Sampler: The Secrets We Hide by Patricia Sands
September 1, 2022
A story of resilience balances the heartbreak and destruction of mental illness with the compassion of an unforgettable hero.
The deep traditions and values of Kaito Tanaka’s Japanese heritage are severely tested when he returns home to Honolulu from duty in Vietnam to find his wife, Hana, in the grip of progressive mental health challenges.
As Hana’s condition worsens, Kaito’s life becomes absorbed in protecting and caring for her and their daughter, Kiana. Hana becomes increasingly reclusive while their daughter Kiana grows troubled and rebellious.
A friend’s mysterious death followed by Kiana’s sudden disappearance cut deeply into Kaito’s soul. Meditation is Kaito’s drug of choice. Secrecy hides the truth from others but Kaito’s commitment to Hana is unwavering.
As years go by, Kaito begins to make an annual pilgrimage to a Buddhist retreat in Koyasan that renews his spirit. In the end, a serendipitous coincidence there opens the door to happiness – if he can allow himself to accept it.
“Set against lush backdrops in Hawaii, Japan, Corsica, and the south of France, this beautiful story of resilience perfectly balances the heartbreak and destruction of mental illness with the compassion and serenity of an unforgettable hero.” Barbara Claypole White, bestselling author of The Perfect Son and The Promise Between Us.
Sampler: The Secrets We Hide
They sat at wooden tables on the sugary sand outside their favorite noodle shop for ramen. The popular restaurant had a ’60s vibe to it. Beach Boys music floated out from the speakers and down to the turquoise waters gently brushing the shore. The calm of the setting helped lessen the tension Kaito and Kiana were seeking to shed.
Quietly sipping the delectable noodles floating in the broth, they ate the tofu, chicken, and vegetable pieces with chopsticks.
“This is my comfort food,” Kiana said, color beginning to return to her pale complexion. “I got that from you, of course! I love your stories about eating ramen all the time as a kid in Japan.”
Kaito nodded in agreement. “I couldn’t get enough of it. Your dearly departed grandmothers both made delicious saimin meals. All the day’s leftovers went into them.”
When they finished eating, they walked down to the water’s edge and watched surfers working the last waves of the afternoon. Surfing was like walking to Hawaiian children. Tourists were always easy to spot and could be counted on to provide a few chuckles.
They stepped out of their slippahs and left them under a shrub. After a long barefoot saunter on the warm sand, they decided to sit beneath some palm trees and watch a stunning sunset.
Kaito’s eyes shone with love as he looked at the beautiful young woman who would always be a little girl to him. He was trying not to admit to himself that he was worried about the irrational behavior he was seeing from her recently. Secretive at times and headstrong at others, she was trying to figure her life out. Who could blame her? he asked himself.
Kaito also realized she was more than a little attractive and young men were paying attention to her. This was obvious even now as the heads of young men swiveled while she strolled beside him. He worried when she was out at night on the weekends and thought that some of her friends were allowed much more freedom than he approved. He was only too aware of how times had changed since his teens.
Now he repeated some unsettling concerns Lailani had shared lately, remembering her cautions that he should remind Kiana to be aware for her personal safety.
“Kiana, I’m going to sound like an overly protective father here—”
She interrupted and gave him a playful pat on his arm. “But that is what you are, Papa.”
He continued. “Lailani has passed along to me some information about the streets not being as safe as they once were. In fact, there is some frightening talk about a possible serial killer in Honolulu. Please promise me you will pay attention to your surroundings and your choice of friends. I want to know where you are going and what you are doing …”
“Thank goodness for Lanilani, letting us know,” Kiana interrupted again, using the childhood name she called her . “I wish you had married her instead of Mother.”
Kaito’s jaw tightened with regret that Kiana harbored such a thought. It was not the first time she had shared those words with him, and the pain they caused him never dulled.
When she was younger, he had talked to her about how fortunate they were that Lailani and her mother were such close friends of the family’s.
He encouraged her to love Lailani in a way that grew from gratitude for how the friendship helped her mother and, in turn, all the family. She had been a constant presence in Kiana’s life since the day she was born and this was never lost on Kiana.
Now he could address the situation more realistically and remind Kiana that it was Hana he loved as his wife and her mother. “Lailani is like a sister to me. She really is part of our family. Our chosen family.”
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