Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jan 31, 2022

Papa 2022

Papa was the one who woke up before sunrise and made sure that he got our uncles to work on time.

Then he'd make it back home by 7:15 am to bring me, my siblings, and my cousins to school. Papa never honked the horn when would drive up; he never had to. We knew he pulled up to the garage because we could hear his favorite music playing in the van. Paul McCartney and Wings. He played it so much that we all knew the words to each song. I remember we were at school when Papa passed away at home. Our parents and our Mama, or our grandmother, waited until we returned from school to give us the news. We were all heartbroken because we loved our Papa so much.

The services were beautiful, and we didn't realize just how many people our Papa knew; it was packed with wall-to-wall human beings. Standing room only, with people outside and a line straight out to the parking lot. I'll save you the dramatic build-up and tell you that when it was all said and done and life went back to normal, our parents had to adjust their schedules so that we could get to work on time. That included my uncles buying their own cars. They didn't realize just how spoiled they were because when Papa drove them to work, they could get some shut-eye before they were dropped off. No such luxury now; the duties of bringing us kids to school fell on our Mama. My mom, my cousin's mom, our aunty would help get us ready and then come along for the ride. I could see that it was difficult for Mama to drive the van because everything about Papa was in that vehicle.

One morning, when we were all ready and just about to walk out the door, we heard the music coming from the van, Paul McCartney and Wings. At first, we weren't bothered by it because we were used to the music. Then, without thinking, we excitedly grabbed our bags and ran out the door, "Papa's here! Let's go! Hurry!" We came to a screeching halt when my mother yelled at us to stop. It didn't dawn on us right away as to what just happened. How was Papa's music playing in the van when no one was in it?

The three women cautiously went out the door, up the steps, and the music kept playing even when they walked into the garage. It was 7:15 am, the exact time when Papa would drive up to take us to school. Mama pressed the key fob and the doors unlocked. She opened the driver's side door and stood there for a second before saying, "Hun, you don't have to worry anymore; I'll get the kids to school on time. You go rest, I have it all taken care of," the music stopped all at once, and Mama got us to school at 7:30 am on the dot. Papa didn't have to worry anymore. Here's where things started to get weird. We all began to hear voices around the house at all hours. What was strange was that we were all hearing our own voices, us kids, our parents, and our Mama. We could hear ourselves talking to us, inviting us to come into our bedroom or bathroom when we knew for sure that no one was in there. Mama called all of us to the living room, sat us down, and told us, "I completely forgot about the voices because it's been so long,"

"What do you mean, mom?" My uncle Damon asked my Mama.

"When we first bought this house, and we were all moved in, you and your brothers were still little. We heard voices in this house, our own voices trying to talk to us or tempt us to go somewhere. Your Papa was the one who blessed the house every few months, and he kept those voices at bay," we were all scared out of our wits until our Mama reassured us. "Don't worry though, I think I know what will work."

Mama's solution was to play Paul McCartney and Wings in the house. She didn't blast the music, but as long as it was playing, whether loud or not, the voices wouldn't bother us. After a while, Mama told us that the time to sell the house had come and that we all needed to get a new place and start fresh. Of course, Papa's ashes came with us. In life, he wasn't just someone who kept on a schedule, but he was also the spiritual protector of our home, and of us as well. 

Photo credit: classic cars for sale.

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