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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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similiesslipsimiliesslip on February 21st, 2012 03:40 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you are writing about this. In our self-absorbed culture, I think it is so important to remember to think of others and what they went through in the past. Our problems are so small.

So many people find it easy to dehumanize others and see them as annoyances rather than human beings.

I can't imagine trying to exist like this. The determination of the Jews is inspiring in the midst of sadness.

I like how you took the prompt and wrote about something that matters. I wish I had used the prompt to look beyond myself.

Thank you for these reminders. We should never forget what they went through.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 21st, 2012 10:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for your kind words, here.

I've been a little frustrated with the prompts recently, in that they have turned me toward a lot of humorous writing when I'd hoped for more variety and 'leeway.'

My immediate reaction to this prompt was something more everyday, possibly from my job, which might have been safer. But that is not all that I came here to write, and once in a while I need to write about things that actually matter to me rather than just "are."

This topic... it fit so well with the prompt, especially because of how difficult it would be to go through an experience like this. You can't truly forget yourself, or you risk death. Yet if you don't try to forget a little, you might not make it through to the end. It's an impossible dilemma, where hopelessly shifting back and forth might be the only thing that helps you survive it.