Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 19, 2022

Aupuni 2 2022

The dawn of the early morning let its rays of still-rising light bathe the living room and the kitchen. I always liked it this way. This was a quiet hour before everyone began to stir in their beds, my brothers and sisters with their kidneys filled, knowing they had to come out of the excellent dream they were caught up in so they could relieve themselves and get on with their day. My mom sat in the far left corner of the living room on her rattan rocking chair, wearing her old bowling team shirt and quilt blanket on her lap. Physically, she was staring off somewhere, but mentally, her thoughts were filled with what she had to say to us once we were all awake and sitting at the table for breakfast. I walked over and sat at her feet on the freezing concrete floor. 

"Penny, for your thoughts," I said.

"Good morning," she smiled. "Your wahine must be fast asleep; won't she miss you if she finds you're gone?"

"She's fine," I assured her. "How are you?"

"I'm ok," she affected. "Can you please do me a favor, wash up and start breakfast? I'll go wake everyone up in the meantime."

While mom made her rounds, I went into the bathroom and did the routine: I washed my face, brushed my teeth, washed my hands, used the bathroom, and rewashed my hands. I woke Yandra up with warm kisses and pressed our bodies against one another. We made love quickly and promised to make it last when we were ready for bed at the end of the day. When I got to the kitchen, Mom had already fried the bacon and mixed the eggs simultaneously. I stepped in and took over for her, to which she smacked my shoulder with her koa wooden spoon and scolded me. "Go wash your face, can smell your girlfriend all over you!"

Embarrassed, I did what she commanded, and when I returned, she finally let me take over. By the time Terry and Thomas were awake, they were hungry and sitting at the table with growling tummies. My two sisters, Jana and Jen, were frying the French toast and the sausages. Yandra filled the Guava and Orange juice pitchers and had the last plates and cutlery set out. "Hello, strange person that we don't know who was not introduced to us," Terry got up, shook Yandra's hand, and hugged her. "I'm the oldest and most responsible brother," he said. "I'm Terrence, and this brooding Edwardian mess is the second oldest brother, Thomas!"

Tommy stood up long enough to say hello and hugged and kissed Yandra. "On french toast over there is the oldest sister, Janalyn, and on sausages is the youngest girl, Jenharad. It's a long story."

"We met already while going to and from the bathroom," Jana said. 

"We like her," Jen agreed. "She just jumped in and started helping, didn't even have to be asked."

"Of course," Terry continued ignoring his sisters as he always did. "You already have carnal knowledge of our youngest brother Timotee or Tim as we disproportionately call him because he tends to forget common courtesies like introducing his girlfriend to his family."

"Oh, stop being such a prude, Terry," Mom scolded him. "You were the very one who couldn't stop playing with yourself all through your teen years." Oh shit! My mom outed our oldest brother as the chronic masturbator in the family! We nearly pissed our pants laughing while Terry looked at all of us with disdain.

"Hah, hah, very funny, but don't forget who had to cover for most of you when you came home drunk, Jana, and you snuck a boy into your room, Jen! That was me who took the beating for the both of you!" He reminded the two girls.

"No one's forgotten that, Terry," Jana groaned. "Because you bring it up every chance you get whenever we're together!"

"Everyone, please, if it's not too much trouble, let's take our places for breakfast," Mom stretched her hands out as she always did. This indicated that we had to pray once we were seated. With her head bowed, and her eyes closed, Mom took a deep breath, and when she exhaled, she said, "Terrence."

In protest, my brother said, "Mom,"

"This is not a request Terrence," still, with her head bowed and eyes closed, Mom wielded power.

"Kū and Hina are our family's ancestors," my brother began. "Please give us your love and compassion and protect us as we partake of this meal and offer you the essence of it; Aloha,"

With that, everyone set forth to eat their breakfast, especially Yandra. Mom liked that she wasn't shy about eating. "You marry this girl," Mom nudged me. Once breakfast was over and everything was washed and put away, we gathered in the living room and waited for Mom to join us. She took her place in her rattan rocking chair and got to it immediately. "I want to pass on and teach you, children, everything I learned from my mama and grandmother. I'd like to start as soon as Monday."

"My school schedule is full, Mom," Thomas spoke honestly. "I'm carrying a full load this semester."

We've got work, the kids, and our ungrateful husbands," Jana spoke for herself and Jen.

"I'm Mormon," Terry said. "You know I can't; I mean, it was enough that I had to do the prayer earlier,"

After that, my older siblings came up with excuses for why they had to leave suddenly. Work, family, car repairs. Anything to get themselves out of there and away from any spiritual obligations they felt mom was trying to put on them. That left me, Mom, and Yandra. 

"I've got time, Ma," I told her. "I can start Monday." be continued 

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