Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jun 27, 2022

Makuahine 2022

My mother went through a very rough time in the late 70s.

My father did a number on her mentally and emotionally so that she was a total wreck when he left her. Our family and friends came to the house and gave whatever kind of support she needed. She needed time to herself, so she could regroup, heal and go from there. I know I was angry at her back then because she would not explain why my father left us, so I assumed it was her fault. I held on to that anger until I was sixteen. That's about the time when my mother felt like she could start dating again. It never seemed to work out, and I don't know if she was unlucky or uninterested, but I recall one night when she came home from a date. My aunty, my mom's technically younger sister, by a few minutes was babysitting me. We were watching Three's Company when mom walked in, breathlessly saying hello to us. She took a seat in the kitchen after getting herself a Fresca. My aunty went to talk to her so she could hear about how the date went. "I think I did everything right," my mom began. "I dressed nice, not too sexy. We had a nice time, but nothing else."

"He didn't try anything?" Aunty Lou asked.

"He was a perfect gentleman," she replied.

"You think it's because you told him you're divorced and you have a child?" 

"He's a child psychologist, so having Kai was not the problem," my mom said.

"So, what then?" Aunty Lou's frustration was mounting.

Because of my years of pent-up anger, I took it upon myself to saunter into the kitchen and say the following words, "Maybe it's because you're fat and maybe this guy also knows that you're the reason why dad left us. No one wants to date a fat person, you should lose weight, then maybe you'll be prettier."

As my Aunty Lou would tell me later, I got the holy hell beat out of me by mom. It was the beating of all beatings and its memory ingrained itself into the very pores of my skin and my psyche. What's worse about it is that even now, as a grown man, whenever I do something really stupid? My mom's poltergeist shows up and renders the same beating on me as she did back in the day. Whew.


17A Productions Presents

Lopaka Kapanui at Hawaii Theatre

A LIVE and IN-PERSON 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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