Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 21, 2022

Makapō 2022

I would be hesitant, too, if I didn't know the situation.

So, I had to assure him everything would be fine. He stood at six feet five inches tall, and his broad, muscular frame filled the entire space in the small living room. A battle-tested soldier who saw three campaigns in the middle east, Mike Laumilo joined the police department after he got out of the army. After all these years, he was close to retiring from the force; however, as of late, he began experiencing anxiety and panic attacks that came out of nowhere. Mike's higher-ups stressed that he undergo a psyche-eval. Otherwise, he'd be forced into early retirement or worse. Desk duty. Through one of the dispatchers, Mike was recommended to seek my services.  

"Relax, Mike," I said, pointing to the chair in front of me. "Have a seat, take a deep breath, and relax."

"Do I have to do anything?" Mike was pensive. "Talk about my feelings and shit like that?" Mike was not one for being expressive and touchy, feely. 

"No," I reassured him. "Sit closer to the edge of the chair, and you should be fine."

The sound of a door closing came from down the hallway, and nine-year-old Malia Kahawai appeared in the living room. She wore a light blue shirt with tan coveralls. On her feet were pom socks covered by house slippers. She held a long cane in her right hand, which explained to Mike why Malia wore a pair of dark glasses. He said nothing but asked, "This is your baby?"

"No," I smiled. "This is Malia; she'll be helping you today."

"What?" Mike's tone and body language clearly communicated that he was irritated by the situation and prepared to fight if he had to. 

"This is a safe environment, Mike; nothing will happen to you. Just trust Malia," I assured him again. This may all seem strange to you, but if you trust the process, Malia will help you overcome your anxiety."

"Palekoa? Why don't you use your Hawaiian name anymore?" Malia asked Mike directly.

"No one knows that name, only my tūtū man," clearly vexed, Mike replied with a measure of unease.

"That is who is asking," Malia replied.

Mike shot up from his chair and, in one stride, tried to barrel past Malia, but she did not budge. Without seeing it, she instinctively grabbed Mike by his fingers. The giant of a man stopped dead in his tracks, let out a slight moan, and fell to his knees. Malia reached out and held his face in her tiny hands. "So much pain you've held in, Palekoa. So much guilt you never dealt with, you pushed it all down, hoping it would go away, and it did not,"

"Please," Mike groaned. "Don't, don't go there, let me go,"

"I'm not holding you here, Palekoa; you are," Malia replied. "I can only let go when you let go. What do you want to tell me, Palekoa? I'm here; I'm listening,"

"They haunt me, tūtū," Mike spoke softly. "They will not go away,"

"All the people, the ones you killed while you were serving in the middle east?" Mike's tūtū was channeling even more clearly through Malia. 

"No," Mike said. "It's demons that followed me from the middle east,"

Credit: Middle East Eye be continued

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