Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 4, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #57

 ....Continuing from yesterday's story

The realtor disclosed that a nine-year-old boy died in the upstairs bedroom of the house. She wasn't clear about the details, but it did have something to do with child abuse.

That was ten years ago; since then, there have been problems with both renters and buyers. They never stay long. The realtor's name is 'Ilima; it seems like a name that she gave herself because nothing is 'Ilima about her. She's in her late thirties, but she's overdone; too much makeup, too much hair, and too much color for a polyester pants suit. Her car is a late model Mercedez with an overload of stuffed animals in the back seat. She's bound to be a lonesome cat lady once she reaches her dotage. "Is it haunted?" I asked her.

"Nooooooo, not in a ghost way, more like sadness kine haunting," she spoke in a sing-song manner. It was difficult not to stare at the large flakes of lipstick on her bottom lip. She didn't stay inside the lines.

"So, it is haunted then?" I pressed.

"Just by emotion, not apparitions. So, what? Can? You going to buy 'um then?" She raised her one eyebrow and looked up at me from beneath her venus fly trap eyelashes.

"Well, it is what I need, quiet, semi-remote. A beach up the road with a long stretch of sand in case I have to take a walk and clear my head," I had already researched the amount of crime and drug traffic in the area. It turns out that there was more crime in the Mc Cully/Waikiki district than here in Wai'anae. "Alright, let's do the paperwork."

"Oh, yes! And the neighbors they don't bother. They're scared of the house, so they'll leave you alone."


There wasn't much to spruce up around the place, just some mopping and sweeping, placing small bits of furniture and end tables here and there to make it appear as if someone lived here. No sadness yet, of course, maybe it was a ploy used by 'Ilima to spread fear in the community so that squatters wouldn't make themselves at home. 

The way that the sun plays through the windows in the morning, sending rectangular-shaped beams into the kitchen and living room, is reminiscent of my time in Mānoa. It does the same thing again at sunset, but the fading red and orange light comes through the opposite end. 

Just how long was I there in Mānoa for meditation? A year? A millennium? It was beautiful yet simple; when I needed to recover, find my purpose again, and awaken my soul after such a dark time. One never truly recovers from the loss of their child, but my time in Mānoa helped me accept it and not fault myself.  During the required time of meditation, one late afternoon, a single longing note from the strings of what I thought was a violin lingered in the air. It carried itself through the converted two-story mansion, visiting every room as if searching for something. My eyes opened, and I saw the sunlight filtering through the rectangular-shaped windows in the main room. The sun went to its slumber in the west. Its light peaked through every opening from the main floor and up the stairs. I followed the light while simultaneously following the music; it led me to an open door at the mansion's western end.

On the light grey carpet sat a girl who could not have been more than nine-years-old. In her arms was a Sitar that was too big for her frame, but she played it with mesmerizing expertise. Her name was Ananda; she was the daughter of Sid, the Yogi of the center where I lived. I sat at the door's foot and listened; Ananda saw me and smiled and continued. She held herself with such maturity beyond her years; I believed that her serenity evoked such calming sustainable notes from the Sitar that it calmed everything in the environment. It was not the plunging and plucky notes which one hears typically from the instrument, but a consistent measure of sound, layering one on top of the other. Sid entered the room from a side door and took a seat across from his daughter. He accompanied her with a Bansuri flute, and the two created mystic sounds that seemed to stir the winds for which Mānoa is most famous. I hadnʻt known that I was smiling until the music was over; Sid brought that to my attention. "Tranquility and self-realization can be found in a smile, just as a smile can evoke self-realization and Tranquility. At this moment, you have achieved both."

After the household completed a sharing of dinner together one evening, I happened upon Sid and Ananda sitting quietly in the anti-room. Large flickering candles lit the space, quietly illuminating a checkerboard placed between the two. Red checkers filled Anandaʻs side of the board while only a sparse few pieces of the black checkers filled her fatherʻs side. "Sheʻs good," I said quietly.

"Itʻs because her mind is clear, and she sees the whole picture. I am the Yogi, and yet I have not achieved her clarity," Sidʻs tone of voice told me that he agreed.

"Why do you think that is?"

"Because I have not let go of my attachment as her father. Once I separate myself from that fact, then I can become her Yogi. Until then, Ananda will continue to best me," he exhaled a breath of truth. Thereʻs no other way to describe it. He stood up and moved aside, "Come," he motioned to the spot where he sat a second ago. "Play and try not to think of winning; rather, think of how you will achieve the end."

I sat there with the two of them for the next hour and finally gave up, "She is too good," I shook my head.

"She has clarity," Sid reminded me. 


During the last two months of my stay at the center, Ananda and I became constant companions. She taught me how to play the Sitar and patiently watched as I failed miserably. She was my assistant on the days when my assigned duties were in the garden. "In planting," Ananda began. "We are asking our mother to receive that which needs to be born.  In being born, the plant gives us life."

"Sounds like something you read from a book," I laughed.

"My mother said it when we would plant together," she was so direct and very to the point.

"Where is she now?"

"There," Ananda pointed to the Pak-Lan tree across the garden. "She is that tree now. When I smell the scent from her flowers; I know she  watches and smiles,"


One afternoon with my mediations complete, Sid appeared and asked me to walk with him. He suggested that we go to the market. "Itʻs, quite the walk, wouldnʻt you prefer that we drive? We can take my car."

"The walk will do us good," Sid insisted.

We walked the length of Lowery street, heading toward the market. Sid regarded me silently before he spoke. "Yourself and Ananda are friends, yes?"

"Yes, sheʻs a brilliant girl. Iʻve learned much from her simple life lessons. However, if it seems inappropriate that I am spending too much time with her, I will stop," I offered.

"There is much sorrow and grief after the loss of your son, but being here for the length of time that you have, meditation has helped you accept his death, not forget him. Do you agree?" Sid looked directly at me and did not move his eyes.

"I agree, and I have accepted his death and will not forget him," I nodded.

"You have treated Ananda as a friend; you did not project the loss of your son upon her as most people would have done. It is a clear indication that you have dealt with heartbreak. You are ready to leave at any time, my friend." Sid stopped and took my hand in his.

"Thank you, Sid," I bowed humbly.

"There is one more thing which you must learn," Sid paused. I searched his eyes for any hint of what was coming next. "Ananda is dying from Leukemia." He put his hand up to me, "death in whatever form happens so that life can begin anew. Life and death are two unchangeable things. Ananda knows this, and she has accepted it. She has such clarity, and it is why I am still her father and not her Yogi."

Two grown men stopped to embrace and exchange tears in front of the Saint Pius X Church on Lowrey avenue. Two mature men dressed in white gauzed material shirts and pants with Jesus sandals on their feet. What a sight that must have been to onlookers from their homes and passersby?

I asked Sid if I could stay until Anandaʻs time came, graciously, he consented. It was peaceful when the day came, and the little girl went quietly. Her ashes were committed to the garden that she and I once toiled in together. Fittingly, she became part of a Bodhi tree that would fill the garden with shade and comfort.


The light of the sunrise and the sunset, filtering through my home, reminded me of her today. The memory of her stopped me in my tracks because I recalled her image with such clarity. I should get back upstairs now and head to my study. I havenʻt written anything. Itʻs strange, but I seem to be distracted by the moon each night.


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