Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 22, 2021

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2021 #9

We cried mostly. We held hands, we walked. We stopped, we hugged, we cried. We blamed one another and then blamed ourselves, but we mostly walked and said nothing, which was the more logical and often sobering thing to do. We hated one another, casting aspersions. We apologized and kissed passionately until we found ourselves slipping in between a great space of a giant banyan tree in Kapiolani Park, where we made hurried and quick love. Then, we'd start over and do the whole thing again, walking the length of Waikiki Beach from the Hilton lagoon to Kaimana Beach and back. We'd stop for food somewhere, feeding our heartbreak. We'd pop in for a bathroom break, pay for our meal and continue our aimless walk. At one point, we found ourselves at Rainbow Drive-Inn having the mixed plate and a green river drink. It wasn't until we were mid-way through the meal that we realized we were sitting at the very spot where we both met. She was in line at least 3 places ahead of me and went somewhere to find a seat. 

EVERY SEAT WAS TAKEN when I got my mixed plate in drink and wandered over to grab a spot. That's when I heard someone trying to get my attention. It was her, waving me over and pointing at the only space there, which happened to be where she was sitting.

 "Come! You can sit next to me! Might as well; it's the only spot open! If you shy, you starve!"

A year later, we were married. There years later, we're here, walking, talking, yelling, shouting, blaming. We realized we had to come to this agreement, whether or not we liked it. No matter how badly it hurt us, we had to agree. We also promised that once we decided, we would not go back on our decision. There were no hugs then, no expression of affection or sorrow. Just a soothing breeze and silence. The drive was shorter than the walks she and I had taken the night before. Yet, here it was, noon the following day. When we arrived, we held on to one another more for support than love or how married couples are supposed to. We took a pause before we walked through that door. We knew that they were on the other side waiting for us and that there was no way to avoid giving them what they needed. They put their heads down when they saw us and did not look at us directly. 

"We'll give you a moment, then we have to come back."

I understood that statement all too well. I understood it much more clearly than I cared to. But I knew what it meant and what my wife and I had to do. Nearly a month ago, I pulled into the Aloha Gas N Go off Kapahulu late one night after coming from a movie.
While I got out to fill up the car, my wife Kara got out of the car to get some musubi and drinks. Our daughter got out from the back seat, and as she opened her door and stepped out, a young college girl who was dorming at UH Manoa was on her moped. She was drunk and impatient and didn't want to wait for the left turn signal at the green light, so she cut through the gas station at a full clip. She hit Kara, my daughter head-on and had just missed my wife, Cee Cee, by inches.
Kara had been in a coma ever since, and for each day that passed, she hadn't gotten better. Finally, the doctors told us that Kara was never going to recover. So, here we were, Cee Cee and I, saying our last goodbyes before the doctor and his team returned and removed Kara from life support. We held Kara close to us and whispered again and again into her ears just how much we loved her and how grateful we were that she chose us as her parents in this lifetime. I could see it in Cee Cee's eyes that she was beginning to reminisce. I grabbed her arm and squeezed tightly. She looked at me, and I shook my head, telling her not to take herself down that rabbit hole. I had to do it too. I had to stay in this moment. She was still warm, still full of life, still our Kara. We hadn't even heard the doctors come in before they gently placed their hands on our shoulders. They'd also come to care for Kara, which meant a lot to us. It helped to make this transition somewhat more manageable. 


We stayed Cee Cee and me. We watched until they disconnected Kara. We watched her breathe on her own until she couldn't anymore. Then, we sat with Kara, numb, red-eyed, and swollen from crying. We sat with her until they came to get her and take her away. I don't recall much after that. I don't remember driving or getting home. I don't recall standing in the shower for hours. Cee Cee was there, too, just numb in the corner of the shower. We sold the house eventually and donated Kara's things to charity. It was too hard to stay. We knew that. Then, one day, Cee Cee told me that she was going to her parent's house just to see how they were doing. They didn't handle themselves well at Kara's services, and it got to the point where they openly blamed me for what happened to my daughter in front of everyone. It didn't help that I decked my father-in-law and that a big brawl broke out. My wife never came back. Shortly after that, we were divorced. One night, I was coming back from a dinner with my friends, and I pulled into the Aloha Gas N Go to fill up. I got out of my car and walked around to take off the gas cap when something pulled me backward so hard that I hit my head on the glass of the rear door window.  A moped rider whizzed right past me, nearly hitting me full-on. When I turned around to see who it was that yanked me out of the way, there was no one there. 


Because of what happened to Kara, police officers began to park near that gas station, watching for any moped riders who cut through the gas station illegally. If they were caught, they'd get a ticket on top of heavy fines and have their moped impounded. I appreciated that a lot, but I'd trade it all if I could have my daughter back. It'd be worth it.

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