Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 25, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023.#34. Olena

 Matthew was my 6th-grade student that I was always worried about.

He was the smallest in his class and hated being called on any reference to his size. It would set him off, and he started swinging fists if he wasn't scratching or biting one of his classmates. Fortunately, I ran into him at the grocery store years later. I didn't notice him right off. All I knew was that one of the managers took it upon himself to bag my vegetables, sandwich meats, and poi. He wasn't small anymore; he was six feet tall and in great shape.

"Aloha, Mr. Kalima," he was very articulate. "It's good to see you,"

"Hey, Matthew," without thinking, I hugged him. "Look at you, man, you're a manager here; that's awesome!" I stepped back, realizing how awkward this must have been for him. "I'm sorry; it's just that I'm thrilled to see how well you're doing!"

"You were a cool teacher, Mr. Kalima, and you never gave up on any of us," he handed me my bag of groceries. 

"You guys were worth it," I patted him on the shoulder. "Take care!"

Before I walked out, another name with the beautiful bright face that belonged to it came to my mind. "By the way, Matthew, whatever happened to Olena?"

"What's your phone number, Mister K? I'll text you the info," he asked while looking at his phone. I gave him my number, and he sent the text. My phone chimed, and on the text was an address. "She's at that address, better that you see it for yourself," he said. "I must return to work; seeing you again was nice!"


All the while, I prayed that the address was not a strip club or a crack house or even worse. It was a commune in the depths of Nu'uanu Valley. When I say depth, I mean deep in the valley off the beaten track. Granted, the road was paved, but it needed some maintenance. Still, I drove carefully to not hit a pothole and bust my tire and rim. I went from a road with aged trees creating a canopy over the path to a pristine clearing out of Shangrila. In the middle of it all was a sprawling mansion of a mustard and brown color. The large parking lot was empty save for one brand-new Mercedes. A lone figure sat on the arched steps leading up to the front entrance, nursing a cup of tea or coffee. It was Olena Nahulu. In my sixth-grade class, she was dark, brooding, and always emotional over something. She and Matthew looked out for one another because it seemed they were the only two in a class of twenty who understood each other. As I got closer, the look of recognition came over her face, and her arms flew up into the air, and she squealed with delight. Running down the stairs, she ran into me for a hug, which was awkward, so I gave her a slight pat on the back and let go. She did not and let the hug go on for too long. Olena had the same face, but it was mature now and marked with some life experience. 

"Are you the only person here?" I asked to get the conversation started.

"I own it," she smiled and shrugged her shoulders.

"Good for you, Olena! I'm proud of you!"

"I was married to the couple who used to own this place," Olena grabbed my arm and walked me back to the commune. "Unfortunately, they were killed in a hiking accident on Kauai. I was destroyed when I found out, but since our marriage was legal and binding, I inherited the whole thing," she dabbed tears. "Marlene and Terrance Swain, every day where I don't wake up next to them is loneliness."

"So, it's a commune that you own?" I asked.

"It was when Marlene and Terrance owned it, but come, let me show what I've done," She skipped and had me follow her, her arms still wrapped around mine. Walking through the vast hallway of the sprawling mansion, Olena led me out to the back of the property. What I saw was breathtaking. As far as I could see, it was all lo'i kalo or taro patches. "The best day at school was when you took us on a field trip to the lo'i kalo your aunt owned in Hau'ula. I never forgot how being in that mud renewed and re-rejuvenated me. When my wife and husband passed, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with this place; I converted the whole property to lo'i kalo. Let me take you to the kitchen; you have to try our poi!" be continued

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