Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 29, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #38 Raynelle

 An encounter with a spirit came to Norman Reifsnyder in a dream that was so vivid that when he woke up, he could still smell the personal musk of that spirit on the sheets and pillows.

Scared before his emotions took over, Norman called me and asked if we could meet at the Zippy's restaurant on McCully. Over a Zip-min and Ox-tail soup, Norman shared with me the tale of his first love when he was new to 'O'ahu. Her name was Raynelle Gambio. Norman met her in a church along with her mother, Grace. The two rode the bus from Makaha to town thrice weekly to attend church. Norman was friendly enough to ride them home when he found this out. Out of gratitude, Grace invited Norman to stay for dinner, and that is when he and Raynelle got to know each other. Raynelle and her mother lived on the beach, so after a humble meal, she invited Norman to join her for a stroll on the beach so they could both walk off the fulfilling dinner. With the intoxication of the moon high above in the night sky and the languid motion of the waters moving up the sand and back, Norman and Raynelle were soon in each other's arms. In a month, Raynelle moved between her home in Makaha and Norman's one-bedroom studio off Wilder Avenue. Grace liked Norman, but as gently as she could, she asked Norman to be cautious with her daughter as she could see spirits. They never openly discussed it because they were unsure how people would take it.

"When spirits are around, it looks like Raynelle is having an epileptic spell, but really, she's channeling a spirit who will speak through her," Grace cautioned. Norman thought that she was joking until he realized she wasn't. It skips a generation. My mother had it, but it bypassed me and went to Raynelle."

"Is there anything I can do to help her?" Norman. 

"Just understand and support her," Grace said. 

A month later, Norman was prepared when Raynelle had her spell during dinner and Makino Chaya. He got up from his chair, walked over to where Raynelle sat and rubbed her shoulders until the trauma passed. "That was the entire of your relationship?" I asked. "It was made up of trying to do normal things with your girlfriend, and then all that other stuff happens?"

"Well," Norman began. "There was one thing that Grace either left out or forgot. A lot of these seizures Raynelle had were really intense. Each time it happened, it would take something from her. Mainly her memory. We'd be talking about something, and then a minute later, she'd ask me about the very thing we just discussed. I'd answer her question, and she'd nod and say, 'OK.' A minute after that, she'd ask me the same question. It went on like that until I had to break it off. I was in my twenties; I was young and foolish. I didn't have the foresight or patience to stick it out. She was heartbroken. Grace hardly said hello to me in church after that. Raynelle eventually forgot who I was."

"So, the dream you had last night?" I asked. "It was about Raynelle?"

"We were at Poka'i Bay, standing in the water. That's where she always went for an afternoon swim because it was calm, not like Makaha, always rough," Norman said while eating his Zip-Min-like spaghetti. "I told her I was sorry I broke up with her, and she should come with me so we could get married, have kids, and be a family."

"I have to go for my swim," she told me. "Things happen for a reason; I don't want you to get back with me and marry me out of guilt or loneliness. I want you to be happy no matter where you're at in life." 

"She stood on her tiptoes and kissed me like she always did. Then, she went for her swim," Norman appeared to be staring at his soup, but really, the memory of what happened in his dream distracted him. "I woke from the dream and smelled Raynelle on the sheets and pillow cover. She was there, Dave; she was absolutely there," he cried quietly. The tears filled his eyes slowly, and heavy drops slid down his cheeks.

"Did you call her to tell her about your dream?" I asked. "If you didn't, you should,"

"No, her mother called me not five minutes after I was awake," Norman said. "Grace said it was her personal belief that Raynelle had a spirit communicate with her during her swim at Poka'i Bay. She must have had a seizure, which is why people who were taking a walk on the beach saw her body floating on the water,"

I was floored and very much afraid, but I cried as well. That's how me and my best friend spent most of our meal together, just crying. 

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