Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 26, 2022

Aupuni 9 2022

"We're going to talk about noho," Mom began while peeling away the shells of her boiled peanuts which she placed in a separate hand-sized bowl. "Aunty Elena will talk about it because she has first-hand experience."

"You faka," Aunty Elena didn't know she would be put on the spot. "You, of all people, should know you cannot just talk about 'dis kine. Nobody going undah-stahn unless you show them." 

"I know," Mom said.

"You know? If you know, why you no show him 'den?" Aunty Elena spoke in a hushed tone now. Especially with her gruff voice; it just made my skin crawl.

"How will I show him and explain what's going on simultaneously? Does that make sense? It has to be you, Elena," she gave her cousin that look as if to say that both Mom and Elena knew she was right.

"You faka," Elena sighed, and without any further argument, she went through a few prayers and chants in Hawaiian. Next, Mom brought out particular items conducive to what was about to happen. I was not told about everything but was expected to absorb and understand without comment or question. 

"Every 'ohana has their way of doing what you are about to see," Mom looked at me. "There is no right or wrong way; that is why we never say that my way, or your way, is the only way. All knowledge is not learned in one school. In the future, when you speak of these things, you will say that you can speak for yourself or your 'ohana and not on behalf of all because no one can have or possess all knowledge. Life is your school, and you are always a student."

Aunty Elena's countenance changed suddenly. She sat upright with her chest, shoulders back, and chin up. She spoke Hawaiian in a deep baritone, her complexion went from very clear to ruddy, and her eyes took on a deep, fathomless black color. Where I had loved my aunty Elena because she was bawdy and straight to the point, I now feared her because even though it was her corporeal form in front of me, someone else was there. Someone who vibrated an undeniable power. In a deep baritone, Elena spoke Hawaiian in a man's voice. It shook me to the core. Mom dropped to the floor on her knees and yanked me down beside her, pushing my head to the floor. The whole experience lasted for less than a minute; when it was done, Mom replied, "Maopopo, e tūtū,"

Aunty Elena collapsed to the couch, and Mom went to help her as she slowly came around. "I will get you some water," Mom quickly went to the fridge.

"Fuck the water," Elena replied. "Get me one, bea!"

"This is noho," Mom explained. "Your aunty and I were trained as haka in our' ohana. She in her 'ohana and me in mine. The haole way to explain it is like a medium, who channels spirits, except this is noho, where a family spirit or god sits on your shoulders and communicates to your 'ohana through you."

"So, like possession?" I asked.

"No, not like possession," Mom said. "From now on, you must learn not to apply haole terms to things to our culture because there is no comparison in Western terms."

"Timoti thinks you may be racist when you say haole," Aunty Elena suggested.

"Anything not Hawaiian," Mom emphasized as she returned to the living room and handed Aunty Elena her beer. "Which means any other ethnicity which is not ours. How's that?" She asked Elena.

"Still sounds racist," she belched after gulping nearly half the beer.

"In any case, that is noho," Mom reiterated. "We will speak more of it tomorrow evening. I'm exhausted."

"How can you be exhausted when I was the one got the noho?" Aunty Elena was incredulous.

"I got exhausted from watching you get the noho!" Mom answered.

"Tomorrow night, you doing everything! I just sitting back and watching!" Elena pointed at Mom.

"Same like how you watched me bail you out of jail for beating the shit out of your ex-husband!" Mom retorted. Then the two suddenly went from bickering to breaking out in uncontrollable laughter. Here we go again.

This image is posted with prayer and permission to Kū as we ask for his aloha and compassion as we share his mana.

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