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15th August 1951, Germany
This mirror was unlike any other mirror in appearance. It stood gracefully, contrasting startlingly with the unkempt furniture whittling away, silently. It arched in a steady line above my bowed head , but it was not its height or appearance that startled me, nor the profound intensity it created in the pit of my stomach; it was the girl inside of it.
‘Who am I?’ I wondered, scrutinizing the sallow face that stared back at me. I had to search deep but somewhere beneath her harsh eyes and the sloping contours of her scowling face, there she was. The girl I had once been. Yet to return to; she was the one who laughed at silly jokes, the girl who could have conquered the whole wide world, the girl who was proud to be utterly and profoundly normal. However, I’m afraid somewhere along the line I had been forgotten and being overlooked is a horrible experience that contorts even the purest of souls and defeats even the most brilliant of people. I blame the silence for what I did.
31st December 1939, Germany
Mother was laughing, her tired face crinkled in to an unnatural imitation of the giggle that used to dance along her lips on a regular basis. Walter sat precariously on the edge of my fathers knee, a rare show of affection, he was eating goats cheese, and laughing at my fathers terrible jokes. I was crouched on a delicate stall next to my father and brother, I sat in wonderment as they chuckled over the most frivolous of phrases. My mothers head ducked up to look me in the eye, mid laugh, ‘cheer up, Lorie’ she crooned. I painted a smile on my former anxious face and watched as my family enjoyed another doomed day.
It didn’t take as long as expected. We had just finished our prayers, Mother and Father were watching the news, they looked frightened as a large man explained about something or another. My brother and I were playing a fighting game, Walter got to be the German soldier again, and I was left playing the mean man who killed him. I was in mid-shot when my fathers voice penetrated the glass panelling, it was happening again. My brother took my hand, dragging me quickly and forcefully up the neat stone stair case, he pulled me in to my room. We must have sat on my bedroom floor for over an hour, our heads bent together like statues, whispering words of comfort in to one another’s ears. I stared at us in my mirror, two scared children, dissimilar to the elegant mirror our fragile forms were embossed on. This was our routine. Normally, they would leave such arguments until later at night, when they thought we were asleep. But, on the rare occasions when there arguments escalated in the day me and my brother battled it together, this was our secret mission. We protected each other.
15th August 1941, Germany
My 11th Birthday. Mother says eleven is the best age, she says when she was eleven she started courting! This made me blush, especially as my brothers friend, Ester was there, I didn’t want her to think my mother scandalous. It was ok though, Ester just laughed; I liked Ester it was a shame about her father, Walter says that Hitler took him away because Hitler is mean but, when I asked my father he said that Jews deserved to be taken away. I didn’t understand this very much, I didn’t think anyone deserved that really, Ester seemed very nice I couldn’t believe that her father would be mean?
I got to open all my presents in the morning because my father was away at work. I was so excited, my mother had given me the shoes that I had been admiring for weeks and my brother had given me the best present ever, when I was really little I had a rag doll called ‘Liebesmarionette’ and Ester had helped him find the replica of it, I named her ‘Liebbie junior’ ; next up was my fathers present, he had wrapped it up in pretty wrapping paper and my fingers were eager to rip it off and peek inside, but my mother insisted on me opening it carefully so that we could re-use the paper. My fingers slipped under the fold of the paper and unearthed the book inside, I stared down at it, my eyes scanning the title ‘Hitler’s way is the right way’, I looked up at my family, my brothers eyes fierce with anger looking upon my anxious face. My mother was frozen in shock, glancing quickly from the book to Ester. I grappled between my urge to run and my instinct to please my family, I took the book in to my arms and pushed it in to my mothers asking her to put it somewhere for safe keeping. My eyes scanned the faces before me, angry, anxious and lastly Ester’s, a whole range of emotions colouring hers: frustrated, sad and… tired.
That night I couldn’t sleep, I tip-toed down stairs hoping that a quick walk would set me off to sleep. I was walking past the drawing room and heard voices. My father was home. ‘I will not have him dating her!’
‘They are just friends Hank, he’s 13!’
‘…Just THIRTEEN! By thirteen I was out at work. He should be concentrating on the war rather than girls. He is even refusing to go to school Rebekka, and his friends, he’s been hanging out with all sorts of riffraff and now that girl! I even heard from my friend that he’s been conferring with…’ He whispered the last word so that all I could here was ‘pirates’ I pictured gangly men with funny hats and long socks, this image made me laugh. I ran up the stairs quickly stifling laughter until I hit my pillow, I fell asleep that night with a large grin on my face and didn’t think of my mother and father’s conversation for another two years…
10th May 1943, Germany
So much had changed in the last two years. I had grown up quickly after my mother left us. My brother spent all his time locked up in his room or with his new friends. Since Ester’s disappearance three months ago my brother hardly talked to me and my father was constantly busy with the SS or converting the attic. I just sat, or read, or cried. All my friends had been evacuated except me and now my mother was gone, I had no-one left. I endured my fathers rage alone.
My heart ached every time I thought of my mother. Before her death I was so naïve to the world, not realising how much pain was happening under my own roof. I blamed my father, and even my brother who was hurting himself. If only I had known the pain to come, if I had had time to think would I have done it, I still don’t know? I was curious about my fathers ‘conversion of the attic’ it had been a long time since I had been up there and three months ago he had banned me from entering it. I thought all my answers were there and so I set off.
15th August 1951, Germany
This was the end of my story, the end of Lorelai Mayer as an innocent child. I crouched down in the position me and my brother had sat one cold December night and I cried. I cried for me, I cried for my stupidity. I cried for all my stupid decisions, and one in particular…
10th May 1943, Germany
I stepped cautiously up the narrow staircase leading to my destination, each step I took sounding much louder than the last. I glanced behind me waiting to be discovered, but no steps followed. My dress swayed around my ankles, I looked down anxiously trying to quiet the offending noise with my glare. I paused quickly before reaching out for the door handle, what was I doing? Why was I even here? What was I looking for? My curiosity got the better of me. I opened the door. My eyes took a minute to adjust, only to realise that I was in absolute darkness. I stood for a while pondering what to do, I had always been scared of the dark and I wasn’t about to try and beat my fears now. I started to back away, my foot tripping over the uneven planks of wood behind me. I fell.
Me stomach twisted inside of me, and sent my brain in to turmoil, for that second I thought I would die. I think now maybe that would have been easier, I did not die. Instead large hands gripped my waist and steadied me, a gasp of relief left my lips, until I realised I was not meant to be here. I arched my neck back looking up at ‘my saviour’. My father looked down at me, his stone cold eyes boring in to me. I jumped up, looking down at the floor as my father grabbed on to my weak shoulders. ‘What did you see?’’ he spat. I couldn’t get the words out, I tried, I really did, but my words were choking me all I could do was scream as he shoved me. I landed awkwardly on to something surprisingly comfy. I looked up at my father, ready to apologise for trespassing, only to see the horror that was written on his before stern face. I looked down and realised the reasoning behind his revulsion. I had fallen on to a body, but not just any body, the body of my mother.
And with a cry of repugnance I shattered. My whole life fell through my fingers. I looked up at the creator of my pain, the man who had let me mourn for my mother, when he had been the reason for her death. All I knew then was that he had killed my mother. That was enough. On 21st May 1943 the death of my mother and father was announced. Two summers later the war ended and I was alone, still running…
15th August 1951
Here I am waiting for the one person who can make it that much better and as I sat in the position me and my brother sat once upon a time twelve years ago, the door opened and in walked my saviour. He sat down beside me, and whispered words of comfort more to himself than me and I returned the favour. We sat like that for along time and when I looked up I saw the same image in my mirror as twelve years ago. Two scared children, there mission to always protect each other.