Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 29, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #2

 Marie Peters met me in her Waipahu home garage, dressed in an 80's style one-piece jumpsuit. She led me to a round table. "Sit," she pointed to the fold-out chair opposite where she took a seat. "I wanted to show you something first before we talk."

She brought out a thick photo album and pushed it across the table, where I took it and opened the first page. It was photos of her younger self fronting a band at several different venues: bass player, guitarist, keyboards, bongo player, and drums. "Torch," was the band's name. "It seems you had quite the career," I said while perusing the old polaroids and Kodaks. "Are you still singing?"

"No," she replied with a whisper. "Not anymore; my singing career is why I think my house is haunted."

"That's interesting," I settled myself in my chair, waiting for the explanation. "I've never heard of something like that."

"My old band played all the contemporary stuff and the oldies whenever the audience requested it," she looked down at her hands and began fidgeting with her nails. "But I loved the torch songs; that was my specialty. I'd get lost in those heartbreak songs. They took over my life and my relationships, and I lost many good men. I needed the bad ones because I felt that that was the only way I could rightfully sing a torch song."

"Wow," my tone was hushed with amazement, "suffering for your art,"

"Yeah," she raised one eyebrow and nodded as if she needed to take in the information all over again. 

"A self-imposed suffering," I confirmed while looking at her directly. "You chose to suffer."

"I was in way too deep by the time I realized that," she reached across the table and retrieved her photo album, and sat back down with the picture book on her lap. 

"So, how does this translate to your house being haunted?" The rain came and hit the hot pavement just outside the garage. Whisps of steam manifested the second the water made contact with the blacktop. The faint aroma of tar filled my nostrils as I watched tears fill Mary's eyes. 

"I'm pretty sure that I cursed my daughters with my bad relationship karma," she spoke through her grief and guilt born from the kind of life she lived before her daughters were born.  

"Alright, I see," I replied. "Do you mind if I go inside and talk to them for a minute?"

"Of course," she agreed. "I hope you'll be able to help them."



"I'm Mela, and this my sister Evelyn," the two women were mildly irritated. "We hope you can help us; things have really gotten out of hand."

"Alright, follow behind me, and I'll start with the four corners in the house, and then we'll proceed outside," they stayed close while I took a clockwise route and ended up right back where we started. "Now, we'll head outside and do the four corners of the property." The two sisters followed along, moving tri-cycles and gardening tools out of the way. The yard itself was nicely manicured and explicitly designed to accommodate their children. The two sisters didn't seem like the kind of people affected by their mother's self-inflicted relationship tragedies, but more profound things always lurk beneath the surface. We were back at the front door, where the sisters mentioned that they needed to pause before I proceeded with the blessing and the extrication of the spirit haunting their home. "Of course," I replied, "take as long as you need."

Mela and Evelyn looked at one another, no words were exchanged, but they knew what they had to do. All they could do is cry and hold on to one another. "It's okay," Evelyn rubs her sister on the shoulder.

"I know," Mela chokes her tears back, at least she tries to. "I just feel like shit."

"C'mon," Evelyn encourages her, "let's not make the man wait all day."




"Yes?" She stood up and seemed surprised that Mela and Evelyn were with me. "Girls, what are you doing outside?"

"Mom, sit down; we have to talk," Evelyn took a seat with Mela at the opposite side of the round table. I remained standing while the two women had their say with their mother. "We love you, mom; that's never going to change, but you have to let go of those torch songs."

"You also have to let go of all those bad relationships, all those men who you let do you wrong," Mela interjected. "Our father was around long enough for the two of you to have us, but you couldn't shake that mindset you put yourself into."

"You convinced yourself that you didn't deserve a good man like dad," Evelyn cried without reservation; it was all coming out. "That you only deserved the bad ones."

"You broke his heart, mom. He never got over it," Mela was angry; her eyes were red with emotion. "You left us, and you only came back whenever you got dumped."

"I'm sorry, my babies," Marie sobbed. "I should have ended it all when I had the chance. I should have gone before you."

Mela and Evelyn looked at me and nodded, "Go ahead."

I proceed with the blessing first with the pure water from the first dew in the morning, collected from a Kalo leaf center. Then I used the pa'akai from Hanapēpē, sprinkling all at the sisters' feet, and then upon their heads. "We love you, mom," they both chimed in together. "We forgive you." Mela and Evelyn slowly dimmed out and then faded away altogether. Marie went from sobs to heaving mournful tears; she sounded like a wounded animal, begging for someone to heal it from a pain that would never go away. "They took their own lives because of me, all of their relationships failed, they were..."

"I know what happened, Marie," I reassured her. "They told me, just the years of abuse..they told me."

"At least they went together," Marie was inconsolable after. I thanked her for her time and wished her well, as well as could be. She was so immersed in her grief that she hadnʻt seen the things that transpired under her nose, forcing her girls to address every man she brought home as, "Daddy." None stayed long enough even to consider the role; others used the mantle to take advantage of the girls. "Can you bless me?" She pleaded. "Can you bless this pain away?"

"When you come out of your prison, I can," I replied. 

My car was parked at the end of the street, but it was the longest walk I ever took. The rain was back, like a blessing I needed myself. I paused and turned my face up to the heavens and let the heavy raindrops cleanse my face and my thoughts. I canʻt take this home with me; I have to leave it here, thatʻs why the rain falling at this moment is so important. It cleanses not only my body but also my mind and, more importantly, my heart. 

1 comment:

  1. The feels in this one... it's so sad that there are people today that carry grief with them for different reasons. Their long past ohana stays with them and cannot move on as they are chained to that person's grief. ... It's tough and does pull at your heart strings. Much too common...