Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Nov 15, 2022

Kalina 2022

Empty space without even a residual echo of all the glory, life, heartache, and sadness imprinted into the very fibers of the floor, the twisted mesh of the screened windows, and the sturdy wooden pillars and beams.

When the Kahuna relieved it of all its mana, it became as barren as the plains of Kaupe'a, inhabited only by restless wandering spirits. But in this stark dwelling, a spirit is not to be had even in its minutest forms. What could match the storied history of this place is questionable because whoever deems to move in next will find it hard to outdo the reputation that preceded their presence. Persons will happen by and ask for the old Kahuna for healing and other kinds of services, but the new owners regretfully say that the wise one is no longer present in that space and that he has gone some otherwhere. Not into the afterlife, just not in there. 

Several years have passed, and the space has gone through many incarnations, from that of a honey farm to a distillery and back to a residence. One evening while the current owner of the place walked outside to take a break from a bit of writing he had to do, he noticed a lone figure slowly walking up the empty street toward his home. It passed under the dim glow of a few street lights before finally stopping at the front gate. It was an elderly Hawaiian man, well-aged with white hair and a full white beard, dressed as if he had just come from church. He was not bent and slow of step as most elderly people are in their dotage. Instead, he was tall, with his shoulders thrown back, chin high, and chest out. Such confidence and self-assuredness made the homeowner feel like shrinking in the old man's presence. 

"Good evening," the homeowner greeted. "Lovely evening, isn't it?"

"Indeed it is," the elderly man agreed. "Evenings like this are rare, quiet, still; almost too quiet, I would say,"

"What brings you out on an evening stroll in such a fine suit, if you don't mind my asking?" The homeowner was genuinely curious but did not want to be noticeable.

Pointing to the home, the elderly man replied, "This was once my home, and many things transpired there. Love, life, healing, pain, sorrow. It was all magic, but one day I had to leave,"

"Why?" The homeowner asked.

"Death," the elderly man was somber and staring at the house as he relived the events in his memory. "The one thing no human being can conquer death,"

"Who died?" 

"A man who had all the money in the world, and he was dying of cancer," the elderly man began. "He offered any amount of money I wanted if I could cure him. So I gave him all the Hawaiian medicine I knew could cure him, but nothing worked."

"Why not?" The homeowner asked.

"Because when it's your time, it's your time," the elderly man mused.

"You're that Kahuna that everyone talks about, right? Random people still come by here, asking for you," the homeowner stepped forward to get a closer look. "You've come to reminisce. Do you want to come in and see how everything looks now?"

"Oh, thank you, but what once was can never be again, not completely as it was," the old Kahuna mused. "I live not too far from here, but on some evenings, I just feel the need to walk. It helps me think,"

"At least, do me the honor of coming into the garage; it would mean a lot if you'd join me in some hot tea," the homeowner introduced himself. "I'm Mark,"

The two men sat in the garage, sharing hot tea with a drop or two of whiskey. Large slices of toasted sweet bread and guava butter lay on a small plate, along with pieces of crispy bacon. They spoke well into the wee hours of the morning, sharing meaningful conversations regarding the life they both lead. One is still in its sophomore stage, the other well past its prime, with only wisdom-filled stories that may be useful to anyone willing to listen. The first rays of the sun began to peek through the house and into the garage. The old Kahuna raised himself from the chair, thanked Mark for his hospitality, and began making his way toward the opened front gate. "You were very kind to have me as a company in your home; I thank you for that,"

"We can do this as often as you'd like; I don't mind the company at all," Mark replied. "I'll leave the gate open, and I'll be in the garage,"

"In doing that, perhaps we can fill this space with a different kind of Mana, one a bit more quiet and humble. Not as bombastic, like before?" The old Kahuna suggested.

"Come back late, and we can discuss it," Marks smiled.

The old Kahuna returned every night thereafter, sharing wisdom, humor, humility, and things regarding Hawaiian spirituality. One night Mark was curious, but he did not want to be disrespectful, "Can I ask you a question?"

"Surely, you could," the old Kahuna nodded.

"How old are you?" He was very nervous about how the old Kahuna might answer.

"Would you believe me if I said one hundred and seventy-five years old?" The old Kahuna asked.

"No," Mark chuckled. 

"Then let's just say that after you die, I'll still be here,"

credit: Herb Kane


No comments:

Post a Comment