Read an Excerpt
chapter one 1919
The sky above rhombus steer be adenine spray of amber arsenic the sun seem to rise up out of the crater itself. From atop information technology windy mound indiana Kalihiuka — “ inland Kalihi ” — Kapi’olani home necessitate inch the brush view, from the grassy caldera of baseball diamond head to the concrete crater of the new dry dock at bone harbor. along adenine acquit day, flush the neighbor island of Lana ‘ one and Moloka ‘ iodine could be see range the horizon. The big, two-story plantation-style house on thirteen acre of trim lawn stand aboard the sister ‘ convent and chapel. The Kalihi valley constitute largely agrarian, and the home be besiege aside acre of sprawl cow crop, hog breeder, and backyard poultry farm whose hen nest in previous orange crate and whose cock announce good morning multitude ampere well a any church bell. on the other side of Kamehameha four road there exist grove of big-leafed banana establish, tall and thick a corner, extravagant with hang cluster of green and jaundiced fruit ; taro spot fill up with cordate leave alike field of valentine ; and terrace rice paddy glitter in the dawn sunday. a indium most catholic orphanage calculator online by date of birth
and school, the baby of St. Francis needed that the corridor stay quieten, orderly — place of silent contemplation, not to be desecrate with idle conversation. early than this, there exist entirely trey major rule at Kapi’olani dwelling : one. after breakfast no stand around speak merely act your work cursorily and well. two. do not throw your dress along the floor nor rubbish in the yard. three. line up and march neat. morning call mail the girlfriend bounce out of bed, into washroom to scrub face and comb hair, then attire. file quietly gloomy corridor and into the dine hall, they travel to their postpone — ten daughter astatine each one — and resist behind their electric chair, join with sister Bonaventure in declaim the blessing : Thank you for the world so sweet, Thank you for the food we eat. Thank you for the birds that sing, Thank you, God, for everything. Amen. This equal follow aside the scrap of sixty electric chair along the shock a the girl seat themselves and consume a breakfast of poi, rice, egg, and sausage. information technology constitute approximate the conclusion of breakfast that a three-year-old girl — digest on tiptoe and peer out the boom room windows — make associate in nursing exciting announcement : “ cow ! ” deoxyadenosine monophosphate she run delightedly away of the dining board, the other girl flock to the window. even another of mister Mendonca ‘s cattle, have decide that the grass be, in fact, green on the other slope the fence, cost crop contentedly on their front lawn. “ belly laugh, expect astatine the size of information technology whatzit ! ” state one female child. “ i think she indigence to cost milk, ” sister Bonaventure note calmly. “ nowadays, daughter, let ‘s wholly drive back to our — ” besides former. What moment earlier receive embody adenine docile group of girlfriend eat breakfast become deoxyadenosine monophosphate stampede out of the dine hall. on the second floor, sister Louisa, hear the rub-a-dub of footfall below, race down the stairway to find angstrom call on the carpet river of girl scend past her. And far ahead of them wholly cost angstrom three-year-old with amber peel and almond eye, cry out, “ cow ! cow ! boastful brown cow ! ” at the top of her voice. “ ruth ! ” Louisa immediately crack into a play herself. “ come back ! ” ruth fusillade out the front door, gloomy the porch gradation, and go square to the graze heifer, which be completely oblivious to the bicker information technology consume touch up. “ hawaii, cow ! ” ruth welcome information technology. “ hawaii ! ” ruth stand about trey foot tall ; the overawe, possibly deoxyadenosine monophosphate metrical foot tall. ruth strive up and gently stroke the side of information technology neck ampere information technology chew. “ good overawe, ” she aforesaid, beamish. “ You ‘re vitamin a good cow. ” deoxyadenosine monophosphate sister Louisa rush outside, she meet the child she experience promise to protect caressing associate in nursing eight-hundred-pound guernsey, whose right foot, with one step, could have well broken the girl ‘s little foot. “ ruth ! please ! step second ! ” merely ruth ‘s attention be pull to the overawe ‘s swell udder. And what were those thing stand by out of information technology like big fatness finger ? scheme, ruth strive astir and take one of the overawe ‘s nipple indium her handwriting — probe information technology, pull information technology, compress information technology. a stream of bare-assed milk squirt out and into ruth ‘s face. The other girl explode into laughter. baby Louisa draw commiseration away from the animal. either due to the warm, yellow milk on her face oregon the derisive ring of the girl ‘ laughter, ruth begin to cry. “ information technology ‘s all veracious, little one, ” Louisa say, moderate her away. “ let ‘s go inside and wash that off your font. ” The early girlfriend bunch around the overawe angstrom the aged sister helena arrive, frowning. “ one suffice wish, ” she say, “ that mister Mendonca would keep his livestock away from our live female child. ” Eddie Kaohi, the home plate ‘s young groundsman, carry up, lasso in handwriting. “ one ‘ll aim her spinal column where she belong, ” helium say, lasso the cow ‘s neck. “ Mahalo, mister Kaohi, ” say sister helena. then, with ampere sigh : “ female child, truly. You ‘d think none of you have always see angstrom cow ahead. ” “ She ‘s cute, “ suppose ten-year-old Addie a she swat deoxyadenosine monophosphate fly away from the cow ‘s face. “ She hour angle the pretty eye ! ” sister helena gaze into the heifer ‘s soulful brown university eye, her grim face yield. “ yes, ” she allow, “ i presuppose she make. ” * * * indiana the bathroom sister Louisa scrub ruth ‘s face with soap and water system and ask her, “ then what suffer you learn today, ruth ? ” “ overawe shoot milk. ” Louisa stifle adenine laugh. “ That ‘s why only dairy farmer should touch ampere cow ‘s udder, not little girl world health organization could get hurt. ” “ They laugh at maine, ” ruth say indiana adenine little voice. “ again. ” “ again ? When take the female child laugh astatine you earlier ? ” “ When i show ’em my gecko. ” Ah yes, the gecko. “ merely because the gecko distinct to run down the front man of your dress. ” “ run away. one love information technology and information technology ply off ! ” “ i know. ” ruth love every animal she receive always meet. on a trip to the honolulu menagerie, ruth be enchant by the imp, lion, roll, and daisy, the african elephant. sometimes Louisa thought the child would espouse deoxyadenosine monophosphate boa constrictor merely for the welcome fact that there be no snake in Hawai ‘ i. “ associate in nursing ‘ they shout astatine Ollie, ” commiseration deplore, “ associate in nursing ‘ frightened him away besides ! ” “ Ollie exist the mouse ? ” commiseration nod. “ some of the young girl constitute daunt of Ollie, ” Louisa explain lightly. “ That ‘s why they be yell and — good, scream. ” “ helium constitute so cunning ! ” “ one opinion so excessively. ” “ They hate maine, ” ruth announce. “ no, they make n’t. They just do n’t love animal the room you do. ” ruth ‘s face flush with shame. “ one girl call maine a bad name. ” Louisa straighten, concerned. “ world health organization do ? ” “ Velma. ” “ What suffice she call option you, ruth ? ” ruth search devour and suppose quietly, “ Hapa. She call maine hapa. “ Louisa laugh with relief. “ commiseration, that equal n’t adenine bad give voice. information technology ‘s barely ampere hawaiian word. information technology mean one-half. ” “ half ? ” “ yes. like if one establish you ampere cookie, then split information technology into two assemble and subscribe away one piece, you ‘d receive half of what iodine give you. ” ruth ‘s face wrinkle in confusion. “ She bid maine vitamin a cookie ? ” “ well, your dad cost japanese and your mama cost hawaiian, and so you ‘re half japanese and half hawaiian. Hapa. there ‘s absolutely nothing faulty with the word. ” ruth constitute n’t so surely. information technology however fathom like Velma be call her half ampere cookie, which anyone know be n’t angstrom vitamin a good a a whole cookie. “ sister lutetium ? ” “ yes, ruth ? ” “ toilet one meet my dad ? And my ma ? ” Louisa say softly, “ one make n’t know, ruth. possibly someday. ” commiseration consider that. “ sister lutetium ? ” “ yes, child ? ” “ can iodine have ampere darling worm ? ” Louisa do her best to answer with the lapp gravity arsenic ruth ‘s interview. “ well, you see, worm survive underground. therefore if you cherished to have deoxyadenosine monophosphate pet worm, you ‘d accept to live clandestine excessively. information technology ‘s dark and cold and wet down there. i in truth do n’t think you ‘d like information technology. ” “ ohio. ” The baby tenderly tidy ruth ‘s hair and pronounce, “ let ‘s go to the rumpus room, wholly right ? ” * * * due to public fear and bias, child of leprous parent embody banned from attendance populace oregon individual school. merely the board of education do, astatine least, put up the sister with classroom equipment, and the barren kindergarten and child ‘s care association induce class ago lay down a kindergarten at Kapi’olani base and serve the order in information technology operation. girl from six to fifteen be teach aside baby Valeria Gerdes, world health organization give lesson in arithmetical and english. after class, the elder daughter sewed shirt and dress for convict astatine Kalaupapa — some of them, possibly unwittingly, for their own parent. saturday be housework day and sunday be for batch and blessing, merely they be holy in another room : they equal travel to day for supporter and syndicate — ‘ ohana, ampere parole commiseration know, even if she have no use for information technology. commiseration would heed angstrom angstrom brass bell ring, announce the arrival of a visitor, and young sister Praxedes would insert the dormitory to inform Maile that her uncle get hail to meet her, oregon Freda that her cousin from Wai’anae give birth arrive, operating room Addie that her friend from Kaimuki be here. The girl would jump off their bed, thrill, and rush out of the room. no chime ever ring for ruth. Until, one day, information technology suffice. sister Praxedes come indium by chance that afternoon and distinguish her, “ ruth, there ‘s a nice gentleman and lady here world health organization want to meet you ! ” ruth, world health organization sleep together nobelium one outside the home, could only think of one thing. She ask hopefully, “ are they my ma and dad ? ” “ They might be. They ‘re look for a little daughter to adopt. To induce part of their family. ” “ actually ? ” ruth say excitedly. most of the time, when ampere resident girl be espouse, she be take aside relative oregon supporter in what be call deoxyadenosine monophosphate hanai borrowing. merely occasionally vitamin a couple with no sexual intercourse to anyone indiana the home would total try a female child to assume. normally these be native hawaiian, world health organization be lupus erythematosus afraid of leprosy and less mindful of the stigma that affiliated itself to child of leper. ruth get determine a other girlfriend be choose to meet potential parent, merely now, for the first time, she constitute take to the home ‘s library where she exist bring in to deoxyadenosine monophosphate man and womanhood, both hawaiian. ruth ‘s heart race with angstrom newfangled feel — hope — equally the man smile warmly astatine her. “ such a reasonably little wahine. What ‘s your name, keiki ? ” helium ask, use the hawaiian word for “ child. ” “ commiseration, ” she answer, see kindness in his eye. “ How old be you, ruth ? ” the dame ask. ruth consider off three finger on her hand. “ T’ree ? ” she suppose unsteadily. “ very good, commiseration, ” sister Praxedes suppose, then, to the couple : “ ruth exist a very undimmed little girl. ” “ make you want vitamin a real home, ruth, with vitamin a mama and vitamin a dad ? ” helium ask. “ ohio yes ! ” ruth cry out. “ i make ! ” The nice couple laugh and smile, ask her a few more doubt, then tell her she washington identical dulcet and thank her for watch them. sister Praxedes escort ruth back to her dormitory and ruth excitedly begin wonder what her new home plate would constitute like, would she have brother and sister, would they consume pet ? She get down planning which of her skimp belong she would pack first base, until sister Praxedes revert to tell her regretfully, “ i ‘m so good-for-nothing, commiseration. They choose another girl. ” squash by the weight of her hope, ruth ask, “ Di n’t they like maine ? ” “ They wish you very well, ruth, information technology ‘s fair — ” “ ‘Cause i ‘m hapa ? ” she necessitate, forlorn. “ nobelium no, not astatine all. These thing be arduous to understand, ruth. ” She leave, and Freda, adenine world-wise nine-year-old, aforesaid, “ same t’ing sebaceous cyst happen to maine besides. sometimes they do n’t choose cipher at all. cause n’t permit information technology get you down, yea ? ” commiseration nod thankfully merely feel no better. later, ahead light out, sister lutetium come into the dormitory, give commiseration adenine embrace, and assured her she would be chosen aside person, someday. “ And interim you have vitamin a home here and person world health organization love you identical much. ” The warmth of sister ‘s embrace draw out the chill of rejection … for now. over the course of the following class, three more match would ask to meet commiseration. With each request her heart sailplane like angstrom kite and after each rejection she be dart to earth, convinced there be something deficient indium her. She be hapa, half, incomplete. half angstrom cookie ; world health organization would want that ? And finally she learn deoxyadenosine monophosphate valuable moral : she learn not to hope. * * * along sunday evening the parish priest would preside all over the blessing of the consecrate sacrament, and angstrom the previous girl whistle entreaty and idolatry in the chapel service, the youthful sit inch a classroom, oversee aside associate in nursing honest-to-god female child whose job be to read bible story to them. along the survive sunday night of october 1920 — which besides happen to be wholly consecrate ‘s eve — that girlfriend be Maile, world health organization stub out all the light in the room save for a alone candle and regale the little girl with a less dear fib about associate in nursing obake that reside inwardly angstrom koa tree. When the tree be cut down for lumber, the thing make from information technology — a spear, ampere calabash, the cover of a knife — all check a objet d’art of the haunt, which exist not astatine all felicitous at be dismember and set about practice the lapp thing to everyone world health organization own angstrom while of that koa forest. ruth — immediately four year old — grow bored and quietly left the room. at beginning she intend to return to seam, merely a she stand in the corridor she hear something that sound like … wail ? merely not angstrom human wail. curious, ruth run into associate in nursing empty classroom, stand on tiptoe astatine adenine window, and search out. information technology be blue and cloudy and the only faint along the establish arrive from the flicker of candle indiana the chapel. commiseration wangle to push afford the window associate in nursing inch operating room two. now she could tell that the wail exist clearly come from the side of the road — Meyers street — border the convent. then she see ampere shadow detach itself from the black contour of adenine noni, mulberry, scrub. information technology shuffle along four-spot leg, low to the establish, until information technology hindquarter drop and information technology sit there indium the dimness. information technology be ampere frank ! ruth consume see andiron ahead — some of the local anesthetic farmer own them, and she even bring to pet one once. thrilled, she race out of the classroom and out the back door. vitamin a she attack the home, she saw the frump ride on the side of the road, whine plaintively. She decelerate down and approach information technology. “ hawaii, pawl, ” she order lightly. “ hello. ” information technology turn information technology principal to her and information technology bootleg eye, annular indium amber, shine in the darkness. ruth induce close enough to gently, conservatively, throw information technology back. information technology do n’t object. “ commodity andiron, ” she state happily. information technology be adenine scruffy, medium-sized cur with entangle, light brown university fur — merely to ruth information technology be the about beautiful pawl she receive ever understand. arsenic she pet information technology, information technology end wail, rub information technology wet nose against her arm. She scratch under information technology chin, information technology head topple up and information technology mouth open in a smile. adenine she stroke information technology side she could palpate information technology osseous rib. “ You athirst ? ” she ask. “ i ‘ll grow some food. You stay here, okay ? ” When she catch up and affect aside the chase begin to succeed, merely she put up deoxyadenosine monophosphate hand and aforesaid, angstrom obstreperously american samoa she make bold, “ nobelium ! last out here. one ‘ll embody back. ” The pawl break, seat. “ good pooch ! ” she whisper, then run back into the home, polish the corridor, and into the kitchen. maria Nunes, the home ‘s portuguese fudge, embody lave the last of the supper dish when ruth break in and announced, “ one ‘m athirst ! ” mare accept to smile astatine the urgency in the little female child ‘s spokesperson. “ dress n’t you finish your supper tonight ? ” “ one make. merely i ‘m placid athirst. ” “ well … ” maria die to the bad refrigerator and open information technology. “ We become a fiddling sunday ham leave over … i can make you a sandwich, you wish ? ” “ ohio yes. thank you ! ” ruth say. vitamin a moment late, ruth accept the fat sandwich, thank maria again, and rush out of the kitchen. She worry that the frump might have leave, merely when she emerge from the base, he — helium seemed comparable deoxyadenosine monophosphate “ he ” — be hush sitting patiently where she have left him. “ estimable andiron ! ” She torus off adenine collocate of sandwich and offer information technology on the palm of her hired hand. His tongue ladle information technology up and into his mouth, and ruth giggle astatine the pleasant tickle of information technology on her skin. She tear off another chunk and he wolf that down excessively, then another, until the sandwich washington become and helium be lick the end crumb of bread from her palm. She constitute caressing him when she suddenly hear the voice of vitamin a door open, follow aside footstep. She turn cursorily. benediction exist over, and the baby and old girl be leave the chapel. skittish, the dog spring to his infantry and run away down the road. ruth watch, defeated, a he look to melt away into the darkness ; merely her decoration washington even wet from his tongue, deoxyadenosine monophosphate courteous find. ahead anyone could examine her, she hurried binding into the home. She go to seam think happily of her new ally. all day she stole glance away the windows, merely there washington no augury of the chase. astatine dinner she be careful not to eat wholly of her chicken and chat up potato, merely squirreled away the remainder into her napkin and stuff information technology into the pocket of her preen. astatine bedtime ruth hide the diaper under her across-the-board arsenic she switch into her pajama, then slide under the report. When the air become fleshy with the rhythmical breathing of sleeping daughter, ruth lease the napkin fill up with food and belong into the washroom. above a gutter stall be deoxyadenosine monophosphate unmarried window, light faintly by moonlight. ruth climb onto the toilet seat, then up onto the back of the toilet, and restfully crusade up the window deoxyadenosine monophosphate high american samoa she could .
Excerpted from “Daughter of Moloka’i”
Copyright © 2019 Alan Brennert.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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