Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 16, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #56. Hauola Epilogue.

 At the end of a hula, be it kahiko or auana, you will hear 'ha'ina ia mai ana ka pu ana.'

It means that the hula or the mele Hawai'i has come to its conclusion, but they will repeat it once more so that you know this is the end. When Kiki and Tutua returned, it appeared to be a miracle because the two animals hadn't aged a bit. They appeared when Hauola was born and then left after Hauola passed. Naturally, Leipili and I expected Hauola to also appear, but she did not. Not in the way we expected, anyway. Papa Hula continued on, and we acquired a few new members. We performed at social functions and other places, such as Lanai's wedding, where she danced 'Ei nei' for her new husband. The lead in song was Ho'onanea, but the second it transitioned to her wedding dance, Lanai's hula sisters gracefully danced off while she alone held the spotlight. She'd come a long way, Lanai. These days, when we do have public performances, she is our soloist. Believe me, she holds the audience rapt with attention, eating from her hula fingers, hanging on her every motion while simultaneously giving her hula sisters time to change into their outfits for the following number. I can't count how many times people call for the hana hou. Whenever I receive last-minute requests for a hula at some function, I always grab Lanai first if she's available. Usually, she is. 

Free became our administrative assistant for the halau; along the way, she became very adept at lei-making and sewing costumes. I don't know where we'd be without her. So, of course, when we dance, she has a special spot on the stage, which she really didn't want, but if the kumu says so, then it shall be done. Her girlfriend, Mina, also joined the halau and is doing well in hula and their relationship. 

If Lanai was our soloist, then Epi was our songstress who sang with me and Leipili and played her own 'ukulele. What a voice, and what emotion she puts behind it. She also gave us many tips on the voice, which improved our chanting and singing. 

Malia and Lueka were partners in crime regarding hula, and I mean that in a good way. They helped Free with sewing costumes and leis that it became like an assembly line, which, up until today, is very productive. Did these three win Lei contests all the time? Yes, all the time.

As for Leipilialoha, who kept the Taketa last name for Hauola, then went back to Kapihe after Hauola passed away, it was time for her to begin her journey to 'uniki. That is her journey to become a Kumu Hula. When I brought the idea before her, she cried for what must have been an hour, as did I, right along with her. 

"My plan, when the time had presented itself, was to 'uniki the both of you simultaneously. The time has come again, but it's only you now, Lei. If you accept and can complete your journey and become a Kumu Hula, this halau will be yours. It's only right since it's named after Hauola. We always waited for a sign that she was with us somehow, but she's been here all along," I told her.

"Yes, she has," Leipili agreed. "Those ladies, this space, Kiki, and Tutua? That's her; we just never really saw it until now."

"When you puka, so will she," here I was again, crying ugly with the only person I could ever cry ugly with. I was safe with her; she never betrayed me. She initially wanted to kill me but remained loyal to our friendship for years. Leipili's journey was a formality. She already knew everything she needed; she just never realized she had all the tools to get her to the level of Kumu. She was given the 'ailolo ceremony, and then she danced every kahiko she knew, along with the auana. She presented all of her chants and implement performances. Her Lei and other adornments were flawless; everyone agreed she was ready. At midnight, in front myself, her hula sisters, 'olohe, and hula kupuna, Leipili Kaphie was given the kihei and lei hulu and became the sole Kumu of Halau Hula 'O Hauola. Of course, it goes without saying that Kiki and Tutua were in attendance too. A month to the day, after Leipili's 'uniki. Tutua began to slow down significantly. He could only walk a few steps and hardly took food and water. One day, Tutua groaned loudly and then lay on his side, where he passed away peacefully. The next day, Kiki, who normally perched on Tutua's back, was found lying lifeless on the mound of dirt covering Tutua's burial spot. It is strange how life is when it transitions to die so that other life can begin anew.

"Kumu, how come you never asked Leipili to marry you?" Lanai asked one day before hula. "It's obvious to everyone that you two love each other. Why not take the next step?"

I laughed and waved her off. "She already has her hands full with Malia and Lueka living in her house. The last thing she needs is another burden. Besides, you don't try to fix or re-invent things when things are perfectly in place. You leave it the way it is, unspoiled and beautiful."

So, at the end of this story, I say to you, ha'ina ia mai ana ka pu ana. The tale has come to its conclusion; let the refrain tell you again of this story of Hauola, the dew of life, and the people she loved and left only in the flesh but always, always remained in spirit.

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