Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 8, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #17. Papa Lua Pt. 3.


Marilyn fell in love with Naua at first sight and had been trying to find an effective means of communicating with my brother without luck.

Naua, with all his bluster and bellow, had fallen in love with Marilyn, too, but his past experience made him reticent to engage. So, he said nothing. Marilyn and Naua had John Marcus Tolis to thank for bringing them together. Had he not been insufferably overbearing, boorish, and misogynistic, he might never have been there to attack Marilyn, which caused Naua to come to her defense. Otherwise, the two may have spent the rest of their days suffering in silence, the one never able to express their feelings to the other. John Tolis filed assault charges against us, but the case was thrown out once the video was brought before the court, which showed John as the aggressor. Marilyn kept her job, and the wedding between her and my brother was a formality. The two were meant to be together. She meant to quit her job at the community college, but Naua encouraged her to stay there while simultaneously working part-time at the warehouse. Between our family and Marilyn's, it was a love fest. Her parents loved Naua and respected him because of how well he cared for their daughter and his show of filial piety to them. To our folks, Marilyn was the daughter they never had, and they spoiled her horribly. Even at work, they brought food for her and replaced her old Ford Taurus with a brand-new Toyota. Once Marilyn was hapai, my father moved Naua upstairs to the office, where he was made a partner. His job was to create logos and artwork for the business website and social media. All this time, Naua was a crackerjack cutting and fitting frames for the showroom. Who knew he was also a brilliant artist? I've never seen him draw anything growing up, but when I tried to show him the basics on the computer, he literally pushed me out of the way and did it all himself. We treat him so much like a regular person that we forget he's on the spectrum.

Twenty years later, Naua and Marilyn's children are old enough to work in the showroom. Well, the two older girls do. Their youngest brother makes all the frames in the back. Usually, I space out their breaks for an hour each. Nalei, the oldest, goes first. Melia is second, and Umianaua, or just Umi, goes last. However, I still need to remember that on the first Friday of the month, tickets went on sale for a concert at the Blaisdell. It was the latest and hottest Korean boy band that now reached the Americas. Their first concert was gonna premiere here in Honolulu. Their name? Redrum Casio. The boys named themselves after their two favorite things. Redrum comes from their all-time favorite movie, The Shinning. Casio comes from their grandparents' digital watches they had on, on the day they died in a tragic car accident. How's that for marketing a boy band's back story?

This meant they (the three siblings) had to go together to get the concert tickets. That left me to work the cash register, and Naua to go back to his old station and put frames together. It had been years since I had run a cash register, and I was making a mess of this digital one. For Naua, it was like riding a bike. He was back to his old rhythm. I had to call Marilyn to come from the loading dock and save my ass. She laughed at me while shooing me away before I pressed the wrong button and shut the whole system down. Naua worked in the back, fixing everything out of place, right down to the thumbtacks, staples, and post-its. 

"This boy of yours keeps his workspace the same way he keeps his room," Naua called out to Marilyn. 

"It's his organized mess, his system," Marilyn replied.

"A mess is a mess, there's nothing organized about a mess," Naua countered.

"By the way," Marilyn called out while walking to the back. "A customer out front wants a six-foot by five-foot frame to fit a photograph,"

"For what? Ask her," Naua replied.

Marilyn stuck her head back out to the showroom, where Naua heard her ask the question. Stepping back into the Naua's work area, she said, "It's for a memorial service,"

" Can you bring it back here and let me see the picture for a second," Naua asked.

Wiping the sawdust off his shirt and pants, he helped Marilyn roll out the long poster-like picture. They lay it on the workbench where they could get a better look at it. "Oh, she's beautiful," Marilyn gasped. "She looks about our age, no work on the face or dyed roots. Just so naturally beautiful,"

Ignoring his wife, Naua marched out to the showroom and found the young girl to whom the photo belonged. "Who are you?"

Marilyn followed her husband, and she had to intervene to hear him ask the question like he did. "Hun, be nice,"

The young girl wasn't sure about what was happening, but she courteously answered Naua's question, "I'm Nauakipu'upu'u, Naua for short,"

There was long pause before anyone said anything, but Marilyn was the one who finally spoke up. "Hun, isn't that your name?"

"That woman in the photograph, who is she to you?" Naua asked while already knowing the answer.

"That's my mother Rochelle, but she went by Tita when she was alive," be continued

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