Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Dec 9, 2022

Uliuli 2022

We were so happy when we bought the house on Kīlauea in Kaimuki.

It's just what we needed after my wife's miscarriage. New place, new surroundings, a new beginning. We'd been there for a month when, on a whim, Anne suggested we go to the humane society to look around. There was no real intention of taking home a pet, but after an hour of looking at everything and everyone, Anne came across a kennel that hosted a huge pit bull. His head was huge, his short fur was dark gray, and his eyes were brown. The sign stated that he was a male, less than a year and his name was Blue. The poster also noted that Blue was hyperactive and tended to destroy things. His previous owners gave him up because he was unmanageable. Anne asked one of the helpers if she could see Blue in the private viewing section. She and I walked over to the gated spot and waited as Blue was brought in. His head was low, and his eyes were cast down. The second the gate closed behind him, he went straight to Anne and placed his chin on her lap, and that was it. The two of them were attached at the hip. Blue went everywhere that Anne went, even in the bathroom. I was the third wheel, but I didn't mind. In a way, Blue helped Anne not so much forget about the miscarriage but to refocus her grief elsewhere. In a short time, I got my wife back and, with that, a very spoiled male pit bull. His hyperactiveness and destructive nature never surfaced, but getting Blue to take a bath was a huge chore. We practically had to carry him to the tub. We had to pull him by the paws if he wriggled out of our arms. He could be such a brat, but we loved him. 

Twelve years passed, and Blue was getting on in age. He was beginning to show signs that his best years were behind him and that the end of his time was soon coming. I said nothing to Anne because I wasn't sure about how she would deal with Blue's passing. But as fate would have it, Anne passed away suddenly in her sleep one night. We kissed and said goodnight; the following day, she was gone. It was Blue's mournful howling that woke me from a dead sleep. Anne lay there cold and lifeless; if it weren't for her regular facial expression when she slept, I wouldn't have guessed she was gone.

Blue continued howling and whimpering until the M.E. came to get Anne. After that, it was a struggle to hold him back because he went for them with the intent of tearing them to pieces. I had to drag him down the hallway to the bathroom and lock him in there until everyone left. Once I let him out, he shot off like a rocket around the house, searching every corner, every nook, and cranny for Anne. It wasn't what I expected; I thought he would have gone straight to the doggie door to chase the M.E.'s vehicle. Well, wouldn't you know it? All that running around was a distraction to throw me off my game. At the end of his hyperpath of barreling over things, he went straight out the doggie door and took off into the early morning. I spent all day and night searching for Blue without success. When I finally got home around midnight, I found him sitting on the front porch. He cried most of the night, the next day, and the following week. Blue mourned for a whole month, waiting for Anne to come back.

I never put any of Anne's things away to make things easier for him. I left everything the way it was. But it only made him miss her more. So, I did the next best thing. I got another dog, a female version of Blue-in looks and temperament. Blue needed to be more forthcoming with returning the greeting given to him by his new companion. Her name was Pua, and she did everything to get Blue's attention, even though he would nip at her or hold her down by putting his mouth around the back of her neck but not biting her. The howling stopped when the old man finally warmed up to Pua and chased and frolicked with her as much as he could. He didn't sit at the foot of Anne's side of the bed, nor did he stare at her picture for long hours or roll himself around on her towels that he'd pull off the rack. He was a completely different Blue than he was after Anne passed away; it wasn't that he'd forgotten about her; it was more that Pua helped focus his grief somewhere else. When Blue finally went, it was in his sleep on his favorite pillow with Pua by his side.

No comments:

Post a Comment