Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 26, 2014

Stuck in Wailuku

"The Secret Life of a Rustling Brush" by Edwin Ushiro

“I was run over by this truck,” she said, it killed me, and I am stuck to it. I will not ever be able to move on.”

It was 1971, and I was nine years old when my family traveled to Kahului on the island of Maui. It was an awkward time as my mother and my Aunty Chookie went to visit family in the Wailuku and Pukalani area. I never knew the details of the family dynamics back then or if there was some grudge that festered between the adults, but the overall feeling was that we were not welcome. If we were, our visits didn’t last long.

There was a particular family who did seem to welcome us with any warmth and hospitality and, although we were already booked at the Maui Seaside Hotel, we seemed to spend more time at the home of Roland and Sally Sanchez. During those times, we children were either sent upstairs to play in the eldest girl’s room, or we were sent outside for most of the day until we were called in for an early supper. The yard was huge and neatly manicured except for the space in the west corner of the property where there was parked a green and white nineteen sixty-five, Ford F-100 truck. The tall grass grew just high enough around the vehicle to give one the impression that it was a protective parent keeping its child from harm. I could not help but stare at it whenever we were sent out to the backyard to play.

Today as the adults went about their ritual formalities before hunkering down around the kitchen table, I happened to glance out the kitchen window and noticed a tall girl who appeared to be a little older than all of us. She sat on the hood of the truck and did not seem to be waiting for anyone in particular. I watched her intently, and I was curious as to who she might be, so I let myself out through the kitchen door and walked toward the old truck. The girl made no effort to move from where she was seated, but she finally noticed my approach with a casualness that did not seem to alarm her at all.

“Hi,” I said as I sat far enough in front of the tall grass so that I could see her.

“Hi,” She replied, “I feel sorry for you guys.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Roland and Sally make you guys play out here all day,” she answered, “Do you want to know what they talk about?”

“No,” I said, “Do you live here?”

“No,” she said, “I live down the road from here.”

“Then how come you hang out on this truck like this?” I I asked.

“I was run over by this truck,” she said, “it killed me and I am stuck to it. I will not ever be able to move on.”

At precisely that moment she became transparent and I could See right through her. My young mind could not comprehend what it was that my eyes were seeing and, even before I could scream, Roland Sanchez had already carried me back into the house while my mother, my Aunty Chookie and Sally Sanchez began to exorcise the ghost of Liv Kimura from the F-100 truck that belonged to Roland.

This is what the girl meant when she asked me if I wanted to know about what the adults were doing in the house. They were praying for strength so that they would be able to perform the ritual exorcism that would release the girl from her earth-bound ties. Ghosts always haunt the places where they died, not where they end up.

Poor Liv Kimura was heading to the waterfall for a swim one afternoon while, simultaneously, Roland Sanchez was speeding home in his Ford F-100 to catch the repeat of the Ben Villaflor fight on T.V. When he rounded the corner of the street that leads to his home, Roland never saw Liv. He hit her straight on and killed her instantly. Sally was the daughter of my mother’s sister, and, after the accident, Sally and her family were looked upon as murderers by the Fernandez clan from Pukalani. When the clan found out that my mother had come to Maui to help Sally and Roland, they were shunned too. My mother ignored the clan and did what she was trained to do.

It was something that I never forgot.

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