Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 11, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #50

 If you're admiring the vista of monkeypod and shower trees from the window of a hospital room at Kuakini, it sterilizes your appreciation for nature's work of art.

The smell of rubbing alcohol applied to my father's forearm doesn't help either; guess they found a vein. That needle slipped in nice and smooth. "So," my father croaks. He pauses and takes a sip of water but I cut him off.

"You couldn't have thought of a better place? You know I hate hospitals," I know it sounds shitty, but I have no patience. Not when it comes to him.

"I'd love to be at the Hilton or the Four Seasons, but respirators and IV drips are not one of the amenities," he shrugged while he poured himself more water.

"So, this is what? Your last chance to ask me to forgive you before you cross the line?" 

"No," he adjusted his pillow and straightened himself up. "We know that's not going to happen. I need you to forgive Kara."

"Dad, Kara would no more forgive me than I would forgive you," That was not necessary. I didn't intend to say it, but he's close to dying, so maybe it's not a time to mince words. 

"Alright, yeah," he nodded. "I was a fucked up husband and a shitty father. There's nothing I can do about that, and I've accepted it."

"You? You've accepted being shitty and fucked up?" I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Maybe that's what happens when you know you're close to crossing the line?

"I prayed my whole life that you wouldn't end up like me, and you didn't. You did not; you made every effort to make sure that Kara didn't have the upbringing that you did. But she grew up resenting your job because she felt that it took her father away from her. Hell, by the time she got to college, she didn't want anything to do with you. You gave her everything except the one thing she needed the most," there was an awkward moment of silence as he looked into his cup of water and threw it back like a shot of whiskey.

"And why do I have to forgive her?"

"Because it - this is not her fault, you idiot! It's just fucking life; it's how shit happens! She didn't mean to end up hating you, and you didn't mean to work long hours on purpose. Did you ever take a second to explain that to Kara?" His eyes glass over like usual whenever he gets mad.

"Man, look who the fuck is trying to give me a lecture about being there for their kid?" 

"This isn't about me, Kyle! It's about the relationship between you and your daughter that you can still save, just put your fucking pride aside and forgive her! The beeping noise on his monitor was amped up, and a nurse came in immediately. She shot me a nasty look and told me in no uncertain terms to stop agitating my father, or she would force me to leave.

"I was leaving anyway," I mumbled.

"Just talk to her and tell her Kyle, be the adult that I never was," he reached out and grabbed my hand and pulled me toward him. I almost stumbled. "I'm at peace with wherever it is that I'm going, don't end up with Kara the way that you and I ended up. It sucks to be here."

Just then, Kara ran into the room and fell into my dad's arms and hugged him for a long while. "Granpa Keith, I love you! Please don't die, please don't die!"

"I'm so glad I found you Kara-bear; and that we got to know each other. You've made crossing the line so much easier," he gently kissed the top of her head while looking at me the whole time. This motherfucker, he found Kara on his own and built a relationship with her. No wonder he wants me to forgive her. 

"Kara," he whispered. "Look at me; look at me for a second." She raised her head and regarded him with tear-stained cheeks. He kissed her right eye, and then her left. "Look over there; it's your father. He has something he wants to tell you."

She stood up and turned around; we made eye contact. She grew taller, and her face thinned out. Her cheekbones are more pronounced like her mother's. Her hair is black and falls on her shoulders very much the same way that flowers fall on the green grass below and creates a beautiful tableau. She has such deep soulful eyes with tears balancing on a precipice, ready to fall to the earth and complete life. Something is changing; I can feel the pores of my skin opening; I can feel the tension in my jaw and my shoulders beginning to relax. I can feel my brow unfurrow, and I can feel something strange happening to my face. I think I'm smiling. "Kara, Daddy loves you. I'm wrong for being mad; it's my pride,"

"I love you, Dad, I'm sorry too," she stood there looking at me with a sense of relief and profound sadness. 

"I'm sorry Kyle," my father is crying. It's the first time I've ever seen him so emotional, and he wasn't angry.

"You're getting ready to cross the line, pops?" Is that gentleness and caring in my voice?

"That's why I called you here," he nodded toward the window that I was looking out of. "I'll need you to lead the way when it's time."

My body is becoming an overwhelming tingle; now, it's separating into golden sparkles of light. Everything is going blurry, and I can feel the sensation of soda bubbles fizzing and popping on my face. "I'll be back, Dad, I'll be back to help you cross the line."

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