I, Ruth Edith, age 12,
am staring out the window at the sky streaked with fluorescent chalk,
surrounding a sun which remains a golden luminous ball.
Deep in my soul, the feeling of happiness is locked away in a metal chest, coated in dead, gray dust.
That dead grayness flows within me. It is what makes me who I am today. I know I am supposed to be in hiding, locked under the concealing floorboards,
but I can’t take another second of it –
of insects crawling about my body, of my rumbling stomach, of fear.
Floorboards of sorrow conceal the old me.
The new me perches at the windowsill, wondering why our world is so deplorable.
How a single man can sway all of Germany to discriminate against Jews. That single man is despicable, heinous, loathsome.
I utter these words under my breath, careful not to awaken mother and father, who are obscured under the floorboards.
Father had been a tailor, but his shop has been confiscated by the Nazis.
Mother, a seamstress, worked with Father.
I had been a schoolgirl, dreamy and benevolent.
Suddenly I hear a faint sound.
There is a rattling noise of a car engine off in the distance.
I cannot imagine why one would drive a car around the village at the crack of dawn,
so my eyes remain peeled towards the window,
curiosity drowning me in its grasp.
It is a cherry-red convertible, as red as my cheeks on frigid mornings.
A man is standing in the backseat, hollering “all heil Hitler.”
It’s him, that dreaded man.
Many open their windows, echoing this foolish phrase.
I tiptoe back under the floorboards,
and let its despondency cover me.