on the scene. Looking into the front cab of the SUV, he found the driver to be very much alive but out cold. Heading toward the tangled mass of metal, Raymond prepared himself for the worst. He inhaled three times before he finally peered into what was left of Ola’s front seat. There was blood everywhere, on the dashboard, the steering wheel, on the inside of the front door and on the windshield, but the car itself was empty. There was no one there. Ola and his mother were gone. Now Raymond was overcome with the thought that Ola and Leiana might have been ejected from the car altogether. His insides were twisted with grief as he contemplated having to make the grim trek down the road to look for what was left of them.

“I hope it’s not worse than what happened to Christopher Pike…” He muttered to himself.

In the cab of his SUV, Simon Aiona came out of his drunken stupor and out of habit, reached into his shirt pocket to remove his pack of cigarettes and found that there were only two left. Managing to get the one cigarette in his mouth, he now fumbled for the lighter from his jacket pocket.  His hand-eye coordination was crippled by the effect of alcohol and so he dropped the lighter. It fell out of the front door of his car. Removing his seat belt, and swinging his driver's side door open, he lumbered out of his truck and gave a mighty sigh as he bent down to retrieve his lighter off of the pavement. Through his drunken haze, he noticed the wreck that sat tangled in front of his vehicle.

“What the f*&k happened?” He said to himself.

Flicking his lighter for the last time, Simon would never know that the spark ignited a fireball of flames that were the result of the fumes and the leaking gasoline from both vehicles. He would be engulfed in the massive explosion and burn to death. Raymond’s death was much more merciful as he was killed instantly and felt no pain. With the car fire now spreading even bigger as the winds from the ocean blew in toward the wreckage, it would be hours before the police and firefighters would be able to find anything.

Leiana’s exhaustion was nothing in comparison to the blissfulness that encompassed her heart. She would have to make more homemade meals for Ola and Kailani and at the very least hope that they would include her in their wedding invitation should they get married. Catching her self for a second, she realized that she might actually end up smothering Ola. Looking at him now up close, as he drove his car out of the parking lot and on to Mahukona Road, she could see a part of herself and his father in him. After all these years of trying to forget her pain of losing Ola by storing those memories someplace far away in the depths of her heart, the gods decided to reward her by returning her son to her. She would never second guess the gifts that the gods would bring to her; rather, she would accept those gifts wholehearted and without question. For a brief moment, the sight of Ola at the wheel of his car turned into a blinding flash of light. She remembered hearing the sound of glass shattering, and afterward, everything went dark. When Leiana awoke, she found that her entire mid-section felt as if she’d been punched in the gut with a sledgehammer. It hurt her just to breathe and every time she did try, she would cough up blood. Looking around her, she knew that she and Ola had been in a car accident but she wasn’t quite sure as to how long they had been there. Looking over at Ola she could see a huge gash on his forehead and his entire face was covered in blood. His legs and feet were still facing forward as the upper half of his broken body lay in an awkward position.

Leiana knew then that her son was dead.

The grief that should have overwhelmed her at that moment was absent. There was a boiling sense of anger and frustration at the very gods who cruelly took away what they had just given. “They are not going to win this time.” She thought to herself. After all the years of suffering and praying to them for relief there wasn't any way that she was going to allow them to win this time.

Mar 12, 2018

"No Place to Ever Arrive" ('elua)

Rachel’s home was a simple one and like herself, it was located off a beaten path that wasn’t easily found because of the propensity of Kiawe trees that kept it well hidden. But once you found it, once you stood within the confines of her domicile you realized that it was a home that was far away from the present day. She didn’t own a cell phone or a laptop. Her only means of knowing anything about the outside world aside from her job was through her TV set and her dial-up phone. Otherwise, everything about her home was filled with bare basic simplicity. The light from the fading orange sunset filtered through her small kitchen as she sat at the medium sized table with a collection of feathers before her. She eyed each feather closely, reminding herself that each individual feather was just that. It was not an emotion, not a memory, vague or tangible. It was inanimate. She did as much as she could as the night wore on but finally, her eyes began to burn and her fingers became stiff and unbending. She tied off the lei hulu with a hitch knot and placed it in a small lauhala basket until she would work on it again the next day.

In her quaint living room, she placed a vinyl album on her Motorola record console player. Walking back to the kitchen she curled herself around her kitchen chair as the moderate A chord came in before the lyrics.

Silver blue said goodbye to no one
Thought it through and left me standing
In the road…

If you were ever lonely, it never showed
Someday, baby, you’ll be here and I’ll
Be going home….without you

Eventually, she fell into a deep slumber and dreamed of a perfect time from her past where life and love was a like a selection of songs from her favorite album; much like the ones, she listened to again and again. The pain never really went away but those few musical compositions helped to dull the sting. Work helped to fill the hours and take her mind off of things too; at least she thought it did.


The following day the cafe’ was unusually busy with a large number of tour groups who arrived in droves. At one point the prep cook came out from behind the grill and took orders. The rush finally died down about 4 in the afternoon after the din of chatter and the banging of cutlery on plates became like residual noise swept into a vacuum. Rachel’s ears still rang from the phantom cacophony in the aftermath of foreign accents and strange demands from tour agents. The soothing quiet in the cafe’ gave her a moment to remove her unfinished feather lei from her lauhala basket. Undoing the half hitched knot, she placed the gold yellow feather in its place and weaved it in. Just then the doorbell rang as another customer entered the cafe’. It was Ola.

“Hi,” she said as she looked up from her project.

“Aloha,” Ola greeted her as he took a seat at the counter.

“Did you just come from your class up the road?” Rachel said as she placed a cup in front of him and filled it with water. Next were the napkin and the fork and knife.

“Yes,” Ola smiled. “It was a long day and I’m really hungry!” Looking over the menu on the blackboard behind the counter, he made his selection. “The roast pork looks good, is it still available?”

“I think we still have some left, let me go check. I’ll be right back.” Rachel disappeared into the kitchen while Ola took a good look at the establishment. That’s when he noticed a Wurlitzer jukebox sitting in the middle of the floor. The machine was like an anomaly in the cafe’. Rachel returned just then to let Ola know that they still had some roast pork left.

“Oh great, I’ll have that and some tea,” Ola replied. While Rachel took down his order, Ola couldn’t help but ask. “That Wurlitzer, does it work?”

“The what?” Rachel asked.

“The Wurlitzer, that jukebox. Does it work?” There was a gleam of excitement in Ola’s eyes as if he were a child that just caught a glimpse of his favorite toy.

“Oh that, yeah it still works but a lot of the songs are older songs like from the 70’s and stuff,” Rachel caught herself smiling again.

“Is it okay if I pick a song?” It was obvious that Ola couldn’t contain himself.

“Sure,” Rachel replied. “It’s a quarter a song.”

“There used to be one at the pizza place when I was growing up; I always wanted to own one of these things.” Ola shared as he walked toward the machine. He watched as the coin he placed into the slot disappeared. He selected B-23 and took a step back and waited for the music to open with a moderate A chord that came in before the lyrics.

“ Silver blue, said goodbye to no one
Thought it through and left me standing
In the road…

If you were ever lonely, it never showed
Someday, baby, you’ll be here and I’ll
be going home….without you”

The musical reverie put Ola into a dream-like state. Returning to the counter he saw that Rachel was gone. Perhaps she had to excuse herself to use the facilities or perhaps she went to the kitchen to assist the cook? However, her feather lei was still on the counter next to a lauhala basket. Ola used his paper napkins to pick up the garland of hulu and carefully returned it to the basket.

The cook found Rachel in the walk-in freezer crying, he’d known Rachel long enough that anything; the slightest thing could trigger a memory and she’d lose it. In the past three years, she’d slowly gotten better, she wasn’t a slave to her senses as much.

“What was it this time?” The cook asked. “Was it somebody from that tour group?”

“No,” Rachel’s body heaved with tears while she did her best to regain her composure.

“Well,” the cook began. “I’d think so since that tourist mob is already gone. What was it this time?”

She had to get herself back in control before she could answer. “It’s that song on the jukebox.”

“You want me to unplug it?” The cook was gentle and took careful precaution not to raise his voice for fear of getting Rachel upset.

“No,” she replied. “I’m fine, I’m ready to go back out. I just have to stop reading into everything.”

Mar 11, 2018

"No Place to Ever Arrive"

The woman pinched the delicately dyed goose feather between her forefinger and thumb and applied it to the backing and layered it on another feather of the same color. winding the thread around the base of the feather she secured it in place with a half hitch knot and repeated the process again and again with saint-like patience. She noticed the young man watching her from his table and could sense his interest.

"Have you ever made one of these before?" She asked knowing very well what the answer would be.

"No." Replied the young man. "I've seen them all around, but I've never actually made one myself. It seems to be very complicated."

With a slight smile the waitress answered, "No, it's not complicated at all. All it takes is patience, focus and a willingness to see it through. Much like anything else."

 "Looks like you've been doing it for a long time. Your fingers move so effortlessly." The young man observed as best he could from where he sat.

"A long time." Chuckled the waitress. " Since I was a little girl. Usually, when it slows down here, I work on my lei hulu."

"Are you making it for someone?" The young man moved from table to the counter, bringing his cup of soda with him.

"Yes." said the waitress. "Someone's birthday is coming up in 2 days."

"What a lucky person whoever it is. It's beautiful." He couldn't help but admire the artistry of what was going to be a feather garland.

"Now, how would you know that?" The waitress said in fun. "It's not even halfway to the middle yet."

" I can see it. I can see the result of the effort and the intent," the young man observed. "How could it not turn out beautiful?"

The waitress stopped for a second and really looked at the young man for the first time since he had entered the cafe'. She could see that he was sincere. She sensed something about him which told her that he was someone who didn't just say things without thinking.

"How old are you if you don't mind my asking?"

"37." He said, taking a sip of his drink.

She was silent for a moment. Her own child would be the same age as this young man seated before her.  What was the point of making this lei hulu every year to celebrate the birthday of a child that she had never seen since it was taken from her? A whole lifetime had passed. Would she even recognize her own son today if she ran into him somewhere? Had she ever bumped into him or had he ever sat at her station at the Cafe'? She had to stop asking herself the same questions she'd been asking for 37 years.

"I'm sorry." The young man interrupted. " Did I say something wrong?"

"No, no not at all. I just got lost in my thoughts for a second. Did you need a refill?" The woman asked.

The young man's voice pulled her away from the mire of her lifelong sorrow.

"No, I'm fine." Said the young man. "Well, I have to get going but I'll be back tomorrow. I'm working on a project with my class up the road here at Pu'ukohola."

"Oh really?" He now peaked her interest on a subject that she was familiar with. "Are you an archaeologist?"

Laughing, the young man replied. "Not at all.  I'm teaching a Hawaiian studies class at U.H. Hilo and this is part of their class project. It's about Keoua coming to Pu'ukohola at the invitation of Kamehameha."

"Interesting." She said. "I'll be on tomorrow so maybe I'll see you."

"Can do, see you tomorrow! Aloha and thanks for sharing your lei hulu." With that, the young man left.

The woman's tears came without effort. She quickly made sure that she pulled herself together before continuing to make her lei hulu. It was important that she not pass on any of her sadness or heartbreak into her garland of feathers. Any good lei maker knew that something of that nature would either hinder or affect the process or the outcome of the lei itself. In spite of all that she felt, the one emotion that she did want to imbue into her project was unconditional love for her child, her son, where ever he may be.

The bell to the Cafe's door rang and as the waitress put down her project in order to serve the customer, she looked up and realized it was the young man. He was standing there in the
doorway looking at her.

" I'm sorry, I forgot to introduce myself." He walked over to where she was standing and shook her hand. "My name is Ola."

"Nice to meet you." The waitress replied. "I'm Rachel."

"I'm leaving for real this time. I'll see you tomorrow.." The door closed slowly behind Ola as Rachel called out after him.

"Sure thing." Her smile was slight but not a full smile although it was a smile none the less. It was something she hardly made an effort to put forth. Sure, she had to smile for the customers but her smile was like the uniform she wore. It was something she had to put on in order to get through the day. It was part of the job. Her slight smile also had to do with how humble the young man was. It wasn't a quality too many young people had nowadays. Very rare.

Mar 3, 2018

Ke Ao vs Vortex

Vortex: A mass of whirling fluid or air, especially a whirlpool or whirlwind.

Portal: A doorway, a gate, or other entrance, especially a large and elaborate one.

Leyline: Any of various imaginary lines along which certain ancient, man-made structures are thought by some to have been aligned.

Electromagnetic Field: A field of force that consists of both electric and magnetic components, resulting from the motion of an electric charge and containing a definite amount of electromagnetic energy.


After much research, it was interesting to discover that not one of the words listed above has a partnered equivalent in the Hawaiian language.