Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 4, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #27

 Let me start by saying that my name is Melinda Kanalu. After my husband Pi'i was killed in action in Afghanistan, I went into a deep tailspin.

I wallowed in my grief, and I had to have our son Hauola stay with my parents for a little while. During that time, because I was so vulnerable, I joined a cult whose belief was that all things material must be shed from our lives before joining our loved ones. Had I not had my head so far up my ass at the time,  I would have realized that the shedding of material things was going to happen before I died anyway; it's an unavoidable eventuality. My father, brother, and two of my uncles decided that they'd had enough of my cultish ways. They showed up unannounced one morning locked and loaded, walking from building to building looking for me. They didn't bother to introduce themselves or state the reason why they were there. When my spiritual brothers and sisters became aggressive and physical, they got a gun pointed to their faces or got the butt end of a rifle to the nose. They found me in the steam hut with the group's true father; he was cleansing my body with eucalyptus sprigs, running it along the contours of my hips and chest. My father grabbed the true father by the back of his hair and dragged him out of the steam hut. My brother took his flannel off and made me wear it while my uncles stood guard over us. The five of us left the true father naked and bleeding on the ground while the rest of my brothers and sisters stood by, helpless to do anything. The deprogramming period took a while before I could finally go home. The hard part was Hauola; he treated me like a kūkū in his sock. He wouldnʻt hug me or say hello; heʻd stare at me with a look of disgust and then disappear into his room.

The hard part also was coming home to Piʻiʻs pictures all over the living room. His things were still in the room; his scent was everywhere. It was too overwhelming. I finally broke down and had that long overdue cry. 


I got a job at the Wal-Mart nearby; on my days off, I was in therapy. I spent the rest of my time trying to get Hauola to open up to me. That was like trying to squeeze water from a stone; he wouldnʻt engage, and he wouldnʻt let me do anything for him. He was nine the last time I saw him, now heʻs fifteen. He learned to fend for himself, so realistically, he didnʻt need me. I was just another tenant in his grandparent's home. However, late at night, I could hear him having a conversation without someone over what sounded like a walkie-talkie. "I hate her, I donʻt know why grandma and grandpa brought her here. I wish she would go back to the compound,"

There was a click on the other side of the walkie and a male voice came through, "You canʻt say things like that Ola, sheʻs still your mother,"

Was I hearing things? Was that Piʻi? be continued

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