Just as Sophie and I carried the card table and eating utensils into the corridor outside our room in preparation for lunch, a group of Axis officers on a rubberneck tour bore down on us. It was too late to run and hide. There was nothing to do but sit down and try to cover my bare knees, as I had on shorts. I covered my nakedness the best I could with my hands and with the large cracker can I was holding.
There were twelve in the party. Six Japanese officers, and one of them was over six feet tall. As he passed me and saw my shorts, he raised one eyebrow in a characteristically American manner. The other six officers were German and Italian, and all of them would have been perfectly cast for movie roles of elegant and arrogant Axis officers. To complete the movie role, one of the Germans had a long saber cut on his cheek.
An explanatory note from Catalino bore this message. “The laundry will be brought here tomorrow, cause I was awfully busy. Every day, both morning and afternoon, I used to visit Adoracion, and I always brought her fruits. The child is well and the mother is all right.”
I was beginning to worry about Catalino’s attentions over Adoracion. It smacked of a dedicated devotion that seemed to go beyond the “call of duty.”
Naturally I was worried, because I was extremely fond of his devoted wife Maria, who used to keep house for three of us American girls several years ago. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Maria took their child of six to the provinces to be near her aged parents, while Catalino remained in Manila.