Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Apr 6, 2022

Play 2022

When the end comes, there's an empty void that can't be filled.

That's when you know it's said and done. Some of us accept it gracefully, others not so gracefully. I hadn't accepted it, but I couldn't stay in my apartment a moment longer. So I took a walk to the playground a few blocks away and sat there brooding, trying to think of how I could fix it, but there was no fixing what was intended to be broken. Fuck. The school bell rang next to the park, and the classes emptied out with yelling, screaming students. In a minute or less, they converged on the playground. Surprisingly enough, the bigger kids occupied the slides, the jungle gyms, and the swings. The smaller kids were not happy because it didn't seem fair. Of course, it wasn't fucking fair, but that's life. I walked over to the play structure anyway and yanked the big kids off everything they'd taken over. Finally, one kid had the balls to ask me what my fucking problem was? I backhanded him across the face and said, "My problem is with my hand," I apologized. "It won't stop slapping assholes," and I slapped him repeatedly. "You see what I mean?! Please, make it stop!" Then I began randomly slapping all the other sixth graders until they ran screaming across the park with myself in hot pursuit, pleading with them, "Please make it stop!" Little fuckers. I resumed my seat at the bench, and now all the little ones were happily playing about without a care in the world.

How extraordinary was life? By the time the police arrived, I was gone. I'd taken the shortcut on the Ala wai side of the park and then cut through 'Iolani school if someone told the police where they had last seen me walking. It worked; the police and I never found one another. I hadn't realized that there were teacher cottages on that campus until I walked passed them while trying to scale the fence that divided the campus and the apartment buildings on la'au street. The most miniature playground I'd ever seen was right between those spaces. One small slide, one miniature rocking horse, and one very tiny wooden bench. Two children were just the right size to fit those things, but they just sat there stoically, not moving. They were in deep thought, it seemed, contemplating the world's troubles. The little boy wore the classic crew cut with his hair slicked back with pomade. His aloha shirt was neatly pressed with images of kokeshi dolls all over it. The girl wore a bobbed hairstyle with a one-piece dress that had daruma doll prints all over it. The disturbing thing about the tableau was that there was nothing on their feet. No shoes, no slippers. 

"Go back home," the little boy pointed in the direction of my apartment. "Things will get harder before it gets better,"

"Once it gets better," the little girl chimed in, "circumstances will be good again. Your luck will come back to you, and you'll live a long, happy life."

"It's alright to be angry, but don't live in anger; otherwise, you will have no room for love," the boy nodded.

"Love for yourself," the girl added. "Not just romantic love."

"Go," they harmonized together while pointing to the fence they wanted me to climb over. "You have to get over it for your life to go on."

I said nothing; it was like they had me hypnotized. I climbed the fence and went on with my life, completely forgetting about trying to kill myself. I know; there's so much symbolism in that one action.


 Ten years later, my new wife Lisa and I are attending the services of her grandparents, who romantically passed on the same day. Our children, Tyler and Mya, were outside, running around and playing with the other children. It couldn't be helped; kids will always be kids. When the services were finally over, I went outside to collect my children when I was suddenly stopped dead in my tracks. All the other kids were having the time of their lives, but our two kids were just sitting stoically. One on the rocking horse, the other on a small bench. Lisa and I were in such a rush to leave the house that I never paid attention to what clothing Lisa put on them. Tyler wore the classic crew cut with his hair slicked back with pomade. His aloha shirt was neatly pressed with images of kokeshi dolls all over it. And Mya wore a bobbed hairstyle with a one-piece dress with daruma doll prints all over it. The two of them, at some point, had taken their shoes off, so they were sitting there barefoot. "Go back home," Tyler said.

"I'm sorry, what?" I asked him.

"Is it time to go back home, daddy?" He asked again.

"Oh, not yet, son," I held my arms open to him and his sister, and I picked them up."We have to go eat first, say goodbye to everyone, including your grandparents, and then go home." 

Just then Lisa showed up, "Oh there you guys are! C'mon," she motioned to us. "Let's go eat."

As we followed along, my wife gave me this strange look and said, "What's wrong with you?"

"Huh? Whatchoo mean?" I asked.

"You look like you saw a ghost," she huffed.

"Not ghosts," I laughed. "Just our beautiful kids."

credit: istock



Check out our Mysteries of Hawai'i website and schedule your date with Hawaii's longest-running ghost tour! Visit some of Hawaii's Most Haunted sites with The Ghost Guy himself.

1 comment: