Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Apr 20, 2020

Why I Meditate

There was a time in my younger life, which I refer to as the time of 'Flux.' It was a reasonable period where work, home, and spiritual activities all fell into this harmonious oneness, for lack of a better term.

Next to the old duplex were three houses that were in very close proximity to ours. A Filipino family lived in the home to our right. They worked for the landlords who owned acreage of a watercress farm, which was a part of the same property. Behind them, lived a Portuguese Hawaiian family who was always fighting. Next to that family was a young local couple who were newly married. They were quiet and kept to themselves. Nearly a year went by, and the Portuguese Hawaiian family fought for whatever reason they could find; the arguments were loud and boisterous. One particular early morning, there was the usual shouting from the Portuguese Hawaiian home, but not among themselves, but toward us, their neighbors.

"Our pakalolo is missing, and if we find out that it was one of you, we're going to kick your ass!"

I thought nothing of it because, as I stated earlier, my world was nothing but a transcendental, never-ending harmony of bliss. That is until one morning when I was getting in my car to go to work, I was confronted by the matriarch of the Portuguese Hawaiian household, Charlotte. She cut me off before I could open the door to my 74 Satellite Sebring and shoved my right shoulder with her bejeweled Hawaiian fingertips.

"You stole our Pakalolo, yeah?" She demanded more than asked.

"No," I replied, confused at the accusation and physical confrontation.

"No, lie," she continued. "You're the only other Hawaiian in this neighborhood, so it had to be you!"

"I didn't take your Pakalolo, I'm sorry," I offered.

She gave me a stinging slap across my right cheek, and she became angrier once she saw that I did not react. "Once I find out for sure, me, and my kids gonna come back here and kick your ass!" She poked her fingernail into my face to make sure that I understood before she walked off.


I returned from work later that evening to shower and change before I headed off to my meditation meeting in town. Several police cars lined the gravel driveway, Charlotte, the matriarch of the Portuguese Hawaiian household, along with two of her children were being escorted away by law enforcement for what we would now term as terroristic threatening and possession of an illegal substance. Apparently, theyʻd threatened the two other neighbors, who then called the police. Stupid, because they just admitted they were growing and possibly distributing the product, which was found in their home. 


One morning I was walking up the road to the elementary school where I had intended to run a couple laps around the field. A white Chevy Berlinetta slowed up next to me while I continued on, it was Charlotte.

"Braddah, where you going? You need a ride?" She was so saccharine sweet.

"I'm just heading up to the school, it's no trouble," I was my usual pleasant self despite what transpired between us previously.

"You sure?" She cooed. "I don't mind."

"I'm fine, thank you," I reassured her.

"Braddah, I'm sorry about before," she said. "I found out my son took the pakalolo, and instead of admitting what he did, he blamed all you guys and look? We all got arrested!"

"I'm sorry to hear that," I replied while I continued to walk.

"And you were so nice braddah, even after I hit you. How come you didn't get mad and hit me back?" She asked.

I stopped in my tracks, I needed a moment to think before I answered. Charlotte stopped her car and reversed back to meet me. "You think you can forgive me?"

"I've been a part of this transcendental group for two years now; they help you focus all your thoughts and feeling into something positive so you can live your life in a good way," I began. "Do you know why I joined that group?"

"No, no idea?" She replied.

"Pehu," I whispered. "Pehu ka ālelo, pehu a make."

Charlotteʻs skin turned gray, her eyes bulged and distended out of the sockets. Her tongue swelled in her mouth and turned black, her fingers curled back into her palms. Her legs went stiff, and she soiled herself before she died.

"Thatʻs why," I replied. "Iʻm still having a hard time with forgiveness."

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