Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 6, 2021

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2021 #55


The monthly siren test took me by surprise and made me jump a little.

Did a whole month go by that quickly that I didn't notice it until the siren blared across the state? It probably gave the seniors at the convalescent home a bit of a heart attack next to my place. A whole month? Where did the time go? As I said, and not meaning to repeat myself, I have a good view of the senior facility from where I'm at. So much so that I can see into their rooms if and when they leave the windows open. The more cognizant ones watch their favorite shows on the flat-screen, or a few of their friends come to play a highly illegal game of Mahjong. Others sit there and stare into space. Still, the lonely few, the ones who can't take one more day of a mundane life which amounted to nothing, are the ones who somehow make it to the roof and hobble their way to the edge. Very rarely are they found in the nick of time because most of them succeed in jumping twelve floors down. The sound of the thud and the breaking of bones is something I've never gotten used to. What's worse is when someone that advanced in their years survives the jump for a scant few minutes before they die. That sound? I don't even have the words for it.

One afternoon, while watering my garden of tomatoes and asparagus, I looked up. I noticed one of the residents staring at me from across the thinly veiled fence which separated my property from the facility. He was a Hawaiian man, dark skin, tall, lanky, and lean. His eyes were filled with the intensity of storied life, and he still had a full head of hair, although it was a shock of white. "Aloha," I nodded.

"Aloha," he replied. "What kine lepo you using?"

"Oh, just what I have here on my property," I replied.

"The kine with kūkae holoholona is the best, make the laʻau richer," he instructed.

"Are you a farmer?" Whenever I ran into one of the seniors from next door, I always asked them a question in the present tense as if they were still doing whatever they undertook as an occupation. Addressing their life in the past tense made me feel that we were relegating them to their past and that they no longer mattered in the here and now. 

"Mahiʻai is what I did to feed my family. I was a judge," he gruffed. 

"Oh, are you here visiting someone?" I asked just to make polite conversation.

"No," he retorted. "I am a resident. I couldnʻt stand my kids anymore, so I came here."

"They were disrespectful of your time and space?"

"Oh no," he chuckled. "They know better than that. They were just too much around me all the time since my wife passed. They treated me as if I couldnʻt take care of myself. thatʻs why."

"I can understand that," I replied. "Is it quieter here? Less stress?"

"You mean, is it more peaceful?" He retorted.

"Yes, more peaceful," I bowed slightly, offering apologies.

"There are quite a few characters here, but overall itʻs peaceful," he mused. "Anyway, nice to meet you. Try using more compost. It will help."

"Iʻm Daryl, by the way," I called out. "I didnʻt get your name?"

"You can just call me your honor," he waved and walked off with his hands joined together behind his back.

Just then, an orderly and security guard happened by. They didnʻt seem to be in a hurry or stressed out in the least. They gave me the bruddah bruddah greeting, to which I returned the salutation. "I was just talking to the judge, the old Hawaiian man."

"Who?" The orderly asked.

"The tall old Hawaiian man, skinny, was wearing a red plaid shirt and black corduroy jeans and loafers. White hair, dark skin?" I offered.

"No more nobody like that over here," security said. "What did he say to you?"

"That he came here because his kids were making too much of a fuss over him after his wife died," I replied. 

"Ooooooohhh!" The two exclaimed. "Come, come," they urged me to follow them as they opened the gate that separated the property between the elder facility and mine. They led me to the front of the building and showed me a sectioned-off area with a plaque surrounded by beautiful Hawaiian plants and ferns. The colors were so rich and lush, it almost made my mouth water. "Look," they pointed to the plaque. On it was a dedication to the person for whom the senior facility was named. Judge Herman Kaleiʻaʻala Akina. Below it was an etched portrait of the very man Iʻd spoken to only moments ago. "This is the old garden that he planted himself. Heʻs buried here too."

Itʻs a true story. I encountered a ghost without even knowing that it was a ghost. Well, not just any ghost. It was the non-corporeal form of the late Judge Herman Akina. The orderly and the security guard told me that the old judge hated having people make a fuss over him, more so, his children. He would only allow his wife to do so, but since sheʻd passed away, he could not endure it from anyone else because it was too painful. It reminded him of his wife, Pūlama.

1 comment:

  1. Awwwh this was an awesome story. Really enjoyed reading this❤️