Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Mar 3, 2022

Rain 2022

Rain was my happiness, my place where I could lose myself to its sound and its atmospheric aroma.

It's where I was the true incarnation of who I was from the time of my birth until now. There was clarity when I thought, wrote, and created. I cooked, baked, and broiled my best foods on rainy days, and whether it was at home, at the store, or at a cafe downtown, I always felt at one with the deluge. Not to say that days of sunshine and good weather were like kryptonite, not at all. Fairweather was always a welcomed sight and well needed for growth, but the life-giving waters sent from the clouds parched the earth's thirst, the plants, and that of its creatures. This morning while leaving the coffee shop, a light sprinkle turned into heavy drops, which, accompanied by a fierce wind, made it feel as if it were piercing my skin. Alas, I was earlier overcome by a sense of whimsy and decided to hand my umbrella over to an elderly woman who seemed to need it more than I did. This rain I was not familiar with, it struck me with fear. Something did not feel right. As useless as it was, I pulled my shirt over my head, but I still became soaked to my skin. I was almost home, walking past the Date Street bridge, when I heard screaming and shouting from below. The waters coming down from Mānoa valley and through this stream was now a fierce river, swollen over and angry. In itʻs brown waters were a woman, and three of her children, stricken with wide-eyed fear, knowing that their end was undeniably close at hand. I ran down the embankment seeing three old tires and timed it so that I could throw them out in front of the four so they could catch it in time and have something to hold to before it took them out to the filth of the Ala Wai. It worked, it got to them just in time, and as the woman and the three children held on to the old tires, they each gave me this odd look as if they were disappointed that theyʻd been rescued. In fact, their eyes turned black, and their teeth and their mouths were covered with a green stain. "Next time," the woman pointed to me. "When the heavy rains come back, youʻll be ours, since you like it so much." She cackled wildly, and so did the children as they let go of the tire and submerged themselves into the unclean of the brown waters. This does not mean that my appreciation of the rain has lessened, to the contrary, it has not. But on those days of unpredictable devastation, where the rainfall is sudden and brutal, I stay indoors, and no attempts are made to help or rescue anyone. Even the frail elderly woman knocking on my door, begging to be let in so that she can return my umbrella. I never told her where I lived.

Photo Credit: the grey nomad.

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