Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 18, 2022

Aupuni 2022

The time of my life was spent in Orlando, Florida, with a great job and even more incredible nightlife. The weekends were just an extra added bonus. Going to the clubs, drinking, meeting people, hooking up, and more dancing and drinking. The morning I had one of the worst hangovers from drinking shot glasses of tequila without really checking the label, my phone rang. Rather than answer it, I threw it across the living room. I guess I didn't break it because it rang again less than a minute later. This time I picked up. 

"Hello, son," it was my mom. "Did you drop your phone earlier or something?"

"Uh, yeah, I picked up when it rang, and it kinda fumbled in my hands," I lied. "How are you, mom? What's happening?"

"I just had a question for you," she said.

"What kinda question?" I had to brace myself by putting my hand on the wall. I was still a bit dizzy from the mysterious tequila. 

"Would you be willing to come home?" She asked. "Some things are going on, and I need to discuss it with you and your brothers and sisters."

"What kinda things, mom?" It hit me suddenly, and I hoped I was wrong. "Are you sick or something? Is that what it is?"

"No, no, it's nothing like that," she reassured me. "Just please, I need you here. I'll explain the rest when you get home, okay?"

"Yeah, okay. I'll book the next flight, and I'll be out there," I said.

"Okay, see you in a couple of days," with that, my mom hung up, and for as bad as my head was pounding, I got online and booked a flight to Honolulu. 


A few days before calling me, my mother dreamed she was in her bedroom going through her daily routine. Walking into the kitchen afterward, she saw that the small space was filled with older Hawaiian people whom she'd never met before but knew were family. Each person, whether ancient or modern, stepped forward, introduced themselves, bowed, and stepped back in line. Then, from the back of the group came her youngest brother, my uncle Keahi who had passed ten years previous. 

"Pretty soon, it's your time to join us," he told her. "Whatever unfinished business you have, take care of it now, don't wait."

"Kaleo," my mother replied. "How can you say that to me? I'm perfectly healthy."

"You have cancer," my uncle replied. "Even now, as we speak in this dream among our ancestors, the cancer is ravaging your body. So your time is short; manage your affairs now, don't pass with regrets, sister, because by then, it will be too late."

The next thing my mother knew, she was sitting in her bed, wide awake. The profusion of puakenikeni filled the entire house, and my mother cried for the rest of the morning. Five days later, she'd finally figured out what she needed to do with the time she had left. None of us siblings knew anything about her dream; I was the last one she called to come home. We wouldn't know anything until she had us gathered in her kitchen. 


One thing I wasn't going to miss about Florida was the one thing I never got used to, the humidity. It just made you sticky all day long. Yandra drove me to the airport, and on the way, she kept going over the list of things I should have packed, like all the essentials. 

"Toothbrush, toothpaste, underwear., underarm deodorant, socks," she droned on. "Socks, do they wear socks in Hawai'i?"

"Yes," I replied.

"They do? Like how?" She was surprised.

"The same way we wear socks here in Orlando and Miami," I told her. "We're the fiftieth state; we're an actual state, just like anywhere else,"

"I'm sorry," she squealed. "I don't know anything about Hawai'i except for what little you tell me, so the rest I just have to guess. Like grass huts and coconut bras and shit,"

"I can't believe you said that," I laughed. When she dropped me off and I unloaded my one carry on, we kissed and hugged as much as possible. 

"Call me, text me, message me, all of the above okay?" She gave me that look to show me she loved me but that she was serious. 

"A, B, and C, I promise," I kissed her again.

"If I don't hear from you after three days, I'm flying to Hawaii'i, you understand me?" She squeezed me closer.

"I understand," I kissed her again.

"Getchur ass on that plane then," she kissed me back.

"Why don't you just come with me, like right now?" I suggested. She reached into the trunk and moved a blanket aside, and surprise, there was another carry on.

"I booked the seat right next to yours!" She squealed. "You passed the test! I can future marry you now!"


My mom bolted upright after having the same dream, the one she'd been having every night since it first began. Each time, there was one more family member standing in the kitchen that wasn't there the last time. It was sign that time was seriously of the essence. Sitting her bedroom, she could only hope that we got there quicker before it was too late. be continued

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