Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 1948
The clang of the alarm clock jolted Yasu awake before dawn. She rubbed her eyes,amd rolled over and snuggled up to Masato.He wrapped his long arms around her and gently kissed her on the cheek.
In the darkness of early morning, Masato whispered in her ear, “I love you so much. I'm happy to be married to you.”
“I love you, too.” She leaned back and looked up at him. “I never thought we’d ever see each other again. I can still see you and Haro waving from that bus filled with all those young men who were forced to join the army. When the gates to the internment camp slammed shut, I watched the bus roll along the dirt road beyond the barbwire, terrified of what would happen to you and Haro.”
Tears rolled down Yasu’s cheeks as she thought about her brother Haro. She missed him deeply.
Masato hugged her tight and brushed her tears away. “I know. I miss him, too. War is terrible. Glad it’s over and we have each other.” He whispered, “You smell wonderful. We better get up. I don’t want to be late for class.”
The predawn glow lit up the curtains. Yasu crawled out of bed and scooted off to the bathroom. When she returned, Masato was dressed and had his books tucked under his arm. He gave her a gentle kiss and rushed down stairs.
Yasu yawned, slipped her nightgown over her head and quickly pulled on her clothes. She fluffed her hair into place and smoothed the wrinkles from the chenille bedspread while admiring the shiny wedding ring on her finger. As she walked downstairs and into the kitchen, she could still feel Masato’s strong arms wrapped around hers.
“Good Morning, my sweet butterfly,” Father said and suddenly began to cough. He covered his mouth and cleared his throat.
“Father, are you feeling OK?” Yasu asked.
“I’m fine, just a little tickle. It’s nothing. You look radiant this morning. Marriage agrees with you.”
Yasu blushed as she poured herself a cup of coffee from the pot on the stove. “Yes, I’m very happy. Not only for my marriage to Masato, but also for having you and Mother here. I prayed so hard that the two of you would be released from the camp and we’d be together again.” Yasu took a sip of coffee. “I miss Haro so much. He could be a big tease, but I loved him dearly. When he and Masato left that day, I never imagined he would not come back.”
Father stared out the kitchen window. “I know. I miss him every single day and always will. It’s hard losing those you love, especially your child.”
A few minutes later, Mother shuffled in with a huge basket of laundry and set it in the porch. She took the coffee pot from the stove, refilled Father’s cup and poured one for herself. After a short visit, Father grabbed his lunch box and left for his machine job at International Harvester.
As Yasu walked to campus, she thought about how her life had changed since the prison camps. The overcrowded barracks, the noisy
mess hall, armed military guards and the stinky latrines flashed through her mind.