Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Feb 3, 2022

Daphne 2022

She was remembered as someone who felt the world and everything contained with much too much feeling.

Daphne was intelligent, articulate, and very funny, but love seemed to evade her for some reason. Unlike other girls her age, Daphne didn't keep a diary, nor did she have a pen pal. Instead, Daphne had a tape recorder. At night after homework, chores, dinner, and a shower, she would head up to her room and lock the door. Daphne would play a cassette on her stereo and then turn on her tape recorder. Then, staring into the mirror, she would express her thoughts. Ever wondering why no one seemed interested in her good qualities? It was a question she posed to herself, time and time again. By the time her senior year came around, Daphne had acquired a mini-library of her cassette recordings which she had kept in a shoebox tucked neatly in the corner of her closet. One day, she'd take them out and give them a listen and laugh at how silly she was. She promised herself that she would only do this once she was married and had her own children. Then, they would all have a good laugh together over one thousand four hundred and sixty days of pining away, for a love that only seemed to exist in movies and romance novels, all recorded on cassettes and to Daphne's reflection in the mirror. As these things go, Daphne graduated high school with honors and met someone her first year in college. Her name was Elise, she was a student teacher in Daphne's English lit class. She was a few years older than Daphne, but it was as if they spoke the same internal and spiritual language. They dated for a while until Elise finished her doctorate and was offered a job at the University of San Francisco.

Elise assumed that Daphne would go with her, but Daphne had other plans for her life. The two parted amicably but remained in touch and stayed good friends. Other relationships came and went, women, men, everything seemed to function according to how the stars aligned for Daphne. When Daphne graduated college, she found a position at the Kapiolani community college, teaching English classes focused on poetry. There, she met a student named Avery Kalama, whose humor seemed to disarm her but in a good way. He was a warm person and very sincere. One thing led to another, and eventually, Daphne would become pregnant. When Avery found out from Daphne that she was carrying his child, she told him right off that he was not obligated to marry her or take any kind of responsibility. She had the means to raise her child independently if she had to. Avery respected her thoughts and told her that he would like to support her. Worried about his financial status as a student, Avery assured her that there was no need for concern. He was in community college part-time. Avery worked full-time as a stevedore. The English class was a requirement for the associate's degree he pursued.

Theirs was a partnership that worked for the both of them, and they agreed that a marriage would take place when the time was right. Daphne moved in with Avery, and her parents rented out her room to supplement their income. Daphne still sent her folks money twice a month. One day, Daphne's parents called to tell her that something strange was happening in their house, more specifically in her old room. They were having problems with renting out the room. It seemed that whoever rented out Daphne's old space wouldn't stay very long. The tenants would literally move out overnight, but they would never say why. Until the most recent tenant, who worked part-time and attended night classes nearby. "Well? What was it?" Daphne asked her folks over the phone. "You have to come to see for yourself," her father told her. Avery stayed home with the baby while Daphne drove to her old Maikiki heights home to see what her parents wanted to show her. When she got there, hugs and kisses were exchanged, and then the three of them went up to Daphne's old room. Everything was the way she left it. "Over there," her mother pointed to her old bureau. "Where?" Daphne asked. "Is it something on top of the bureau?"

"No," Daphne's father said pointedly. "It's the mirror."

For a second, Daphne didn't recognize the reflection, which looked back at her from inside the mirror until she realized she was staring at the seventeen-year-old version of herself. "I'm so lonely; I don't even know when my true love will find me," she sighed. "I'm waiting, whoever you are, I'm waiting, oh dear god, I'm waiting, and I'm praying!"

Suddenly, the young reflection blinked and blinked again, and a look of horror came over her. She screamed, high and shrill, "Who are you? Who are you? What are you doing in my mirror? Mom! Dad! Help!"

Daphne's father stepped forward and threw a blanket over the mirror, leaving her to ask her parents, "What the fuck was that? How is my mirror haunted by my high school self from two thousand and seven?"

"Daphne, you don't remember because it was too traumatic; you pushed it out of your memory. You spent a lot of time up here, speaking on your recorder while you talked to yourself in the mirror. One night we came running up here and found you screaming about the strange lady in your mirror," her father said.

"We thought you just convinced yourself that you saw something because of how you spent too much time here. You stopped recording, and you stopped sleeping in your room until you left for college," Daphne's mother began. "When the tenants began to complain about seeing the same strange woman in this mirror, your father and I thought that it couldn't be possible that these strangers had the same hallucination that you had before. Until the last tenant brought us up here and showed us; it was you, Daphne, you're the strange lady in the mirror."

Her father removed the blanket, and the three watched as Daphne's younger self now stood on the other side of the mirror, hysterically pointing at it while her parents tried to calm her down and give her comfort. Did the young Daphne unknowingly summon something? Or did she open a time portal? The only way to find out is to look in your mirror for countless hours at a time, imbuing into it all of your emotions and feelings daily. Then, let us know what happens after. 

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