Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Mar 31, 2022

Daniel 2022

Termite palace is what they called the old Honolulu Stadium.

My father took me there a few times to watch the Islanders baseball game, and I got to wear my yellow Islanders windbreaker jacket. We settled down on one of the higher bleachers with our peanuts, popcorn, and a soda or what my father called soda-water. I didn't care much for baseball; I just liked that I got to be around the old man because we rarely spent time together like this. Mostly, I was with my mom, and my father always bemoaned the fact that I never participated in anything athletic until I signed up for Karatē, and even then, he had nothing nice to say about it. But, this was now, and here we were. His reactions to the game as it went along are what made me happy as a little boy. Maybe a couple of baseball gloves would be good, and we could pitch at home. So, we did. Every chance we got, my father and I would toss the ball. First, as close as we could, we would step away from one another, farther and farther, until we were at complete opposite ends of the long driveway. Catching my first long one gave me such a thrill that I shouted to my father, "I think Iʻm ready to join the little league!"

"No," he shook his head. "Youʻre too weak and too small!"

"Of course, I can!" I giggled. "I just caught the long one!"

"If you can catch this next one, you can go to the little league," he hollered back. Then, before I knew what happened, he threw his hardest pitch straight at me, right down the line. I wasnʻt ready for it, and it hit me square in the chest and knocked me down hard. The breath went right out of me, and I blacked out. When I awoke, I was lying on the couch with a cold compress on my head. My mom was furious and my dad wasnʻt there. Sheʻd sent him to go get me some cheeseburgers, fries, and a soda to make it up to me. That pretty much soured me to the subject of baseball, my father and I never played catch again.  


The Islanders game was over, and my father and I were headed back home. I canʻt remember if it was Waiʻanae or Waipahu? We were driving in his old Dodge Dart, which he had for a while if I recall correctly. He had the country music station on and sang along to Conway Twitty and Hank Williams. Weʻd never be like this again, he and I. I was awake the whole time, looking out the window, admiring the sites, but there was no conversation. No interest in what my day was like, what happened at school or who my friends might have been. Finally, we pulled into the driveway, and I let myself out of the car and closed the door. I watched as he took the four staired climb up the porch and into the house. When the door closed behind him, the yard, the house, the garage, and the big mango tree in the back yard faded away into nothing. Instead, there was the two-story monster house in its place. "So," the realtor asked. "What do you think? Are you ready to buy?"

"No," I shook my head. "Can you show me something else, something more nostalgic but up to date? Does that make sense?"

"Oh sure," he replied. "Weʻve got lots of those in this area! Jump in," he pointed to his Mercedes. "Iʻll take you right to it!"

Pulling out of the driveway, I was half disappointed that my father's ghost didn't show up or that my mother's apparition didn't come walking out of the house with her pomeranian in her arms. On the other hand, maybe it was for the better. Maybe old memories should be precisely what they are, old and left for dead.

credit: Flickr



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