Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Mar 29, 2022

Asafoetida Quātrus 2022

"Any previous girlfriends before me?" Jenny slightly tickled me. "I'm mean, you're not a monk, and I know you've had a life up until now,"

"There was one," I replied.

"One?" She affected being shocked.

"One," I nodded. "We were together during my junior and senior year at Stanford, and then it was over."

"Tough break up, huh?" Jenny said.

"She died," I hope that wasn't too direct, but there was no reason to lie. "She hit a concrete wall, literally. She was alive long enough to say goodbye, then she was gone."

"Shit, well, that makes me feel like crap," she sighed. "I was just giving you a hard time; I didn't mean to open a can of worms."

"It's fine," I assured her. "I'm fine; you never truly get over anyone's passing who has meant something to you."

"It must have been a devastating loss? I mean, I can't imagine," Jenny said. "Uhm, change of subject! Tell me about your folks, your mom and dad? What are they like?"

"They're gone; they passed away too," I replied. 

"Oh my god!" Jenny was beside herself at how inconsiderate she thought she was, but it wasn't her fault. I had to let her know that. "I'm such an idiot! I'm so sorry, I kept saying the wrong thing one right after the other!" 

I gently held her close while she wept. "It's alright; they're just questions; you had no idea; it's fine, perfectly fine." I sat back and looked at her and helped her wipe her tears away. "What about you? What about your former boyfriends and your parents?"

"Very funny," she giggled while cleaning herself up. "The boyfriends always seem to run out of steam as the relationship goes on. I guess they're threatened by my position as a chief financial officer, and for some reason, as the 'man' in the relationship, they feel they have to one-up me rather than accept me. Does that make sense?"

"It makes sense, yes," I replied.

"And my parents retired to Portland because that's where they're both from, but they met here on Oahu, got married, and had me," Jenny shrugged her shoulders. "No big Hollywood story, so to say." Then there was silence between us, nothing awkward, just one of those pauses, "Can I ask you a favor?"

"Sure," I adjusted myself so that I was now fully facing her. 

"Could you hold me again? It doesn't have to be anything or lead anywhere, but I felt safe in your arms a moment ago," she said.

Without a word, I leaned forward and held on to her for a while until she fell asleep. We were parked in front of her house with a couple of sodas in the cup holder and a bag of bugles between us. It was an excellent way to end the evening. When we awoke, the sun pierced through my car window, and we felt the heat on our faces. She let herself out of my car with an 'oh crap' and 'holy shit' as she rushed up the stairs to the double front doors of her house. There was no need for goodbye or seeing you later; it wasn't needed. I drove off and returned home, hoping to catch up on some sleep before heading to the office. I arrived at noon with no real case to be a part of but for a meeting. Uncle Tiny and aunty Rita were already there waiting for uncle Ivan. "After this, it's a day off," uncle Tiny told me. "You can go holoholo or get some rest before seeing your honey again."

"Huh?" I feigned ignorance. 

"I know that look on your face because I had that look when I was your age," uncle Tiny laughed.

"You still get that look on your face," aunty Rita chimed in. "Nothing has changed."

Just when uncle Tiny was prepared to light into aunty Rita, uncle Ivan walked in. "So, Boy, a serious development has arisen." Looking at the other two, he asked, "how long has everyone been here?"

"Tiny and I have been here an hour, we came early, and Boy just got here right before you," aunty Rita answered.l

"And nobody went to Fukuya to get okazu-ya or nothing?" Ivan was cranky if he didn't eat first thing in the morning.

"I'll go get some uncle; I'll be right back," I offered.

"No, Boy, you stay here," he said while looking at Tiny and Rita. "You two go get it while I talk to Boy; you can namunamu on your way to Fukuya,"

"Whatevah," Tiny blustered while he stood up to leave.

"Don't forget who's the one that makes the lāʻau for your thing once a month," Rita reminded him as she exited behind Tiny.

Uncle Ivan turned his attention to me and took a moment before speaking. "Donnelly Corpuz was here the other day."

"What?" That was a surprising bit of news and alarming to hear. "How did he get out?"

"Who knows?" Ivan shrugged. "Somebody didnʻt dot a "T" or cross an "I," what matters is, he showed up here, which means that someone told him about what we did. It was Trisha, but it is what it is now; we canʻt do anything."

"So, what happened? Are you guys alright? Dammit! Why wasnʻt I here?" I was mad at myself now.

"Donʻt work yourself up over nothing; we took care of it. The point is that heʻs around, so you need to be careful," Ivan cautioned.

"So, you didnʻt kill him?" I asked.

"Wounded," Ivan looked me in the eye. "How you handle it should he run into you? That is your test." be continued

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