Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Apr 10, 2020

The Boyfriend Problem


My daughter Terra and her boyfriend Claude were together for a good seven years before they finally called it quits. In my opinion, that relationship went seven years overtime. It should have ended in the first month.

 Don't get me wrong, Claude was a good kid, he was smart, but he could also be a little shit when he couldn't get his way. He didn't hide it either. I can't count the times I've had to threaten him with an ass whipping if he didn't put an end to guilting Terra into giving in to his whining. However, against my advice, Terra gave in for seven years until she realized that she was the only one giving and not getting anything back. On the day of her break up, I should have been celebrating and inviting the guys over for a barbecue, but I couldn't. My daughter was a lot more heartbroken than I thought she would be. All I could do was be there for her when she was ready to talk. She'd go to and from work, and to and from school, then she'd hole up in her room. Her friends would stop by and ask if everything was alright with Terra because she wasn't online or she wasn't answering her phone. This caused me a bit of concern, so I pounded on her door one night just to check-in.

"What dad?" She sighed.

"You good?" I asked.

"I'm not gonna kill myself if that's what you think?" She groaned.

"I don't think that, but your friends are worried," I told her.

"I know," she grunted.

All the while, I hid a gallon of rocky road ice cream and two big spoons behind my back. I showed it to Terra, thinking we could head down to the kitchen and talk. "Rocky road ice cream?"

"Sure," she frowned and adeptly grabbed the one spoon and the whole gallon of ice cream and closed her bedroom door.


Why am I the enemy? I'm the parent trying to show compassion.


Almost two months later, I was putting together the most epic salami sandwich ever made. The salami was cut razor-thin from the stick. The bread was honey oat, the sauce was honey mustard and vinegar. There was spinach, Maui onions, and sliced black olives. I was just topping it off with a few slices of martini olives when I heard footsteps descending down the stairs. It was Terra, she dressed up in something other than a pair of pajamas.

"Heading out somewhere for once?" I asked.

"Gonna hang out with some friends," she muttered.

"Are these the same friends you've been ignoring all this time?" I asked.

"Dad..." she dropped her shoulders and sighed.

"Alright, alright," I put my hand up. "Want some of this sandwich before you go?"

"No, I'm good," she replied as she headed out the door.

"Don't I get a hug, a kiss, a good-bye I love you?" I was doing it as a joke, but I also meant it.

"Good-bye, Dad," she deadpanned.


Later that night, I had the strangest dream. I would end up blaming it on the salami sandwich and the  Dead-Guy-Ale. It was about a kid I saw around school way back in 1977. His name was Melton Obriga, and he hung out with the gear heads from the mechanic shop. His story is that on a late Saturday night, he and the guys were racing a 55 Chevy Bel-air down the Pali highway. Their rivals were a group of guys from Kane'ohe in a 77 Camaro. They wanted to run for pink slips, the race would begin the second they got out of the Pali Tunnel. The winner would be the first to make it to the parking lot of the state ID building.

The risk of being nailed by the cops was too high, but so was the risk of losing the 55. Melton and his friends agreed. The 55 had the lead all the way down the Pali highway despite the twenty-year gap with the 77 Camaro. According to the news report, the driver of the 55 overcompensated when taking the full turn before Kapena falls. At such a high rate of speed, the car ricocheted off the guard rail and shot straight toward the falls. Miraculously, the 55 got tangled up in the thick tree branches and didn't plunge into the pond below. Everyone survived and managed to make it out of the vehicle and back on to the road. It wouldn't be until then that the guys realized Melton was missing. Without going into detail, I can tell you that the authorities went over that area with a fine-tooth comb, but Melton was never found. So, the weird dream I had was about myself in broad daylight standing at the top of Kapena falls looking down. The place was packed with tourists and locals frolicking about. The water from the falls was like a transparent curtain. In the pond, I saw Melton come to the surface and swim to the edge and then climb out. He was fully clothed. He walked around the crowd of people and finally looked up at me and pointed off somewhere to his right. I followed his direction and saw Terra and her friends sitting near the pond. For some odd reason, even though it shouldn't have, it scared me. I woke up, got dressed, and raced downstairs. I opened the front door just in time to see Terra and her friends huddled together in my garage. They were severely shaken.

"What's wrong?" I asked, already knowing the answer. "Everything okay?"

"Mister Kaeo, we saw a ghost," Sharon, Terra's best friend, said.

"Where?" It's the last answer I expected.

"Kapena falls," Terra answered.

"What were you guys doing there at this hour? You know you could've gotten in trouble, right?" I tried my best, not bellow.

"We're sorry Mister Kaeo, we thought no one would..." Kayla, another friend, stammered.

"Okay, so what happened?" I asked. I could smell the marijuana and the liquor on them. I assumed that I knew what happened.

"We were just hanging out near the pond talking and whatever and.....because of the full moon we could pretty much see the pond," Terra had to gather her thoughts at that point. "We saw this guy, this local guy climb up out of the pond with all his clothes on and he....he stood there and pointed at us,"

"More specifically," Sharon added, "he was pointing at Terra."

Terra fell into my arms, crying out of fear and not the frustration of a heartbreak. Sometimes as a parent, you have to take it whenever you can get it. Otherwise, you have the plague whenever your kid's friends are around. I brought them into the house where I sat them at the kitchen counter while I made my special omelet and thick sweetbread french toast. Kayla and Sharon went over the details of what they saw, which matched Terra's experience. After the late meal, I started to clean up, but Terra stepped in and insisted that she and her friends would do it. 

"Go relax, dad. We'll clean up." She assured me.

I excused myself and sat in the living room to watch a show on tv.

"Can Sharon and Kayla hang out until sun-up? They're too scared to go home yet." Terra asked. 

The fear was palpable on their faces as well as the fullness of the late-night meal I imparted on them. 

"Sure," I replied. " I'm heading up to bed anyway."

"We're actually gonna crash in the living room," Terra began. "Could you just hang out? We all feel safer if you're just around, you know?"

"Uh, yeah. I'll be over there in the kitchen on my laptop," I agreed.

"Thank you, dad, love you," Terra sounded relieved.

"Love you too, hun," I smiled.



I must have pounded on the door several times before it finally opened. The face that greeted me wore the usual shitty attitude on it before it realized who I was. Then, it was wide-eyed fear.

"Hi Mister Kaeo," Claude replied sheepishly.

"Do you still love Terra?" I asked him point-blank.

"What? I mean...what?" He was too rattled to give me a straight answer, but I didn't care.

"Do you still love Terra?" I spoke slowly.

"Well, I don't know, uh," he was near stuttering.

"What do you mean you don't know, fuck face? You either love her, or you don't, do you still love her or not?" I wasn't yelling or raising my voice. I think that's what terrified him, good.

"Yeah, I do, but she hates me, she won't talk to me," the first comprehensive thing he said all morning.

"She will if you get your head out of your ass and stop being a......go talk to her," I began.

"Uh, YOU want me to talk to her? I thought you wanted to kill me?" He replied.

"When you go talk to her, forget about yourself for once, and ask about her, ask what's bothering her. And then, sincerely from your heart, you tell her that you're going to be more supportive and less selfish like you have been," I instructed.

"Wait, I don't understand?" I could see Claude's point.

"What I'm about to tell you, you keep between us, you understand?" I dug the point of my finger in his chest.

"Yes," he nodded.

"These seven years you've been with Terra, I never gave you a chance. I realized that your behavior might have been because of how I acted toward you. What I'm saying is, I'm gonna step back and really give you a chance to make things right. I think you deserve it."

Claude was dumbfounded. "Okay....."


That night while Terra and her friends were asleep in the living room, I was working on a presentation for a tour company when out of nowhere, I recalled a forgotten detail about Melton Obriga. He liked this girl who hung out in the I-quad with a bunch of her friends. They looked good together, and it seemed like they would last beyond high school. However, that girl's brothers didn't think that Melton was good enough for their sister, and they beat the shit out of him in front of everyone at the quad. They were never able to be a couple after that. Maybe that's why Melton's ghost appeared to me in a dream while simultaneously manifesting to Terra and her friends?

Secretly, I'm rooting for Claude.

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