Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

May 29, 2022

Kaomi 'Elua 2022

Everything after that was so simple; we fell into a love that was already nurtured by a long friendship, and marrying Priscilla was a no-brainer.

Somewhere between all of that is when we went hand in hand to Manolo's eatery in Kalihi to say hi and catch up on old times. Seems like an oxymoron, right? Catch up on old times? Old times mean that everything you're going to talk about is in the past tense, so how can you catch up? Never mind. Aside from being older and thinner, Manolo looked the same. He and Ruth wore the same haircut and the same half of a gold heart. Ruth was out front, taking orders at the cash register. Priscilla and I got in line and waited for our turn. Ruth didn't really look at us when we finally got to the front. "Hiya, what are you having?"

"Two big macs, large fries, and two large fruit punches," I said, trying not to laugh.

"Very funny," Ruth huffed. Then she took a good look at me and then Priscilla. She threw her hands up and screamed before she came running around the counter to hug us. "You're still an asshole, Kevin!" Then, looking at Priscilla up and down, she shook her head, "Everyone wondered when the two of you would get a clue! Finally!" She hugged us again before she excused herself and went to get Manolo. When he finally emerged, he poked his head out from the curtains, preventing customers from seeing the kitchen. "Kevin!" He grunted. "You still owe me twenty dollars for that movie we went to see, and then you cut out and took off with Priscilla! I never forgot that, you know!"

"Yeah, yeah," I waved him off. "Who had to kick Jonathan Aiyau's ass for you at Pearlridge cause you were talking to his chick in social studies class? Me! So, twenty dollars for your wrinkles!"

"Come here, you bastard," he walked around the counter, and we slapped and hugged. "Go sit down; I'll bring your food for you. Remember my mom's adobo?"

"Oh yeah," I moaned. "Who could forget?"

Looking at Priscilla, he told her, "After this, I'll give you the recipe so you can make it for him sometimes," He also gave her a hug and laughed a bit. "This guy takes off for ten years, no say nothing, and then just shows up. Typical, yeah?"

"Typical," Priscilla agreed. "But no worries, I'll train him correctly,"

"You do that!" Ruth pointed at me.

"So, what you doing now, Kevin?" Manolo lightly tapped me on the shoulders. 

"Real estate," I told him.

"What about you, Priscilla? You still working for your folks?"

"Oh no," she replied. "They retired a long time ago, so I'm working in the office at Matson."

"Matson?" Manolo was impressed. "Sheeet, you making that kine money, you no need Kevin!"

Everybody laughed while Manolo went to the back and brought his mom's adobo with rice and strawberry soda. "Just like how we used to eat 'um before, remember?"


We traveled a lot, Priscilla and I. She deserved it, and I loved taking her to places I've been and playing host for her in many different cities. Some things she did like. Others not so much, but the experience was up to her; I just guided, supported, and understood. So that was the course of our marriage, understanding, love, and support. It's what made it work. Priscilla and I didn't have any kids together, so we lived vicariously through Manolo and Ruth and their kids. It was too funny because Manolo was ever the doting father, and Ruth was the one who cracked the whip. We were the uncle and aunt who spoiled them rotten. Priscilla raised the question once about us having children and my thoughts about the subject.

"Well," I began. "We practice a lot for it; we never played a real game, you know? Like a real inning."

"But, would you want kids? I mean, can we actually be parents?" She asked.

"With or without children, I love you. I am happy and content, either way," I held her close and kissed her. "I mean, we are already a great husband and wife, and I know we'd be great parents. Raising a child is scary, and I can only guess from what I've seen with Manolo and Ruth and their kids that it's not easy, but look at them. There's so much love there, we could have that too if we wanted, and if we didn't, we'd still have each other. So, to answer your question, yes, we'd be great parents." Strangely enough, that was that. The subject was never broached again, and we did not have children. A short time later, Priscilla's parents passed away. Her father Rogelio went first, and then her mother Paraluman followed a month later. It was hard for my wife, as it is hard for anyone who loses their parents, but for Priscilla, she lost the two people who worked tirelessly to give her a good life. They only retired because they had enough money to live comfortably and see Priscilla grow into a beautiful young, intelligent, hard-working daughter. That she was, and more. 

"Thank you for staying with me and listening; I know I talk too much," I said to the nurse.

"You say whatever you need to say," the nurse patted my hand. "This is such a wonderful story so far. I hope there's more?"

" I just need a minute and maybe some water too?" I pointed to the bottle on my nightstand. She removed the cap and handed it to me. "Go on, I'm very interested." be continued


17A Productions Presents

Lopaka Kapanui at Hawaii Theatre

A storytelling concert at the historic Hawaii Theatre. This master storyteller is one of Hawaii’s most popular teller of tales and has been in the business of scaring people for more than 20 years. Lopaka is terrifically skilled at provoking that sudden chill going down one’s back or causing the small hairs on your arms to stand up. Chicken skin is what we call it in Hawai‘i. Others might refer to it as chills or goosebumps. Sharing real accounts of Hawaii’s supernatural culture, Lopaka often leaves audience members questioning the darkness on their drive home and anxiously leaving the light on at bedtime.


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