Part the Second—
“Everything I got, I bought it / Boys can’t buy my love, buy my love, yeah”
Juliana took a deep breath when the car stopped in front of a large family home, the likes of which she had never seen. “People live like this?” she asked. “Is that grass?”
Laughing, John opened the door. “Yes, Misaki. It’s grass. Children play on it. Adults lounge on it in the afternoons.”
Running up to the lawn, Juliana knelt down and put her hands in the grass. She smiled up at John. “It’s real. Real grass!” She heard the door of the house open and she quickly stood, looking up. A gangly boy in some sort of a uniform appeared. His eyes flitted between them.
“Thomas!” John greeted. “This is Misaki, who I told you about. She was just marveling over the fact that we have grass in the Greater Nazi Reich.”
“But—” Thomas seemed confused. “You’re Aryan. Your eyes—”
Self-consciously, Juliana looked down. Takeshi often commented on her eyes and how Aryan he found them. He liked to stare into them and brush her hair to the side, even if it wasn’t obstructing her eyes in the least.
John, however, answered. “They are indeed Aryan, Thomas. However, in the Pacific States that was perhaps not a virtue. Misaki has a Japanese name as she was born in the Japanese Empire. We will respect it until a time when she might change it. Is that understood?”
“Yes, Father,” he responded, and Juliana looked up. “Welcome to our home, Misaki.”
“Thank you, Thomas,” she said, smiling a little. “I understand you will help me to study—but I’m not certain for what.”
“The ACT,” he informed her. “It’s for citizenship.”
Juliana paused for a moment and then nodded. “Of course,” she murmured, realizing that she had never wanted to be a citizen of any place other than the Pacific States. “Thank you, Thomas.”
She entered the house and hung up her coat, ignoring the way that Thomas was looking at her dress.
“A glass of wine, perhaps,” John suggested as he led her into the living room, Thomas following afterwards. “Your nerves must be shattered after being smuggled into the Greater Nazi Reich and then being locked into an apartment for days.”
“Yes,” she admitted quietly. “Wine would be lovely.”
She sat down and noticed a woman in a simple black dress had appeared, her hair blonde, her eyes blue, and she curtseyed and reappeared with a glass of white wine for her and a glass of milk for Thomas. John poured himself two fingers of whiskey from the sideboard. “That’s Rose,” he explained, “our housekeeper. She’s here to make your life more comfortable, Misaki.”
Takeshi had had a housekeeper, an older woman with lines on her face. Juliana had only met her once. Rose was much younger, much prettier. Juliana wondered at it.
She still felt his hand caressing her face when she closed her eyes, the soft cadence of his voice. When she went to sleep in that strange apartment, she could almost imagine her small home, of him walking into it, setting down his hat and briefcase, the light shining against his spectacles. The way they would sit down in silence until she would listen to his concerns. As she sipped her wine, Juliana realized that she loved him—and she had now lost him forever.
“Tell me of your life in the Pacific States,” Thomas asked eagerly. “Is it different there?”
Juliana carefully put down her glass. “I’ve seen little of New York,” she admitted, “just the back alleys where I got out of the trunk of a car and the back stairs of a building where I was smuggled into an apartment.” She paused as she glanced at John. “It was terribly efficient. The furniture surprised me. Everything’s cluttered in the Pacific States where the white man makes his home. The streets are filled with vendors who call out to you. The streets seem ordered and quiet here. In the Pacific States, all spaces the Japanese use are governed by Feng Shui—the idea of harmony. It seems—please correct me if I’m wrong—that economy and perhaps comfort are the principles here?”
“You are correct, Misaki. Wives in the Reich seek to make our homes comfortable. Otherwise we seek to economize our space.”
Thomas, however, was staring at her avidly. “The white man?”
She looked at him, picking up her wine again. “Is that not what—I’m sorry—there are the Japanese and the white man.”
“We are Aryans, Misaki,” John explained. “Then there are Semites or Jews. The Japanese are honorary Aryans.”
This confused Juliana. “What of the other ‘white man’? The Italians—the Poles—the French?”
“They are not afforded the same rights and regulated to menial work,” he told her simply. “We do not speak of them as they are not citizens of the Reich.—You have not mentioned Negroes.”
Taking a sip of her wine to calm herself, she paused. “They have fled primarily to the Neutral Zone. You occasionally see a Negro, but they are often brought in by the kempeitai for crimes against the state.”
John nodded approvingly.
“Have you met one?” Thomas asked eagerly, his bright eyes shining.
“A Negro?” Juliana asked carefully. “No.” She would have had to report him immediately. Her position was an honored one but it also bore responsibility. The film had terrified her. If she hadn’t seen Trudy shot in the street just for possessing one, Juliana never would have run, leaving behind a bracelet with the sign of the sun god Amaterasu on it. She still wore it on her wrist as a sign of their –could she call it love?
“A Semite?” Thomas then asked in excitement.
Not knowing what to answer, Juliana was glad when John interrupted.
“Thomas. This is no way to treat a guest in our home, although she is a ward of the Smith family now.” He turned to Juliana. “Misaki, I apologize.”
She shook her head and put her hand up a little to signal that it was nothing. “I don’t mind. Of course Thomas is curious. I’m full of questions about the Reich.” She smiled self deprecatingly. “I hardly know where to begin.”
“Well,” he answered, looking from her to his son. “You have all the time in the world now, and we’re here to help. This will be a wonderful exercise for Thomas on civic duty, won’t it, Thomas? I do not want you to neglect your work, however. Misaki is quite capable, I’m sure, to study on her own, and there is a library in the city she can go to if she needs to look up finer points.”
“Yes, Dad,” he answered, but his eyes wandered to her.
Juliana paused when she saw it. It was how Takeshi first looked at her. It seemed Thomas had a bit of a crush on her. He was about that age, she supposed, and it was harmless.
“I can answer,” she murmured, catching John’s gaze before looking back at Thomas. “A Semite pushed me in front of a moving bus. I have rather elaborate scars on my back, that I would show you, but it would be rather improper. I’m lucky I survived. I knew him before and he was rather infatuated with me. Unfortunately, he had just asked me to marry him although I had never given him any encouragement, and he became rather—violent—when I refused him.”
“What happened then?”
“Well, he told authorities I was his fiancée, so they released me into his care and I convalesced at his home. It was very unpleasant.” There, the lie had been told and hopefully convincingly. Nevermind the fact that she had found her life so bleak that she could not bear it, that she had wished herself dead, that she had felt so small and insignificant before she had met Takeshi. He had been her real salvation, not Frank who had been her boyfriend before the accident and had brought her back to a half-life of misery he had created.
“Was he shot?” John asked.
“No one really saw what happened,” she told him glumly, thinking how sickening she found his touch. “He was brought in for questioning a few times for being a Semite”—mainly because Takeshi was jealous; he’d never admit to such a thing, but Juliana had always suspected it—”and would come back a few days later after being tortured. They never found anything on him, so as far as I know he’s never been executed, unlike his family. That might change,” she added, trying to sound hopeful.
“Well,” John stated, picking up his tumbler of whiskey, “I’ll drink to that. Prost!”
Juliana lifted her glass. “Prost!” she repeated and then she took a sip. She’d never drunk to someone’s death before. She absently wondered what Frank was doing now.
The bracelet hung on her wrist, which Takeshi had slipped back on as she slept before he left. A sign, a symbol of the place where she had come from, of the people she must leave.
Dinner was pleasant. Juliana listened as Thomas spoke about his day at school, of Hitler Youth (something which baffled her), and John gave him advice. This seemed to be an easy routine between them and she enjoyed watching father and son.
When it was time to go to sleep, she found she had a large bed and a wardrobe where all her dresses had been hung. She supposed she would start wearing Western dresses. She had stopped wearing them except for work in the Nippon Building when Takeshi had moved her into her own apartment and had bought her the first one as a sign of his admiration. In the intervening two years, she had discarded almost all of her Western clothing. The suit she had worn to the Neutral Zone had been one of the few pieces she had left.
She climbed into the center of the bed, which she had a habit of doing whenever Takeshi wasn’t there. It felt less empty that way. The pillows didn’t smell of his cologne, however. Juliana wondered just how little sleep she would be getting that night.
Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido stood at his office window and looked out. He wasn’t often taken to self-reflection, but he stared out into the rain. Juliana loved the rain.
There was a knock on the door, and he turned when someone entered. “The prisoner is here, Chief Inspector.”
“Good,” he answered, turning back to the rain. “Let us see what Mr. Frink has to say about abducting the personal property of a high ranking official of the kempeitai.” He turned with military precision, ready to torture a confession out of Frank Frink. He could not find the Resistance who had taken Juliana away from him—Trudy Walker was dead—but Frank Frink was ill advisedly where Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido had left him.
Frank Frink thought his name sounded ridiculous. However, it was his dearest wish that Juliana would one day become Mrs. Juliana Frink.
When he had first met Juliana, she had a beautiful sadness in her eyes that he had wanted to capture in a portrait, but had never seemed to manage it. It was too lovely—too ethereal. The first night he had made love to her, she had been a tangle of limbs in her white nightdress, never allowing him to pull it over her head, never undoing her sleep braid. Frank almost felt dirty as he slipped from the couch, into the only bedroom in his apartment—their apartment, he told himself—and had hiked up her nightdress as she slept.
She had only come over that night because she had had a fight with her sister Trudy.
Although she was twenty-two, she seemed much younger, sleeping there.
He hadn’t known she was a virgin until her blood soaked her nightdress, even when she tried to push him away. Frank tried to soothe her, running a hand over her braid, kissing her unresponsive lips, promising that he loved her, and isn’t this why she’d come over?
When it was all over, barely satisfying for him and no more than guttural sounds of pain and gasps for her, Frank fell beside Juliana and took her in his arms. She had been wooden and if there had been tears on her cheeks, he had convinced himself that they were tears of elation.
Leaving her to her sleep the next day, he went to work in the factory.
He came home to the news that she had thrown herself in front of a bus and was in the hospital. He’d convinced Anne and Arnold that Juliana and he had decided to move in together and that he would take care of her. He brought her back to health, but he didn’t touch her except for a soft press of lips against lips—she was always unresponsive, but he convinced himself it was the pain.
The doctors said she had a shattered pelvis and would never have children. Juliana said she was glad.
Part of him was waiting for the day that Juliana walked out of his life.
There was something comforting about having her in his home, however. More often than not, she was at the Walkers’ for dinner and he ate on his own, and she was always sleeping when he woke up. It was almost like living with a ghost.
Juliana never smiled. She never laughed.
He made her jewelry, saving up for the metal, but she never wore it. She kept it on the small table that served as her vanity. Soon, she stopped wearing make up although she always brushed her hair. Still, he kissed her when she got home and when he pushed her on the bed one night and hiked up her skirts, she barely put up a fight. Juliana did not kiss him back, she just lay there and turned her head away as he whispered how much he loved her, how he wanted them to be a family.
If there were strange herbs in the kitchen the next day, he did not question them. He did not touch her again or really question it when a lock appeared on the bedroom door and she left him to his drawings to go to bed. When Frank found himself resigned to the couch, he found a pair of his pajamas laid out for him.
Still, she stayed and he didn’t know why.
Juliana didn’t love him. He doubted she ever did.
About a year (or perhaps a little longer) after he had first met Juliana and six months after the accident, something shifted. Frank came home and Juliana was there. However, she was washing two tea cups in the sink. The smell of the floral Japanese tea her mother, Anne Walker, favored was in the air. Juliana never drank it here in their home. She personally preferred a spicier blend.
He looked away from her and was surprised to see that the table had been decorated with their nice table cloth, their two chairs set close together, and an old vase brought out with roses in it.
“Who brought you roses?” he asked a little petulantly.
“Oh?” she answered. “A member of the kempeitai.” Juliana said it so casually he was truly surprised. “I showed him a curtesy and he found out where I lived and brought me roses.”
“Having the attention of the kempeitai in any way,” he told her plainly, “is never a good thing. You remember that my grandfather was a Jew.” While it was true that in Jewish culture, the distinction of being Jewish was passed from mother to children and not through the patriarchal line, the Greater Nazi Reich (and their allies, the Japanese Empire) did not care. Jewish blood was Jewish blood. Frank was potentially tainted by association.
Juliana paused and then carefully set the teacup aside. “You never told me that.” Her voice was calm but he could hear the accusation of it.
“Of course, I did,” he argued.
“No,” she stated coldly, “you didn’t.” She threw her towel into the washboard and retreated into the bedroom.
He thought it was just a fit of pique until twenty minutes later she came out with two suitcases and a hat on her head.
She went over to the door and took down a coat, which she put on despite the warmth outside. Then she went over to the flowers and picked them up in a fist.
“Think rationally,” he begged.
“Think rationally?” she asked, whirling around. “I come here because I had a fight with Trudy and you rape me! Then you take me captive and rape me again! I’m only here because—” She took a deep breath. “I don’t know why I’m here! Probably because I’m now defective and no one else will probably ever have me! I’m so full of inertia, I cannot bear the thought of stepping outside most days and only drag myself out to my parents’ because I sit at their table and can see happiness.”
Anger coursed through Frank. He had never forced Juliana. He was not a rapist—he was not a monster, not like the Japanese who raped their country every day. “Do not accuse me of—”
“The truth?” she shot back. “What did you think you were doing? I tried to kill myself because of what you did to me. What if there had been a child, either time? It would have been a Jew. The kempeitai could have come for it at any time. How could you do that to my child, Frank? How could you do that to me?” She took a fortifying breath and he stood there, stunned. “—Goodbye, Frank.” Then she picked up her cases, the roses still in her hand, and ran up the stairs to the street, and was gone.
It took him two weeks to go looking for Juliana. In the end, it was Anne Walker who telephoned him and invited him to dinner. He had suspected that Juliana had been staying with them, but during his three months of searching, he had been hesitant to approach the Walkers. Now they had come to him.
He arrived, strangely, before Juliana. He thought perhaps she was at aikido, but when she arrived she was wearing a purple, Asian style dress that had short sleeves and went down to just below her knees. There was a pattern of tree branches and birds nesting in them on the pale cotton fabric. Her neck was incased in a high collar.
Anne took in her dress and pursed her lips. “How is your new apartment, dear? Do you need anything?”
“No,” she answered. “I’m quite comfortable. Just adding a few finishing touches. I thought you’d like to see my new dress.”
Looking it over, Anne pursed her lips again. “Well,” she stated, “it certainly looks pretty on you despite being Japanese. I know you work for the Trade Minister now, but you need not cater to their culture all the time.”
Juliana shook her head fondly, and came fully into the room and her eyes caught Frank’s. “What are you doing here?” she asked.
“I thought you might like to see a familiar face who isn’t Japanese,” Anne suggested as Frank smiled awkwardly. “You never know. Your romance might be rekindled. Lord knows you’ll never find a boyfriend in the Nippon Building.”
Turning away from Frank, Juliana stated quite pleasantly, “I’m quite capable of finding my own boyfriends, Mom.” She brought out some tea and gave it to her mother, air kissing her cheek given that she was wearing red lipstick, something she had never done all the time Frank had known her. “Compliments of the Chief Inspector.”
Frank heard a plate clatter and turned to see Trudy setting the table. The plates in her hand had fallen on the table, neither fortunately breaking, and she was staring at Juliana in shock. Her eyes flitted to Frank and he saw horror shining out of her eyes.
It seemed Juliana also heard and she took out a tube of lipstick from her pocket and came over from Trudy. “I thought you’d like pink. For special occasions or to make yourself feel pretty.”
“I don’t want anything from the Chief Inspector or from any other of your Japanese friends,” Trudy stated coolly as she picked up the plates again and finished setting the table.
It seemed Juliana was undeterred. “I picked it out,” she promised, “with you specifically in mind. Please, Trudy. Even if you never use it, please accept it as a gift—from me.”
Reaching out, Trudy took the tube of lipstick and inspected the color before slipping it in her pocket. Somehow, Frank knew she would never wear it.
From then on, he was Juliana’s boyfriend in name only. The Walkers invited him to events. Juliana would sometimes go visit his family as she was fond of Laura and the children and would speak to Paul in fluent Japanese. He knew that she moved fluidly in her job at the Nippon Building and her—singular—friendships with certain Japanese individuals, but he had no idea she spoke the language.
He had lost her, he realized, and when a year later the kempeitai came and took him away, he thought that it was only natural. He hadn’t seen Juliana since he had followed her home from the Nippon Building where she was surprisingly wearing a Western dress (he hadn’t seen her in one since she had moved out) and had gone to one of the more exclusive apartment buildings in a fashionable part of the city.
She had been inside for over two hours before a car drove up and a Japanese man in spectacles stepped out of it and entered the building. Frank had almost left when half an hour later, the man appeared again with Juliana with him, her hair fashioned on top of her head in a clearly Japanese style. She was also wearing what appeared to be an altered kimono. It still had the wide sleeves, but it was buttoned down the side like a Western suit in the Asian fashion, an odd harmony. The outfit also did not have a sash of any kind.
He wondered where she was going, where this man was taking her as she entered the backseat of the car.
Of course, Frank was lying in wait that night when she came back, managing to find the correct hallway. The Japanese man was rigid and cold as he escorted her back to a door and he had spent the whole night in there with Juliana. It was only after the sun rose that the man left, pristine, his suit perfectly in order, his spectacles in place. Juliana had walked him to the door and smoothed down his tie with a genuine smile, and he had whispered, “Misaki-chan,” to her as he lifted his hand to her cheek before leaving.
The door didn’t get a chance to shut before he had barreled through it. He couldn’t even look Juliana in the eye as he demanded if she was a Prawn mistress—if she was being forced—if Anne and Arnold knew. He didn’t even pay attention to the cat that was winding around his legs. Frank didn’t even hear the answers, he just raged like a beast as he shook her and left her on the floor before leaving for work. He was late.
He was surprised when there weren’t reprisals.
However, the man had finally come for him. The same spectacles, the same suit, a different tie, but still pressed.
“Mr. Frink,” the Prawn stated, the light from the lamp reflecting off his glasses. “Where is Juliana Crain?”
His stomach sinking, Frank wondered if he would make it out of this room alive.