Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

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.”

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