Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Feb 7, 2022

Make'ole 2022

He achieved immortality through kūpaku, a ceremony where someone who has died has their spirit captured and put back into their body.

Commonly, in that situation, that person goes on to live the regular years of their life. However, for Hīnale, he continued to live well beyond his expected time and began to be ageless. Over time, he noticed different people's same personalities and mindsets. He also started seeing the same physical features in certain people as if they would reincarnate every thirty years. Trends changed, new advancements in technology appeared, the population grew, and bigger and larger buildings rose to unbelievable heights, but the basics of human nature remained the same. Thus was war, poverty, and manʻs inhumanity to man ever unchanging. He saw that people who found real love only had a single lifetime to make the most of it, while others toiled away their years trying to find love but always seemed to miss it just when it was close enough to grasp. In that aspect, so many people were in the dark about what true happiness was and that they would never find it. How impermanent was life, so fleeting and yet gone before one knew that time had passed them by. Living forever, Hīnale saw it, time and time again. Birth, life, sickness, and death were the cycle; the essence of living was transitional, and nothing was permanent. The universe was in a constant state of flux. Persons who claimed to read minds or have supernatural powers or those who sought fame and fortune were the ones who suffered at the last moment before dying because they did not understand how life worked. So, they went with fear and fought to the last minute, never realizing that they would repeat the same cycle again and again until they understood the process. 

Hīnale, being the exception, felt that somehow by existing, he had broken some universal law by not being in a constant state of flux. But what could he do? Even though he had amassed a significant amount of private wealth over the centuries, he found work every few years to keep his mind busy. He stayed employed as long as he could before people noticed that he was not aging. Then he would quit and stay off the radar for a time, and then resurface again and repeat the same process. He remained home during those in-between times and only came out when he needed to stock up on food. Then there was Charlene Kauē, she was unexpected. At his last state job at the health department, she was the new hire who Hīnale literally ran into when he was exiting the elevator. He caught her and tried to right her from falling, but their feet became entangled, and the two tumbled to the floor. Charlene thought it was funny, but Hīnale was thoroughly embarrassed. He apologized profusely and later brought lunch to her desk as an apology. The day went on, and Hīnale forgot about the incident. The following afternoon Charlene appeared in his office with a large tupperware of fried chicken, rice with furikake, and a couple of cans of strawberry soda. "I knocked you down too, so it's my turn to bring lunch," Charlene smiled. Hīnale didnʻt argue and thought it was actually funny. From that day forward, the two were inseparable. Soon, Charlene brought Hīnale home to meet her parents, Gary and Lora. The couple liked Hīnale right away, and during dinner, they remarked that he was like an old soul that had been this way a few times before. Charlene agreed. The light went on suddenly, and Hīnale realized what he had done. After dinner, Charlene and Hīnale spent the remainder of the evening at his place, and they stayed together until sunrise and the rest of the weekend. On Monday, Hīnale did not come to work. The next few days, Charlene would discover that he had moved out of his apartment and had disappeared entirely. It was the first and last time that Hīnale would allow himself to fall in love. There is no continuation to this story, no nice and neatly wrapped ending. Hīnale is still out there, trying to exist side by side with a world that continually moves on without him, while he remains the same.