Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 4, 2022

Kīlauea 2022

Filled with all signs of life, furniture, chairs, love seats, knick-knacks, and mementos, the home felt stark and void of life.

Where were the people who moved about in this spacious one hundred and ten-year-old house? They were each in their bedrooms, living in their dreams. The conditions had not been set right for them to awake to the new day, so they slumbered. We spirits in the house lived side by side with our corporeal occupants, never manifesting in any way to make ourselves known. We loved the family and enjoyed sharing in their success and heartaches. It made us spirits feel as if we, too, were still alive, still tangible in a world that regarded us as evil. This home was our sanctuary. The little one began to notice us, as did the eldest daughter when she was this child. The closer her due date approached, she saw us more fully, not as half torso apparitions. Mentioning it to her mother, the woman chided her eldest daughter and told her she was hallucinating because of what the pregnancy was doing to her hormones. I had forgotten how foolish human beings can be with their words, not really considering the measure of power that comes with what they say. Yet, when the little one was born, she saw us and smiled and giggled. We moved as subtly as we could, blending with all forms of shadows in the home, along with the trick of the soft ambient light so as not to excite her attention. Still, she saw us, and rather than concern ourselves with being found out, we smiled back, and in those moments, while her mother left her in her crib to sleep, we gathered about and watched over her. Through her years, as she grew older, she never stopped seeing us. Mentioning us to her mother, the woman told her that there were no such things as spirits or ghosts, and rather than take her mother at her word, the girl kept silent, knowing that her mother was wrong. But, to us, she smiled, waved, and bowed slightly when the rest of the adults were present. On mornings like this one, when the adults have not yet awakened, we wait in the foyer, each of us taking our seats. The girl will be stirring soon. Once she has washed up, she will come to the foyer with her violin, and as she plays, her music will quietly rouse the rest to stir from their beds. They will prepare their coffees and various breakfast forms and gather amongst us as they sit and listen to the girl as she bares her soul through this beautiful piece of music. This is why we love this home and this family because the light of it lives within the form of this angel of a child. No surprise, gory ending, or twist, just a story of spirits living harmoniously with a human family in this home on Kīlaue Avenue.

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