The Diplomat's Daughter by Karin Tanabe


The Diplomat's Daughter by Karin Tanabe

Author:Karin Tanabe
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Washington Square Press


CHAPTER 20

EMI KATO

SEPTEMBER–NOVEMBER 1943

She hadn’t thought of it before she let her mind wander back to Vienna, but Hani Hartmann looked quite a lot like Christian’s bereaved mother, Helene. They both had striking red hair—Helene’s straight and Hani’s a bit darker and curled—though Emi had never been sure if those curls, or the color, were natural or not. They had freckles that made intricate constellations on their arms and were both mothers to only one son. She hoped that Hani Hartmann had not spent the last few months covering her freckles with tears, as Helene was likely still doing as she sat by her window looking out at Crystal City.

There wasn’t, thought Emi, a soul with russet-colored freckles on the MS Gripsholm, except perhaps the captain, but Emi hadn’t seen him yet. He was busy navigating their immense vessel straight down the Atlantic coast toward South America.

Emi turned around at the railing and looked at the people on the deck with her instead of out at the ocean. They were all ethnically Japanese. Emi realized that she wasn’t used to that kind of homogeneity anymore. Even in the internment camps, the populations had been mixed. Now she was headed back to a country that was filled with Emikos and Keikos; there would be no Christian Langes or Leo Hartmanns. How strange, she thought to herself, to have been involved only with foreign men. Chiyo’s gossip down in the cabin was still eating at her, but if she could blame anyone, she thought, it should be her father. She hadn’t asked to be dragged all over the world. There were no Japanese boys for her to fall in love with in Vienna, and in that city, you had to fall in love with someone. It was too beautiful to waste, especially for the young.

Though the first night on board the Gripsholm went smoothly, despite the small cabin and the poor company, the water turned choppy as soon as dawn broke over the horizon on their second day at sea. The Swedish crew members came around to each little room handing the passengers big bars of chocolate, which they said had been reserved as a surprise for when they reached their halfway point in the voyage but were being handed out now instead, as they had rough days ahead. The passengers were advised not to eat the chocolate yet, to wait until the water was calm and there was less danger of seasickness, but Emi unwrapped hers and devoured every morsel in big, starving bites. She hoped the sugar would help settle her stomach, which was starting to feel like a mixing bowl. Emi was well-versed in seasickness from her many long boat trips, but some of the Nisei children, who had never traveled on a boat for such a distance or on one that size, did everything wrong, eating too much and staying in their cabins instead of going up to the deck to breathe the cold sea air.

The weather turned



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