Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 17, 2022

Haʻi aʻo 2022

Pōhina was worried that his acceptance letter to the school to which he applied would never arrive.

He sat at the living room window daily, watching and waiting for the mailman to arrive. Each day as he went to check the mail box, every letter and package that came was for someone else in his household, not him. The due date for the letter's arrival had long passed, and by then, Pōhina had given up all hope. He did not bother to watch for the mailman. Instead, he stayed in his bedroom or spent time in the backyard sitting in the mango tree. One night, Pōhina dreamt that a voice called out to him from outside his bedroom window. 

"I am here," there was a quality to the voice which made Pōhina sit up and take notice. "I am here," it said again. "I am here, I am here."

In the dream, Pōhina left his bedroom and followed the sound of the voice, which led him to the backyard but more directly to the base of the mango tree. The voice kept insisting that it was there, so without a second thought, Pōhina began to dig up the dirt at the foot of the mango tree, and soon he unearthed an oblong stone that resembled an elongated egg. "At the first light in the morning, drench me with water, feed me the fruit which grows from this tree, and all you wish for will be yours." The next thing Pōhina knew, he was wide awake, and the first light of the morning showed through his bedroom window. Without a second thought, he went out to the mango tree, dug up the dirt at its base, and found the same oblong stone buried there as it was in his dream from the night before. From the water spigot came the water which filled his cupped hands. Gently, he walked over to the stone, which was now propped up, and there he lay the water upon the rock. He then climbed up the mango tree and removed a ripe fruit, and peeled back the skin in its entirety, placing it before the strange stone. Next, he offered prayers, and when he finished his devotions, he went and washed his hands and returned to his bedroom. The rest of Pōhina's day was filled with phone calls from his friends who wanted to get together and ride their bikes up at the park. Everyone agreed to bring a packed lunch and drinks for later. It was three in the afternoon when Pōhina returned home and found the letter laying on his pillow; it was the one he had been waiting for, the one from the prestigious school. He was nervous while opening the letter, but he took his time, carefully peeling back the cover until he could remove the contents. Unfolding the paper, he read it only less than halfway and let the letter fall to his bed. He sat on the floor, completely silent and unmoving.

Dearest Pōhina,

Thank you for your efforts to apply with us at Kapālama Academy. We must admit that at first, we believed this to be a joke of some kind, but as we read your application and the letter that followed, we realized you were serious. Then, we read your letter again. We are happy to say that we can accept you at Kapālama Academy on a trial basis for our first semester. We will monitor your progress and then review it at the end of the semester to determine your progress, and we will go from there. For now, we welcome you, Pōhina Makena, to Kapālama Academy as the first twelve-year-old Freshman to attend our university.


John Keone Alarcon


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