Chapter Twenty One
Friday, April 13, 2012
Rachel is in awe of the sights she sees as her plane flies to Oahu, and when she arrives she does not recognize Honolulu after more than a half century of changes. While she sees Honolulu as different, she still believes it is beautiful.
Rachel gets a room at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and enjoys the luxury. During her stay at the hotel, she looks in the telephone book for listings for her mother and siblings but finds none. After a couple of nights at the hotel, she begins her search for an affordable apartment. She discovers that while leprosy can now be treated and while she poses no danger to others, the old prejudices remain. Most prospective landlords are rude, even cruel. One even throws an ashtray that strikes Rachel and cuts her head. She manages to find a small overpriced apartment that she can rent if she gives three months advance payment.
Rachel begins her search for Ruth but discovers that the adoption home shut down ten years earlier. At the offices of the Board of Health, Rachel learns that adoption records are sealed, and she must go to court to get the record unsealed. Rachel submits the paperwork for a court date, and she submits an application to get a copy of Sarah's marriage certificate.
Rachel visits the store where Henry said that Kimo had worked thirty years ago. No one at the store had ever heard of Kimo. Rachel cannot find her brother Ben, but she does find some of Uncle Pono's relatives listed in the telephone book. Rachel goes to the address listed in the telephone book, and her Aunt Florence, now in her eighties, answers the door.
Aunt Florence is shocked to see Rachel. She was certain that Rachel had died. Aunt Florence tells Rachel about the horrible prejudice that Pono's family endured after he and Rachel were taken away to Kalaupapa. Aunt Florence is still frightened that the neighbors will see her talking to a leper, and she asks Rachel to go away.
Rachel is sad and depressed after seeing Aunt Florence, and she gives up her search for any of her family. Weeks pass, and then one day Rachel receives a copy of Sarah's marriage certificate. After seeing Sarah's married name, Rachel calls the telephone operator and gets a number in Maui. Rachel calls the number, and a woman answers. Rachel immediately hangs up, but she is convinced that the voice she heard was her sister's.
Rachel buys an airplane ticket to Maui and then catches a taxicab to the address she got from the telephone operator. When she knocks at the door of a house, a woman answers, and Rachel recognizes Sarah. Rachel identifies herself, and Sarah faints. When Sarah wakes, she cries and hugs Rachel. She thought Rachel had died long ago.
As Rachel and Sarah talk, Sarah is confused about many of the things Rachel says. Rachel gets the names of Sarah's children wrong, and Rachel mentions a place that Kimo worked as an adult. Sarah is surprised that if Rachel knows she has nieces and nephews, she does not know that one of Sarah's children is named Rachel. When Sarah asks where Rachel heard the news about the family, Sarah says that Henry told her, and then Sarah says that Henry must have made up stories.
Less than a year after Rachel had been sent to Kalaupapa, Kimo showed signs of leprosy. Dorothy said the government would never take another one of her children. She took the children and fled to Maui without telling anyone, not even Henry. Dorothy left Sarah and Ben with a relative, and she took Kimo to a hidden location and took care of him until he died. Henry never saw or heard from his children or wife ever again. He made up stories to protect Rachel.
Rachel and Sarah cry after learning that the situation was even more tragic than they had previously known. Rachel cries for her father who spent all those years alone but made up stories for her.