Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 17, 2018

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2018 #75


Laura didn't love herself because of her weight, but we loved her because she was so funny and insightful.
She had an inner light that made people naturally gravitate to her, even if they didn't know her. She loved children, she always talked about having a herd of them someday and that it would only be a matter of course that she and her family would have to live in a huge house. Our kids adored her; whenever she was over to our house, she always had something for our little ones, candies, toys, clothes, and costumes. Geezus, they loved playing costumes with Laura until they were all worn out and ready for bed. Of course, with Laura's size, she had to endure rude comments from stupid people, and even though she knew how to make a quick comeback or laugh it off, those things really did hurt her. I knew she could take care of herself, but shit like that would piss us off too. There were so many people we wanted to punch out, but Laura never lets us do that.

"I'd feel bad if you guys got in trouble because of me," she'd say.

"It's worth it," we'd tell her. "You're family to us, we love you."

There was one thing Laura wanted more than anything else, and that was love, she desperately wanted to be loved by someone for who she was. "All I need is a chance," she once said. "But with the way I look, I'd only attract flies because I'm such a cow."


One day a man walked into the store where Laura worked and completely charmed her. He was a few years older than she was, but yes, theirs was a whirlwind romance. She told us everything about him, they'd already been on three-weekend vacations, one to Maui, the other to Kauai, and the last one to Kona. He proposed marriage, but Laura didn't appear as if it had all gotten away from her, she was very content and taking it all in stride. "You finally got what you always wanted, how come you're not all jumping up and down and hugging us?" We were joking with her, of course, but it's just that she was so unusually subdued. Tears were falling down her cheeks, it took us by surprise, but she spoke before we could ask her what the matter was. "I'm just worried that this is all too good to be true and that sooner or later, the shoe's gonna fall."

"What do you mean? Are you trying to jinx this whole thing?" My wife asked her.

"No, you don't understand. Women like me who look the way I look, we don't get happily ever after. It's always some cruel joke in the end......see, I believe that in my past life I was someone who mercilessly harassed fat people like myself. Now in this life, I'm the fat one, and I have to suffer for what I did before," she spoke with such clarity that it was alarming and heartbreaking at the same time.

"That's full of shit," I scolded her. "You can't fuckin believe that's true? Don't do this to yourself, Laura, don't self-sabotage! You deserve this, you deserve to be happy! YOU, Laura Mendoza!"

"I love you guys, but the two of you are old, and you're off the dating market, I can't even get in the door!" She cried tears that were all of her cumulative hurts and heartaches all bundled into a stream of tears.

"What are you talking about? You're on the shelf, you're the best product the 'store' has!" I was trying to be encouraging but it wasn't working.

"I'm one whole aisle stupid," she deadpanned. My wife and I held on to her while the three of us cried together. There were no words, just a powerful moment of support for someone we loved so dearly.


It turns out that Laura's fears were legitimate and that her happiness was truly short-lived. Shaun Rasuman was married, and the only way Laura found that out was when Shaun's wife Marlie, walked into her store and told Laura who she was. The woman wasn't mad, and she didn't cause a scene; she simply handed Laura Shaun's phone and had her look at a thread of group text messages between Shaun and his friends. According to the e-mail that Laura would send us later, she would say, "It was all a joke, they had this running gag where they would bet each other a large amount of money like $20,000 as to who could get the fattest girl to fall in love with them and who could take it the farthest. If you haven't already figured it out, Shawn won the bet when he proposed to me, and I accepted."

Marlie Rasuman looked at Laura with a gaze of disbelief at first and then pointed to her finger, "that's my mother's ring he gave you."

Laura looked down and took in a deep breath, calmly she removed the ring from her finger and handed it to Marlie. "I know what you're thinking," Laura began. "I thought the same thing after he proposed. Why me? Why someone like myself who's so fat......even after we.....I still asked myself that question."

"You're not? I mean, he didn't?" Marlie didn't know how to ask the question.

"I'm not pregnant," Laura fought with everything she had to not cry in front of Marlie.

"There was an awkward silence after that, but only for a second," Laura wrote. "Shaun's wife was so tall and so beautiful, why wasn't he satisfied with her? Why did he have to pick me of all people to play his cruel tricks on? Why did I have to fall for it? 

That was the end of her e-mail, there were no clues as to what was going to happen in the aftermath, and we wouldn't really find out ourselves until we saw it on the news. Laura purposely crashed her SUV into a concrete pillar below the Waialae overpass. Witnesses say her car was traveling at a high rate of speed when it blew the red light at the intersection fronting Market City Shopping Center. The vehicle literally disintegrated once it hit the pillar. Laura died on impact; she was completely sober. There's no revenge story here, and I'm not sure about what happened to Shaun Rasuman, and I don't care. What I do know is that Laura's spirit is unsettled and that on certain occasions, whether it be night or day, there's an indentation on the far side of our couch where Laura always used to sit. Whenever it appears, the dogs jump up on the sofa and curl themselves up around that spot, it doesn't seem to bother them. Even our kids pile up in that space, the same way they'd pile on Laura and fight for a spot on her lap. They say suicide is a mortal sin and that after you die, it leaves you floating about in a pointless limbo, but if Laura's version of limbo is sitting on our couch, then that's fine.

We think about her all the time.

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