Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 4, 2017

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2017! #28


Someone is knocking on my door at the butt crack of dawn. Obviously, you can tell that this must be December because six in the morning is considered to be too early. Maybe not for senior citizens but certainly for myself. It's one of those polite knocks that can be creepy and unnerving.
I knew if I didn't get up and answer the door that whoever this person was, they were soon going to discover the button to the doorbell. I threw on my favorite pair of Dickie shorts and undid the chain and the lock on the doorknob, I pulled the aging portal open and took a step back. Good God in heaven, what was she doing here at this hour? 

"Mom for god's sake," she ignores me and unloads three bags of groceries on my large kitchen table, which actually takes up most of the room in my little studio.

"Look alive, Jake," she commands me rather than tells me. She's not here to dote over me or spoil me; that's for sure. "Go to the bathroom and wake up, I'm making breakfast and then we're gonna talk."

"You can always text, you know? That kinda works better for me," I didn't mean to speak to her with such biting sarcasm in my voice, but it was frickin' six in the morning!

"Go wake up," There she goes again with that snapping finality in her voice, it was her way of telling me that if she had to repeat herself a third time that any object within reach was going to come flying at my head.

I shuffled to my bathroom and did the routine, after which I put on a shirt and pulled up a chair at the table. On the plate sat my favorite mushroom and spam omelet with cheddar cheese. Next to it were two large slices of toasted sweet bread with butter, on the side were huge strips of bacon along with tender link sausage and a glass of Pog. This must be an important talk we're going to have because she pulled out all the stops, or it was going to be one of those, 'What are you doing with your life?' kind of talks? I just sat back and enjoyed my breakfast until she finally broached the subject, "Such a small place," she said as she looked around and gathered mental information which would then arm her with emotional ammunition. "Your fridge is empty, how do you feed your daughter when you have her on the weekends?"

"We eat out," I answered while relishing the combination of the cheddar cheese and the butter from the sweet bread. "We have pizza or Korean food or whatever she's in the mood for."

"You're not going to get custody of Brandy if you continue the way you are, even though Florinda is technically in the wrong she is more financially stable. That's what the court is going to look at, that's what they're going to base their decision on," She sure knew how to press, didn't matter what the situation was, she always fired at full clip.

"I give her culture and ancestral knowledge," I guess my mother didn't hear the tone of finality in my voice because that was her cue to drop the subject, but not my mother, no.

"Geez La'akea, get your head out of your ass," she tsked in the way that only she could tsk, and it raised the hairs all over my body, which meant that I was going to explode in the very next second. She knew it, and she did it on purpose, I could not stand it when she tsked, it drove me crazy.
"What did you expect when you and Florinda are sleeping together behind both of your ex-spouses' backs, and then you go and get married? Your marriage was based on selfishness and lust, and it was doomed from the beginning, luckily the two of you had Brandy, and that's a good thing."

"Thanks, mom, this is just the kind of breakfast I look forward to," I wasn't going to give her the satisfaction of being contrite. Instead, I just gave her sarcasm and contempt for not taking my side. "By the way, is this the talk you wanted to have AFTER breakfast?"


The TALK didn't start until breakfast was over, and I was sitting on my sofa, enjoying a tall glass of soda while my mother simultaneously washed my dishes from a week ago. The pile of cutlery, plates, and glass gave her a good excuse not to look at me as she chastised me, the only time she would turn around is when I didn't answer. "The person you have to worry about the most is Brandy, not yourself, not Florinda or your girlfriend, but Brandy. You have to see the big picture and put your own hurt and anger aside and think about someone other than yourself, and that's your daughter. You have to consider what is best for her, and right now, even though I know you love Brandy with all your heart, you're not the best thing for her. She's better off with her mother, La'akea, and you know it."

There was a tense moment of silence, and when I finally put my glass of soda down and stood to face my mother, she was ready. She looked at me with her head pulled back in that way of hers, defying me to prove her wrong, but she went too far, and I lashed out, "GET THE FUCK OUT MOM!"
GET OUT!!!" This is what the TALK was about, it was about her fattening me up for the kill so that she could tell me that she'd taken Florinda's side! I marched to the door and yanked it open with such force that the doorknob broke when it hit the wall next to the door frame. I held it open and screamed again, "TAKE YOUR SHIT AND GET THE FUCK OUT!!!" She gathered everything that was hers and put in the plastic bags, and straightened herself up as she put her sunglasses on. She stopped in front of me just before she walked out and put her hand on my cheek, "La'akea, Brandy will always be your daughter no matter what. She's got a good head on her shoulders, and she knows that her mother was wrong; she will never stop loving you. I hope you realize this sooner than later, but I doubt it. I love you, son, but everybody thinks that you've got shit for brains, prove them wrong, and get your head out of your ass."

She walked out, I had planned to slam the door behind her, but the damned thing came off the hinges. Yup, that damage is going to be added to next month's rent. I happened to glance up, and coming down the walkway to my former front door was Florinda with Brandy beside her. They were both upset and in tears; yes, of course! It made sense now, the whole time my mom was here preparing this sham of a breakfast, Florinda and Brandy were waiting in the car. No wonder she was on Florinda's side, they were in it together. I walked back into my place and got dressed so that I could leave, I didn't want to have to deal with Florinda's bullshit either. Brandy ran up and hugged me and wouldn't let me go, I already understand this because she doesn't want to move to the mainland with her mother, but Florinda hugged me too. Now that was strange.

"La'akea, your mother passed away at six 'o clock this morning. She was on her way out the door to come to see you, and she died of a massive heart attack right inside her front door, her boyfriend Rudy was the one who found her. He's been trying to call you, but your phone was busy, so he called and asked us to come over and tell you." Florinda was so upset about the news that she didn't even notice my damaged front door.



The services for Kau'ionalanieha Spencer or 'Lani' as she was known, was simple and yet wonderful. I couldn't tell you how many people attended, what I can tell you is that the funeral home was packed to the walls with everyone my mother knew. Florinda and my daughter made a special trip back from Anaheim just to attend my mother's services, and of course, Brandy wanted to say goodbye to her Tutu one last time. The reception at my mother's house was equally as packed as it was at the funeral home. There was enough food to last a week. She knew a lot of people, and a lot of people knew and loved her. I know what you're thinking, but there was no reconciliation between Florinda and me, we were done. As for Brandy, she was better off with her mother for now until I could get my own life together, but my little girl assured me that I would always be her father no matter what. It was a long weekend at my mother's place, and Rudy and I spent most of it cleaning up the mess from the reception and clearing out the things that we felt my mother wouldn't really need.

"Mom knew me better than I knew myself," I shared this information with Rudy knowing very well that he understood what I meant. "It was just hard to hear it from her because I always wanted to prove her wrong and make her proud of me."

"Trust me," Rudy was about to validate what I had just said. "I got it all the time whether I liked it or not." That gave us both a good laugh.

"What happened that morning when she was about to leave here?" I asked, if anyone would know what was going on during the last moments of Mom's life, it was Rudy.

"She was worried about you," Rudy began. "So she put a bunch of stuff together in plastic bags and grocery bags because she was going to make breakfast at your place and give you a piece of her mind." Rudy broke down and sobbed about how she never made it out of the front door. After he collected himself, he asked, "Is it true that you saw her that same morning?"

"Someone who looked and talked like my mother came knocking at my door at six in the morning, made me breakfast and cussed me out," I said in a low tone of voice. "If that wasn't my mom, then I don't know who it was."

Rudy was stunned, he couldn't believe his ears, "Your mother always had to have the last word."


The look that my mother gave me after she told me that Brandy was better off with Florinda, that was not a look of defiance, that was the look of my mother knowing that the only way in which common sense would reach me would be through tough love. She was tough, no doubt, and she had foresight and insight all rolled up into one. I wish that she was here today, I'd surely thank her by giving her the moon.

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