Green-Eyed Brunettes

April 8, 2010
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“It’s been a whole week,” My son informed me as I walked into the door. I had been collecting firewood from the near by forest, winter was slowly approaching and we needed to keep warm.
“I know,” I replied. What else was I going to say? I just shrugged off my coat and took a long drag on my cigarette to relax, to forget about everything. But I never do, it never calms me down like it used to. He had been waiting a week for her to return, looking out the piece of glass we called our window every day for as long as natural light would allow. Just going out to get milk she had said. We had been low on supplies, she had volunteered. She missed the feel of the sun, she said. I have never known anybody who took seven days to get a carton of milk.
“She’s gone. They took her,” He said to himself more then to me. I had no answer. I couldn’t lie to him for comfort. I was never able to lie to my son. Another drag on my cigarette, letting the crap fill my lungs and the smoke clear my vision.
“You don’t know that,” was my reply, lame, but what should I have said? In times like these, nobody is safe, and nobody knows.
“I do, she is a brunette with green eyes. A brunette, who is Jewish. A beautiful Jewish brunette with piercing green eyes who I will never see again,” He looked like he was going to lose it. But who’s to say he hasn’t lost it already? He has been in standing by the only window in out hut for a week, refusing to move for anything less then sleep. He isn’t even getting much of that. His eyes are blood shot from staying open longer then necessary and from holding the tears he is afraid to her fall, because that means letting go, and that means she’s really gone.
“You should eat something,” All meals are served by the window, just in case, he says. Just incase she comes walking back up the hill, just incase she brings back the milk with an explanation, with a story that will make us laugh it off. But we don’t laugh anymore because nothing is funny. I look at the two clocks on the wall. They were our own family joke, when things were funny, we would laugh, when we had a full family. The clock on top told the time, and the one on bottom had broken long ago, but nobody could think of any reason to throw it out, when it told the correct time two times a day.
“I’m not hungry,” He let a tear roll down his dirt covered face, marking it’s territory with a line of salt water. I took another heave of my cigarette, I hate when he cries. I wish there was something I could do, but there’s nothing nobody can do.
“You should at least drink something, or even sit down for a little while, standing all day isn’t healthy,” I sat on the edge of our fence. We had a fenced area of this house, if you could even call it a house. It was a building with a roof that leaked with the rain and heated up with the sun. But it was ours, and it was far from the city, far from the attacks, far from the store where one would buy milk. We shared this building with eleven other families, all Jewish, all on the run. Our fenced in space becoming bigger as more and more of them don’t come back from their trips to the store. We shouldn’t go to the store, but what choice do we have? We need food to survive; sneaking to the store is our only option.
“I’m fine,” He squeezed something in his hands. I moved closer to get a better look; it was one of her shirts. Her favorite blouse was curled into a ball and being kneaded by the nerves of my son. He twisted it and rolled it in his hands and I don’t even think he knew what he was doing. He had been holding that shirt for the past three days, sleeping with it when the sun was down, holding it when the sun was up. It smelled of her brown hair, he said.
“Shower at least, you are filthy,” I try every day to get him to move, to eat, to shower yet he never listens. He just stands there, watching the window, hoping she comes back, hoping to see her brown curls bouncing up the hill, green-eyes sparkling with adventure.
“I’m fine, but she not, I know it,” A second trail made it’s way through the dirt on his face. I moved to sit down on the floor, right under the two clocks and as I sat, I let the smoke of my addiction into the air.
“You don’t know that,” I said again, what else was there to say? He was probably right; they probably did take her. She was a green-eyed brunette, she was Jewish. Family members disappeared every day from our building but we don’t talk about it, I honestly don’t even know how many are left. I have lost count.
“We are next,” He whispered. “They are moving into the country, I can feel it.”
“Don’t think that way,” I assured him, but with one look to his face I could tell he wasn't listening, I could tell that my words were wasted. Terror was where we lived, and occasionally we took a vacation to Fear, never truly safe, never truly protected. We try and try to hide, but how long will it be until we are found? How long will it be until they take one of us? Because we are all green-eyed brunettes. Jewish green-eyed brunettes.

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