Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 8, 2019

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2019 #25

I LAILA

I was iffy about my son's relationship with his girlfriend. Lucas is my only child, so any parent can understand me being overprotective. Lucas was a kid who led with his heart, and he decided things based on that. Sometimes it worked for him, sometimes it didn't, but that's what happens when you're a being who lives a life based on love.
You can understand my concern when Lucas met Rachel and brought her home. She was a nice girl, charming, and it worried me. I was concerned that Rachel was one of those girls who was only in the park for the ride and that after the fun was over, she'd be gone. More so, I was worried about Lucas and his big old heart being stepped on and crushed by Rachel, but she surprised me. It turns out that Rachel fell for Lucas because he didn't treat her the way other guys treated her. He genuinely listened to her and was interested in what she thought and felt about things. Even after a month of hanging out and not officially being a couple, Lucas never tried anything with Rachel, nor was he suggestive that matters should become physical. Rachel herself would tell me later on that she was concerned that Lucas was not interested in her at all. When she finally worked up the nerve to ask him about it, Lucas was worried that if he expressed his feelings that Rachel would think he was a creep; and so he remained respectful, kind, and courteous to her instead.  I couldn't help but laugh man; I don't remember shit being this complicated when I was Lucas' age. Things were very different in my time, you were either IN the relationship, or you were not.

I had a lot more respect for Rachel after that, and I didn't give her such a hard time anymore. Their wedding was a private affair on the beach where only myself and Rachel's parents were in attendance. It wasn't too long after that when Lucas called to let me know that Rachel was pregnant. He was so happy that he was crying over the phone, but before Lucas hung up, he asked me a question, "Dad, Rachel, and I talked, and we'd like to give the baby your Hawaiian name as the middle name. If the baby is a boy or a girl, it will still carry your name."

I got choked up a little, and I gladly gave my consent. It filled me with pride to know that some part of me was going to live on through my grandchild. Thankfully my Hawaiian name wasn't so long that it couldn't fit on a social security card. It was simple, "Hanakahi."

.....................

'EIWA MAU MAHINA MAHOPE AKU

It's one of those trying days when Lucas and Rachel both are tired after not getting much sleep. My baby Hanakahi has been fussy and of course. Lucas and Rachel being new parents, can't figure out what the source of the baby's problem might be. She likes the sound of running water, but her mom and dad won't figure that out until Hanakahi's poop leaks out from the side of her diaper and on to her father's arm. Once Rachel runs the water faucet, Hanakahi will be fine.


'EKOLU MAKAHIKI MAHOPE AKU

It's Hanakahi's first day at pre-school, and Lucas and Rachel are there to make sure that all goes well. My granddaughter flawlessly adapts to her class, but it's her parents who are having separation anxiety. Lucas and Rachel spend the rest of the day counting down the minutes until they can finally return to the pre-school to pick up my granddaughter. They can't see it, but this day is the seeds of what will be the undoing of their marriage. Neither one of them is at fault for hyper-focusing on Hanakahi, but somewhere along the way, they will forget about hyper-focusing on one another.

IWAKĀLUA MAKAHIKI MAHOPE AKU

Sheʻs sleeping in her college dorm room. Holding down a full-time school schedule and working three jobs at the same time can be exhausting. Sheʻs dreaming that sheʻs back home at the Honolulu International airport. Thereʻs nothing strange or unusual, the airport is the way it always is, crowded and teeming with locals and visitors transitioning from one destination to another. Itʻs filled with such realism that my sweet granddaughter doesnʻt know sheʻs dreaming.

"Iʻm sorry," I make sure that Iʻm as cordial as possible. "Is anyone sitting here?"

"No," Hanakahi answers. "Help yourself."

"Mahalo," I reply.

I sit and open my dream banana republic backpack and remove an old Hawaiian language newspaper and start to read it. "Hmmm?" Hanakahi mused. "My father has a backpack just like that one, except its a little older and beat up, it was my grandfatherʻs."

"Really?" I asked. "Thereʻs not too many of these around nowadays."

"Yeah, he got it from some foreign country, " She said.

"A foreign country?" I asked.

"Some republic," she shrugged her shoulders.

I chuckled and continued to read my paper when I noticed she adjusted her seat and looked at me directly, "Do I know you from somewhere? You seem familiar."

"Iʻm Andrew," I bowed my head.

"Iʻm Hanakahi," she giggled. "It was supposed to be my middle name, but my grandfather passed away before I was born, so my parents decided that Hanakahi was going to be  my first name."

"Well, isnʻt that something?" I nodded. "That was very thoughtful of your folks."

"Weʻve never met before somewhere?" She asked again.

"I donʻt think we have," I confirmed. "May I ask where youʻre flying off to?"

"Back to college," she sighed. "I must be exhausted, though, because I canʻt remember anything I did while Iʻve been home. What about you? Where are you headed?"

"Home," I replied. "In fact, I think my flight is leaving soon. I should get going." We shook hands, and she held on for a second.

"You take care, it was nice meeting you," she said quietly.

"You too," I replied. I left feeling satisfied but at the same time wishing that I could say so much more. Thatʻs when the tears came.

"Grandpa?" I stopped dead in my tracks with my head down. I turned immediately to turn and look at Hanakahi.

"Yes," I confirmed.

She got up from her seat and ran into my arms. I must have held her for an eternity, never wanting to let her go. She cried, repeating my name again and again. I let her go so I could get a good look at her face. I handed my banana republic backpack to her and said, "You take this with you, itʻs yours now. I love you."

Her dream was over, and I was thankful for being allowed to see her after only being her guardian. In real-time, Hanakahi was leaving the following day for college. The good-byes were always hard for my son and his wife. It was the same for Hanakahi, but she still held it in until she got on the plane.  Today was no different until my granddaughter turned to leave and make her way through the TSA, but Lucas stopped her and gave her a huge shopping bag.

"Look inside," Lucas smiled.

Hanakahi reached into the bag and removed her fatherʻs old beat up banana republic backpack. The dream from the other night came back to her, and she recounted it to her parents. All three of them stood there covered in chicken skin. "In my dream, grandpa gave me this bag, but it was new, and now youʻre giving it to me."

Lucas and Rachel starred at each other in amazement while I stood not more than a few feet away mixed in with the crown of people who were trying to check in their tickets at the kiosk. Iʻm there for her Lucas, donʻt you worry. Iʻm there.




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