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20 February 2012 @ 01:45 pm
The Real LJ Idol: "Vigilance" (PG)  
the real lj idol | week 15 | 389 words


You asked and I answered, as near the truth as I could get.

I am not nervous or worried, or anything so simple.

I am terrified. Each waking moment is an agony of potential discovery and death.

You know this yourself—we are trapped here together, close-quartered and cloistered down below the floor. We struggle to stay quiet, to eat little, to achieve near-invisibility and yet be thankful for this burden cloaked in chance.

Human beings are not meant to live with constant panic. It is a poison that threatens our sanity, so we try to think of anything else, to force a smile now that laughter is gone. A deck of cards, a few well-read books, and whatever memories we can conjure are all that stands between us and the truth of the soldiers on the streets who relentlessly try to find us.

We whisper warnings in the dark, and try to reclaim the sense of light by telling stories and sharing foolish dreams.

All of the news comes from rumors too terrible to believe: this person, that town. Taken.

No one ever comes back.

But we know those are not just rumors. All of the papers reported on Kristallnacht, on the deaths and destruction, and the Germans invaded new countries, including ours. We know how right we are to be afraid, and how lucky we are to have friends who are willing to hide us.

It is difficult to be so obligated to someone. Living in the dark, with the mice and dirt and the ever-present danger of detection, having to be grateful carries a weight of its own. Yet, we are. We do not have a choice.

It is terrible to live in silence, as if we are already ghosts. Even our tears (our desperation) must be noiseless, to keep from unsettling our saviors above.

So we try to distract ourselves, pretend we are somewhere else or that this threat will someday end. The reality is still too pressing for us to ever let it go.

Dwelling too much on our situation will surely drive us to despair. But neither can we forget.

Our safety hinges on the slightest sound. If we ever lose sight of that, the terror and frustration might escape in a long-suppressed scream that brings the whole world crashing down around us.

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medleymisty: booksmedleymisty on February 20th, 2012 11:27 pm (UTC)
I read every book the local library had on the Holocaust the winter that I was 9. I mostly remember two of them - Martin Gray's For Those I Loved and a thick white hardback named Treblinka.

Fascism has haunted me ever since. It feels sometimes like humanity, the species that is capable of this, is a giant black tidal wave crashing down on the planet and destroying everything in its path. I've had nightmares like that before.

This is a very well-crafted piece of that nightmare.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 21st, 2012 08:03 am (UTC)
I can't imagine learning about the Holocaust at age 9. I'm not sure when I first learned about it, via reading the Diary of Anne Frank, but I was just devastated to realize that people could do such things to one another.

Have you ever read "Briar Rose," by Jane Yolen? It retells a Holocaust version of Sleeping Beauty that works so well, you would think that fairy tale was always meant as an allegory for such a story.

This is such an important and serious subject that it must be told and retold so as not to be denied or forgotten.