Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Dec 16, 2022

That Day 2022 Part 3

I can't recall what we ate that night at Kenny's, but whatever it was, it was secondary to the conversation Debbie and I shared over that late dinner. I shared that I'd been raised as an only child my entire life, and at this point, with my parents being long gone, perhaps it was time to meet someone. Debbie said she had a lot of friends who might be interested, but I assured her that it would be easier for me to meet someone on my own. "Why? You think my friends are not good enough for you?" She asked.

"It's the other way around," I assured her. "If your friends are anything like you, then they're already too good for me,"

"Oh, you so sweet," she laughed.

"I should meet someone at my level," I said. 

"You know what?" Debbie put her fork down, removed a pen from her purse, and began scribbling something down on a napkin. "This is the schedule for my dance class; why you no come on your night off and just jump in and learn?"

"How much do you charge?" I asked.

"The first two classes are free," she said. "If you don't like it, no problem. But if you do, then you start paying. Up to you; plus get plenty nice ladies that come to the class, so maybe you might meet somebody and maybe you might not,"

"You know what I should do since I have money saved up," I told her. "I should get a car; if I meet somebody in your class and we go on a date, I can't take her on the bus. That's embarrassing. I mean, it's just been me by myself up until now, and I don't mind catching the bus, but wow, I really have to change my routine, I guess?"

"Ok," Debbie laughed. "No, think too much; first things first. Get the car, then see if you like my dance class," she held up her cup of Pepsi, and I held up my glass of water, and we toasted. " Here's to meeting someone on the level you get to,"

I got myself a used Lexus. Those cars are nice, well-maintained, and have a high resale value, but this one was worth it. It was stylish but not outlandish. I didn't realize what I was getting myself into when I took Debbie's dance class. It was beginning ballroom dancing which wasn't that difficult, but her main thing was Tango and Salsa. Unfortunately, many of the women in Debbie's classes were my mother's age or women who were approaching middle age and trying to stop time from advancing the lines and wrinkles on their bodies. They were also rich and lonely. Their gay friends were their dance partners. A few had straight male dance partners whose hairstyles were one big comb over. I kept a distance from them and mainly stood at the back of the Tango and Salsa classes, trying to get the steps down on my own. I had no shame in telling anyone that I was the building maintenance man when I wasn't burning the dance floor on Wednesday and Friday evenings. Some, by their body language, felt that having me there was beneath them and questioned Debbie as to why she let me be a part of the class?

"Cause it's my class," she'd tell them. "No one tells me who I can and cannot teach! You no like it? No come back!"

It was a special Saturday class at the end of the year where everyone brought potluck. When the meal was done, Debbie had all of us move the tables and chairs to one side so that the floor was clear to dance on. That's what we did; we just danced while Debbie played the music. When it was over, and everyone said their goodbyes, I stayed back to help clean up. "No need do that," she shoed me away from the broom. "I gotta go to this thing downtown, but I going leave my car here. You think you can drive me? We can come back and clean up after,"

"Uh, sure; where are we going?" Her excitement rubbed off on me, and I didn't even know what I was excited about.

"It's this Chinese restaurant place on Maunakea street, it's the second floor of this old building, and nobody knows it's there," Debbie explained. "Once a month, they clear away all the tables and have a dance contest. It's always a different theme; tonight is Flamenco! The top prize is one thousand dollars, so I going try if I win 'um das good, if not, second place is five hundred dollars, and third place is three hundred! What you think?"

"Let's go!" We were in my car, and we were off! I didn't even know what Flamenco was.

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