Thursday, 20 November 2014

Holocaust by Anne Ryan-Thomas

Grey surrounds me, somehow filtrating into my stomach and exiting as nausea. I am lost. I rest a minute, leaning against the nearest surface which absorbs the chaos from my head and body. I pull myself off and tackle the ground ahead which resembling corrugated iron now rewires my stomach to my feet as they ebb and flow along.

I'm alone yet walk alongside other confused and disoriented people. Most of us wander around in silence although one bedraggled looking woman shouts out for someone called Eva, maybe her daughter. No-one stops to help.

We walk mainly parallel to each other like chess pawns, imagining the multitude of ways the enemy can strike. A cylinder accidentally shoots at me as I turn a corner but misses as I retrace my last step. The man catches his intended target.

I've lost all my family in here. Dispersed. Will I find them again amongst these walls? I must do, we came here together and must leave together.

The clouds break, I see a distant haze of blue gradually getting stronger.

The pounding in my ears keeps in time with that of my heart and feet and the nausea slightly subsides. The grey remains in the form of structures which cast regular, almost regimented shadows. Light follows shadow, then light again. Patterns: I grasp their safety. Youths huddle in twos and threes, gaining their safety from togetherness. Shutting the rest of the world out: they forget where they are.

The air is suddenly still. I stop. The ground remains uneven beneath. I find a level patch and place myself firmly. I catch my breath. The sky is completely clear now, so near to feel it's breeze again yet still too far. I carry on, desperate to find the others. Hushed voices and even children's laughter echo around but none of them are theirs.

I see trees ahead; the breeze suddenly feels stronger. The shadows becoming shorter. I stop. Straight ahead I can see a gap. My hands tremble as I realise I could get out here. I need to locate my family but also need to get away from this place. I reach the gap.

I see them straight ahead, they have found this exit also. They sit on a low grey plinth eating ice cream and laughing. They have saved one for me but it has melted. I place myself back in reality: Holocaust Memorial. Berlin. August 2013.

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