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April 1, 1942

Pura, my little Red Cross Filipina nurse friend, lifted my mosquito net before I was up to tell me the great news that Tokyo had been bombed by the Americans. By noontime, everyone in camp had heard the joyful news.

The morning Nishi-Nishi warned, “Filipinos, beware of misleading propaganda, and do not believe in American promises of aid ever coming to the Philippines, because the Japanese Army now has complete control of the whole southwest Pacific basin.”

Catalino certainly had a stormy time looking after Adoracion! The note in my slacks from him gave the full story. “Adoracion gave birth to a boy at 6.30 A.M. She was struggling so hard from 2:00 A.M. sharp! She gave birth at the Malate Hospital. She has to stay there for three days, and if possible, I need money for expenses; especially they called for a special doctor to assist. I tried my best to bring her to General Hospital, but sorry no available transportation. I even carried her to the said hospital myself. Thanks to God she is all right now. So long, best wishes. Catalino.”

Sketched on the front page of the Internews, our camp paper was an internee asleep on a deck chair, dreaming beautiful dreams The vision of a banquet table with steaming turkey and other delicacies was realistically depicted. A waiter was opening a bottle of champagne, while luscious-looking native girls did the hula around him. Underneath the cartoon there were two brutal words –“April Fool!”

Thousands of bats hovered over our heads tonight as we sat outside. The flapping of their wings sounded like the distant hum of hundreds of motors tuning up. They swooped down, soared upward, and then swooped down again in a crazy and erratic fashion. Like all women, I covered my head with my hands to prevent one of these repulsive mammals from nesting there. Catesy laughed as he handed me his handkerchief to use for a headgear
Somehow, the presence of these bats added to the beauty and eeriness of the deepening twilight. I said: “Do you remember the time we went to watch the bats come out of the caves at Montalban several years ago?” (It used to be a tourist attraction before the war.)

“Uh huh.”

Nothing more! He never mentioned the grand time we had had that day nor the wonderful picnic supper I had prepared.

I was worried about him. He was less talkative, less cheerful, and less optimistic, and he seemed to worry a great deal. When the shrill police whistle pierced our ears, we picked up our camp chairs silently as Japanese guards herded us into the buildings. It was curfew time.

At the door of my room, Catesy said good night and I missed his usual smile and hand squeeze.

As I sadly crawled under my mosquito net, and a giant flying cockroach landed on my back, I brushed it aside indifferently.

Nothing mattered –except the wall that was coming between Catesy and me.