At school that week, Clarice visited the library several times. Her first time was to look up Amedeo Modigliani. She found herself looking at an art book that showed not only his highly stylized portraits of the woman her mother referred to as the dreadful Jehanne, but also a photograph of a slender, pale-skinned man, his shirt open at the throat, with thick, unruly dark hair. He was indeed as handsome as her mother’s journals described; it was easy to see why the young Veronique would have had a crush on him.
The next trip saw her chatting with the periodical room ladies, looking for old newspaper clippings about the 1906 earthquake. Sure enough, there were the articles that talked about Caruso’s performance of “Carmen,” and how he was wandering the streets of San Francisco the next morning in his bathrobe after the Palace Hotel was damaged. There were also mentions of Frederick Funston, George Torney, and a good many other people named in her mother’s diary. How funny it was to think of Veronique rubbing elbows with those important folk.
But it also gave Clarice pause as she thought about more recent history, and how long it had been since she had seen Grace Sakamoto. The two had been thick as thieves during elementary school, but when Grace and Mrs. Sakamoto came back from the internment camp at Tanforan, things felt different. Grace’s demeanor had become haunted, and she no longer laughed as easily as before.