Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 13, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #53. Hauola Pt. 6.

More often than not, and more often than I cared, Dominic Watase appeared in Leipili's glass-enclosed cubicle, nodding with every word he said.

Eyes bulging, veins popping out of his neck, finger pointing erratically in no particular direction. He aimed to dumb Leipilli down and shrink her under the yoke of his overbearing micro-penis energy. Her whole name is Leipilialoha, which means the Lei Of Intimate Aloha. Don't let the beautifully ornate name fool you; Lei was not a pushover. As beautiful and kind as she was, she could also be lava erupting from the volcano if you pushed the wrong buttons. Initially, I thought Leipili was the supervisor of this program, but with the state and city, every supervisor has a higher-ranking supervisor they answer to. Dominic Watase was Leipili's 

"So, when will we see some results from this thing? They learning hula and have to heal. We gonna see them dance or something, or is it all half-ass kine?" Dominic demanded.

"Of course, there's going to be a performance. That's the whole purpose of it; you guys get to see the result," Lei retorted. 

"I hope you keeping track of everything on paper and you covering your ass; it's gonna be too bad if this whole thing fails cause all that is gonna be your fault," he pointed randomly while his head bobbed with each word.

"Well, Dominic, at least you stab me in the back to my face. I have to respect you for that, and to be fair, since you're being so upfront, get the fuck out of my office!" Leipili crowded him, so he had no choice but to leave.

"People from my office going be stopping by occasionally to sit in and see what kine progress get. Then they going report back to me; I hope it's all good reports, Lei,"  he said as he walked away. What a fucking asshole, but I have to give Lei credit; she never backed down once. Ugh, here he comes, walking in my direction. I don't look at him but busy myself with my phone. He slaps me on my shoulder with one hand and sticks the other in my face, so I have no choice but to take it in mine. We shake as he introduces himself. Again, someone else is in my personal space without asking my permission.

"Eh, Lei told me you, not one mahu, das true or what?" He bellowed. "Normally, all da male kumu dey mahu, you no see too much regular kine braddahs teaching hula. I gotta worry, or what with you teaching these kine women?"

"That's why I have Leipili with me for all the classes," I countered. "You know, liability and all that,"

"Whatevah, just so you know, I no believe in this program. I mean, come on, how dey going heal all that shit that when happen to them through hula? Waste money and waste time," his samurai tailgate party, U.H. game attending, lifted Tacoma attitude began grating on my nerves. 

"I don't believe in assholes," I said, standing up from my chair and ensuring we were face to face. "Yet, here you are." I didn't see where she came from, but Leipili suddenly inserted herself between us like a square peg in a round circle. 

"Apologize right now, Kalani," Lei's demand was unreasonable. "Say you're sorry, and apologize! No matter what you think of him, he's still my supervisor, and I will not let you disrespect him. Apologize, now!"

I apologized and kept my eyes locked on his, never once blinking so that he got the message. "I let my temper get the better of me and overstepped my boundaries. I'm sorry,"

"You can be sorry now, or we can meet inside the municipal parking lot aftah. We can go, brah, whenevah you ready," Dominic and I would have been right up in each other's faces if Leipili wasn't between us.

"Don't be a prick, Dominic," Lei growled at him. "Kalani is my kumu hula and is well respected in the community. You apologize, too, for calling him Mahu; otherwise, that's defamation of character!"

"Sorry for calling you Mahu," Dominic growled.

"He who cries the loudest," I said as I picked up my chair, walked across the room where I sat, and scrolled through my phone.

"Get out," Lei was up in her supervisor's face. He turned and left without a problem. Before Leipili could unload, I cut her off like usual.

"I'm sorry I almost cost you your job," putting my phone away.

"You're damned fucking right you did! I had to save face in front of him and kiss his ass by making you apologize! Don't ever put me in that fucking position again, do you understand? I hate that fucking asshole, and he is doing everything he can to ensure this program fails! So, don't add to the problem! Do you understand?!" She stormed back to her office and slammed the door.

"Did I hear him correctly?" I said while peeking in through her door after cracking it open. "There's supposed to be a ho'ike at the end of this thing?"

"Yes," she sighed.

"When?" My fault. I should have asked from the beginning. 

"At the end of the year," she turned to me in her chair. "They're supposed to be presented showcasing the hula they learned and a prepared speech regarding how your teachings helped them heal through their trauma. But, if you keep doing stupid shit like you did, none of that will happen, and like he said, the program will be shut down. I know there's shit between you and me, but this is my job, and this program was my way to finally heal from Hauola's death. Maybe you can heal too, I don't know. I could have even created this program subconsciously, not knowing that this was what I needed, and maybe all those other kumu hula were supposed to reject this project so that you could be the one to teach it? I don't fucking know, but I need you to be all in."


True to his word, Dominic sent people from his department to sit in on the hula sessions. In the beginning, they'd show up randomly and identify themselves as being from Dominic's office, and then they'd sit in the front and observe with a smile and much enthusiasm. Other times, different people from his office would show up without saying a word and sit there stoically as if it were the end of the world. It irritated me to no end. So, one night, three ladies from Dominic's department showed up after what they said was a brutal twenty-minute walk through Kahala Mall. They wore matching tracksuits and told me they nearly forgot that tonight's visit was on their schedule and that they needed to report back to Dominic in the morning. "Since the three of you are here, why don't you join us? We'll go through the bare hula basics tonight. Nothing strenuous, just for you." Turning to the class, I said, "Let's begin, ladies," the five of them, including Leipili, walked up in front of me and lined up. Our three visitors positioned themselves at the very back of the line. The three ladies did not know what to make of it initially, but in the following minutes, they understood completely. The next day, Leipili showed me an email from Dominic's department. The three ladies from the night before said the hula session was great, but more so was the meditative session after, where everyone went around the circle and, in a small way, talked about what needed to be forgiven today to move on to the next day. In the email, they said what brought them to tears was to think of someone today who needs to hear from us that we love them. 

"A lot of times, we have to forgive ourselves, and we have to hear that we love ourselves too," I said the night before.

The three ladies intimated that if this is how the hula sessions are conducted, there is no reason it shouldn't succeed. As a result of that email, Dominic sent more people to nitpick than to observe. To them, I also said, "Jump in line, then tell me how you feel. Otherwise, sit there and be quiet."

Dominic was there the next day, hollering and threatening as usual. I did the smart thing and walked out; that way, there wouldn't have to be any confrontations. When I got back, I got a text from Leipili that she clocked out early and would join us later in the evening for class. I sat there going over the first official hula the ladies would learn, 'Kawika,'

I don't know when I fell asleep, but I did. In the depths of my slumber, I dreamt that Hauola was here, looking around the space, giving it the once over. She examined every nook and cranny until she finally walked over to me and sat at my feet like she used to. "What do you think?" I asked her. "Does it pass the inspection?"

"Hmmm, for what it is, being in a basement and all, it does what it's supposed to do for whatever they use it for," she shrugged.

"Your mama is dancing again," I nodded. "Right here, right in this space,"

"You two need to forgive each other; that's the only way this program will succeed. The two of you talk about healing to those ladies, but they can all see that you and Mama need just as much healing as they do, Kumu," She looked up at me with that same trusting face as she always did. I had no reply. She scooted closer until her hands were on the top of my feet. "I forgive you, even though there's nothing to forgive. I'll go and forgive my Mama, too, so please stop torturing yourself."

When I awoke, the ladies were warming up and practicing independently. "You looked so peaceful sleeping there; we didn't want to wake you up," Lueka said.

"We just started warming up on our own," Epi looked at Lanai. 

"I even started writing you an apology text, which is really to me, but it also has you tagged in it so you can understand why," Lanai was sheepish, but she got it out. "Why, I told those stories."

Free spoke up as well, "The last thing I thought I'd ever be doing is hula, but I like it,"

Malia was unusually quiet. Normally, she's the vivacious center of attention, which could mean she has the most trauma. She began crying and had to look away and put her face down, but before she could explain why she was so emotional, Leipili walked in and went straight to her. 

"Did this person tell you, already?" She asked while glaring at Malia.

"Tell us what?" I answered.

"Oh, she didn't," Leipili nodded. "Should I tell them, or do you want to tell them?" be continued

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