Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jul 25, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #3 Leleiwi


My stepmother Brenda and I tolerated each other for the five years she married my father.

My mother, who gave birth to me, died after swimming in a remote lake in Australia with some office friends who went traveling together on a work vacation. My mom was the only one who jumped in the lake while everyone else hesitated. What she didn't know was that there were brain-eating parasites in the lake that entered through her ears. She was dead in less than twenty-four hours. The funeral home was packed with friends, workmates, and well-wishers. My father was not so kind to my mom's office friends; he asked them to leave. They dared to say they had more right to be there than my father. That is when my father found out that my mother had told her friends that their marriage had now become an agreement to stay together until I got old enough, and then she would leave.

My dad was clueless and had no idea that this was happening. One of Mom's workmates was Ray Davis, who, on that fateful day at the lake down under, encouraged my mom to jump in said lake, after which he promised to jump in her lake once they returned to the hotel. Yes, everyone at the office knew about this open affair between Ray and Mom and did nothing to stop it but instead treated Ray as if he were the husband. Lots of drama at McKinely Mortuary on Pauoa. Incidentally, Dad kicked Ray's ass up and down the parking lot. That way, the mortician couldn't charge him for damages because the ass whuppin' didn't happen in the funeral home. As this tale goes, my father suffered unfairly for a while, trying to reconcile and figure out what he might have done to make mom do such a thing? When Dad talked to Aunty Dara, Mom's sister, it turned out Mom hadn't been happy for a while. Her life wasn't what she thought it would be, and she never expected to get pregnant and have a child. She felt trapped like she didn't get the chance she deserved to have the life she wanted. That's when she met Ray at work, and things escalated. Aunty Dara apologized to Dad for not telling him what was happening because she figured mom would. 

"I mean, she promised she would," Aunty Dara began. "I guess she never did; otherwise, I was ready to tell you myself." She felt horrible for not doing the right thing. 

"I might have stood a fighting chance if you did," Dad said. "But you didn't; I understand this blood being thicker than water and everything, but you never considered my son at the very least and how this would affect him,"

"Are you shitting me?" Aunty Dara shot back. "I love Kama Boy, I would never hurt him!"

"Too late." Dad walked away and never spoke to Aunty Dara again. 


My father, Namolokama Keawe Sr., died at age fifty-five. Thankfully, he went in his sleep when the aneurysm got him. I was the one who found him that way when Brenda asked me to go wake him after he didn't come to the table for breakfast. I'll save you all the drama and tell you that at Hawaiian Memorial Cemetary, Dad was buried next to my Tutu Wahine and Tutu Kane. When it was all said and done, and his body was committed to earth from whence we all came, I decided to walk over to my mom's grave and say hello. Malory Escalante Namolokama. Born November 4, 1967. Died because she couldn't see what she was doing to her family, so an Australian parasite ate her brain. I could feel someone walking up behind me and then touching my shoulders. It was Brenda, trying to take this moment to bond. I was repulsed and pulled away, practically spitting at her feet before I stormed off. How dare she try to intrude on this private moment between me and my mother? Very much the same way she infringes on everything, like how she intruded herself into my father's life, promising to heal him from all the hurt of his first marriage. All she did was try to drive a wedge between me and my father. In front of him, she pretended to be my best friend, and I liked pretending too. Privately, we hated each other but agreed to be civil for my father's sake. Let's just say they met at a bar, and the next thing I knew, she and her French bulldog from a previous relationship moved in. His name is Leleiwi because the little turd jumps from furniture to floor and chair. In his first week living with us, Leleiwi killed two of my pet hens. He couldn't kill the roosters cause they clawed and pecked the shit out of him. I thought it was just deserts, considering he ended up like a bloody pin-cushion. Brenda cried to my father, demanding I get rid of my roosters. It was the first and last time I ever swore before my father. 

"Fuck that! And fuck her!" Dad punched my lights out. When I came to, all I said was something to the effect of him always choosing the shittiest women to sleep with, and everything went dark.

Everyone came back to the house for food and refreshments after the services. Brenda expertly played the grieving widow while I made myself scarce and sat in my dad's old sixty-seven Impala, trying to conjure him to come back for one last drive. A week passed, and I had changed out of my suit from the funeral; I slept in it, ate, showered, and wore it again. This irrational thing in my mind told me I'd forget my father if I changed out of it. So I wore the black suit everywhere. Two weeks later, I sat on a lawn chair in front of the garage, just chillin'. Brenda appeared dressed in her capri pants and dungaree top with her hair tied up in a red handkerchief. She had a small sand bucket and two garden shovels and began upending the dirt near the edge of the garage.

"If you're not gonna change out of that stupid suit, you could at least come over here and help me dig up this dirt so I can plant your father's favorite cherry tomatoes," she barked.

"For what? He's dead, he can't enjoy it anyway," I scoffed.

"Listen, you little fucking shit ass! Your father, my husband, is gone; that's a fact! This means you're old enough to be on your own, which means I am no longer fucking responsible for you! So if you don't wanna be thrown out on your ass, then get over here and help me plant these fucking cherry tomatoes!" Her beady little eyes were bulging, and her face was red hot. All her freckles stood out, and the Irish side of her Korean half was in full form. 

"Alright," I replied. "No need to blow a gasket and give yourself a hernia, let me go get a bigger shovel. The ones you got are too small for my hands."

From one in the afternoon to six in the evening, I helped Brenda plant her garden of cherry tomatoes in tribute to my father. After it was over, we went into the house to shower and clean up. I finally changed out of my black suit and took it to the cleaners. I'd finally let go of that part of my father. Eventually, I moved out and found a place in town, right on the edge of Manoa. Brenda passed away, and somehow my aunty Dara came into ownership of Leleiwi. One night, as Aunty Dara came home from work and opened the door, Leleiwi ran out. No one could find him, neither Aunty Dara nor the humane society. Flyers were posted around the neighborhood and online, no luck. Then, suddenly, he was on the front porch of Aunty Dara's house one night, covered in blackened dirt from face to tail. Which is why my aunty Dara then called me on the phone.

"Kama Boy, Leleiwi is here on my front porch,"

"Oh, he came home?" I was surprised.

"Yes," she said very slowly. "And he's got a skeletal hand in his mouth. I wonder where the hell that could have come from?"

"I wonder?" I affected dramatically. " I wonder?"

Photo credit: @teerawut111

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