Oaks drag alongside the road, weighted by yesterday’s snow. There’s Frauka walking alone, the hood of her parka snow-lit against the trees. I pull over. How is he? But before I can answer, I see them last summer: Frauka, and Father leaning on Mother, wanting to believe her will can make him well. Sitting on the lawn, pretending to read, I am unable to tell them, My legs won’t walk. Go on without me. Eleven years I’ve protected them— Holocaust survivors—by not naming my disease. Wishing them dead before they’d see me in a wheelchair. Frauka whispers, My younger brother died one day before your father. Tears rim her eyes, her slim body shivers in the wind. For a moment we are closer in our sorrow than we’ve ever been.
Copyright © 2005 Joan Seliger Sidney. Used with permission of CavanKerry Press.