“Hope is the thing with feathers-
That perches in the soul-
And sings the tune without the words-
And never stops at all- … “
“Hope is the thing with feathers-
That perches in the soul-
And sings the tune without the words-
And never stops at all- … “
July 3, 1938
Why? Why must it be so hot? Ella was my dear friend. We have been friends ever since the fourth grade. I find it fascinating that of all the camps in Europe, we both wound up here at Buchenwald. Ella and I would play dolls, cops, and doctor. Those memories of long summer days will forever be etched into my mind. In fact, that is all that I have left now- memories. Today, Ella died. Cause of death? Heat mixed with extreme starvation. Ella is missed greatly. She was 17 years old, the same as I. When you’re young, everything seems like it’s the end of the world- but it’s not. Not even when you’re a young child that is on the end of a string. And this string- this foul, disgusting, humiliating string- belongs to none other than Hitler himself. And I? I am his hopeless, lonely, desperate puppet. We all are.
July 4, 1938
It is Independence Day in America. While everyone is celebrating, laughing, feasting, and spending time with their loved ones, I am in here. In here dying, crying, starving, and remembering my loved ones that are long gone. Why? Why must I go from a well respected 17 year old, to this? A speck of dirt under the shoe of humanity. As people have always said, “I’d rather have a minute of wonderful, than a lifetime of nothing special.” I have lived a good life. But, that does not mean that I will ever stop fighting for my life. I don’t give up. EVER. Giving up is giving in. Giving into the touching hand of man kind. I just swat at it’s wrist and walk away shaking my rear showing it what it’s missing.
July 8, 1938
I apologize to you for not writing in several days. Those several days nearly killed me, LITERALLY. Through tough times we all need an escape. Whether it be a break up, troubling financial problems, or even the holocaust, we all need an escape. We all need to get the bad thing off of our mind to make it seem like it never even happened in the place. But then, reality seeps back in (like the seepage that I am so use to seeing in this hauntingly disgusting place), and the smells, feelings, and pure despair return. After I write, I smell the decaying flesh, I feel the cold eyes staring at me under black, patched hats. I know that I am not free, and I may never be. When you first arrive, they tell you that this is your new home. It’s been said that “Home is where the heart is”. This place is not a home. It is a house (metaphorically speaking of course). And the only heart here is the ones that you may find laying out, cold and alone on the streets like a gamin, among the many, many bones. I miss my family more than anything. I have no clue where they are, whether they’re dead or alive, or even whether or not I will find them IF I ever get out of here. Well… ALIVE that is. We were all sent to different camps. I have been beaten by Nazi-German soldiers, I have lost my dear friend, I have been humiliated. But nothing will ever… EVER amount to losing my family. My name is Deborah Eliza Levy and I am a child of the holocaust.
Deborah lead a very successful life. She stayed in Buchenwald, until it was liberated in 1944. After that, she went back to her hometown of Sopot, Poland. The streets were lined with trash and her house was no longer there. After she got on a plane to New York, she noticed that a man with a familiar figure was sitting seven rows in from of her. In hysteria, she ran to the front of the plane to see if it was the man that she had always loved and adored- her father. But to her misfortune, it was just an elderly shoe salesman. Deborah was the only survivor of her family. Deborah came to New York with 38 dollars in her pocket, ambition in her heart, and this journal in her hand. Deborah loved the big city, but after the holocaust she couldn’t take being around big crowds. Deborah met and married Thomas Scott Covington, a famous book publisher, at the age of 28. She became a writer and moved with Thomas to Weeki Wachee, Florida. The two lived happily together with their two children Sarah and Gabe Covington, until Deborah died due to smoke inhalation, in 2001, at the age of 76. Her books can be found all over the world, but her story is known by few.
He had a loquacious way about him. I quickly found him jejune, in my search for words that are only found in lexicon, such as nanotechnology. I wanted to kow-tow him in his efforts to sustain a conversation with someone as belittling and nihilistic as I. But, just as I look up from my paperback of word searches, his voice seemed lugubrious and I acknowledged him. Those thick, round glasses and that deep stare. Not the stare of a thinking man, but the stare of a young man who has just discovered that he will be a father- desperate, puzzled, and searching for a way out.
“Tell me about the sunset.”
I scrambled to find myself.
“Um… excuse me?” I reply, now actually conversating with the man.
“Tell me about the sunset.” he said. “What’s it like?”
A million words danced in my head but only one word cha-chaed more than the others- “beautiful”, was all that I could manage. Then, after just a moment of thinking, a smile appeared on my face.
” The jade, soft pinks, lavenders, baby blues, and amarillos all sway together as one around the sun. It looks like a new born baby whose mother was told she could never have kids. It looks like an old married couple sitting on their porch in their rockers, sipping iced tea and lemonade, with their grandchildren listening intently as they tell the story of how they met, fell in love, and started a family. It looks like pure happiness.”
And with this, the man- still staring off of the pier, past the water, and into the horizon- removed his sunglasses. A single tear rolled off of his cheek and landed on his tattered pants.
“Everyday I come here and everyday someone sits right where you’re sitting and everyday I ask them to tell me about the sunset, but, no one has ever answered me until now.”
And in that moment, I realized that I could spend the rest of my life trying to describe this sunset, but no amount of explaining will ever do it justice.
We both sat and watched the sunset, smiling. No words; just smiles of two starry eyed children at heart. Even a nonsectarian could appreciate such divine beauty, set forth by such simple, yet complex materials. Clouds and light that create a simplistic, transiscst- like getaway, into the unknown. And this man will never see this gossamer ray, draped over the Earth like a blanket draped over an infant, shielding it from the cold.
August 9, 1898
I write to you today with much good news. I saw her. She’s real! She’s absolutely beautiful! Her every amazingly sculpted crevices, her shiny copper face- the face of freedom.
Upon arriving at Ellis Island approximately 2 months ago, we were led off of the steam boat and into the building. The conditions while in the boat were unbearable. Nothing like those of crowded steam boats back home in Weis Badden or Bad Krueznach. People from left to right reeked of bodily wastes and vomit. Some were even covered in lice, bed bugs, maggots, and other unspeakable parasites.
Once everyone was unloaded, we were then led into a long line to get inspected. They tested us for every disease imaginable. They examined us as if we were dogs in a dog show.
Those of us who had a friend or family member in America to vouch for arrival, were easily passed as American citizens. However, if you didn’t then you had to wait at Ellis Island until someone claimed you. It was very unlikely for a random person to all of a sudden come looking for immigrants to allow to be American citizens. Even when this did happen, it was always people looking for men and their families to come and live in a tiny shack on their land and work the farm and do other hard work, while the man’s wife would do the housework and the children would do any odd jobs assigned to them. I was doomed to never find anything to myself.
One day, a very pretty, very well dressed woman who had obviously come from wealth, walked into the building where a large portion of us were lounging and she examined us with an eery eye. She tried to hide the absolute disgust on her face, but failed to do so with her body as she attempted to keep her distance. She then could no longer take the stench, so she raised her hand to her face and pinched her nose so that the terrible smell escaped from her perfectly shaped nostrils. She quickly scanned people. ou could tell that she was looking for something specific and wasn’t settling for anything less. I suddenly realized that she was only examining women. She was coming closer to me. Everyone was watching her and moving out of her way.
She was then in front of me and I froze in place. This woman was absolutely stunning. he wore a white gossamer dress with a slit up the right side of it, exposing a peachy thigh. The dress had a plunging neck line, with silver and black jewels. The skin which has once appeared peachy, was now a visible pale transluscentness that only reached its appropriate peachiness color at the very upper level on the apples of her cheeks. Her nose had a very unique, very beautiful shape to it. The purplish-red on her lips contrasted from the firing red of her hair.
After finishing her examination, she lowered her hand from her nose and her eyes met mine. The deep green that they held called out a desperate cry for help. She began to speak and when she did her voice sang the song of many birds, that I hear you only find in the deepest rain forests in Africa.
“Do you have any family with you?” she questioned in German while flashing a perfectly white, straight smile.
I took a small pause to collect my thoughts.
“No.” I replied to her in the same language, but not quite the same tone.
She then asked for my name and I told her. We discussed my medical history and abilities. She seemed more then pleased with me, so she vouched for my arrival and took me to her home to work for her and her husband.
I have now been here one month and six days. Every morning I awake at 7:00 a.m. sharp. I make my bed, bathe, dress, and cook breakfast. By this time it is 8:30 a.m. and Mrs. Miller has awaken and eats her breakfast. I have become extremely successful in America, I reside ina cute little cottage back in the woods behind Mr. and Mrs. Miller’s mansion. Although I have only been here for one month and six days, I still haven’t met Mr. Miller. However, I have seen photographs of him from his wedding with Mrs. Miller.
Mrs. Miller acts like more of a friend, rather than an employer and a provider. She even tells me “Please dear, just call me Florence.” Florence invites me to eat breakfast, lunch, and supper with her in the tea room after I prepare it. We talk, we laugh, and once I even saw Florence cry.
Florence and I were talking about the ways of our parents. How child discipline varies from various countries and even various cities.
“That’s absolutely terrible Mrs. Mil-Florence! She swatted you on the rear for stilling Mrs. Molly’s jam jars to catch lightening bugs in?”
Florence’s face lit up and her thin, shimmering lips miraculously pulled back revealing a full set of luminous pearls. She threw her head back and in her bird like call, she laughed a melidious song.
With reminisce in her eyes, she said, “Why, yes. Yes, she did.”
Then her happiness slowly faded to sadness and despair. The muscles around her mouth loosened. Her face dropped, and for the first time ever, I saw Florence for what she really is- a saddened, lonely woman. Never before had she appeared so old. She began to cry, but not the cry that one cries when they’re angered or frustrated, no. This was the cry of nature. The cry of a weeping willow. The cry of a mother bird whose babies have been devoured by a predator, but that wasn’t it. In fact, it was the exact opposite.
“I’m afraid that I may never get the chance to teach my children as my mother taught me. Harold and I have been trying for three long and painful years. I would like to adopt, but I would much rather have a child of my own with MY DNA, MY looks, and to carry on MY traditions.
I moved from the olive green arm chair to which I resided, to join Florence on the silk, floral lounging couch. I embraced this bitter blue jay with the triumphancy of one thousand doves. I held and watched her as the despair ran from her cheeks, to her chin, to her lap; like a beam of dew hesitantly drooping from a window sill.
Sometimes, Florence sends me to the market. The street shops as to where I shop for goods are near the slums. Slums are where the less fortunate, poor immigrants live. The streets are lined with bodily wastes, dead animals, and sometimes even dead humans. I for one, am extremely lucky to be taken in by such a lovely family.
How is everyone? I love you all and I send my best wishes to your health and happiness.
Have you ever had a dream?
A dream of what you want to be?
Not what you want to achieve in this life,
But what you want to experience in your own time.
But when does it really end?
Through the valley and across the land,
Something part of you for which you may never understand.
Some may call it wanderlust,
Yet in our minds it is a must,
To for seek what we must see,
To explore so peacefully.
From the little Indian boy planting the tree,
To the gypsies in the fields all roaming free. Into worlds unknown,
The you for which you’ve never shown.
Stop living off of if’s, and’s, and but’s,
Don’t be just another speck of dust.
Through amarillo fields of grain,
Majestic images dancing in your brain.
Break away from the chains of mankind.
Only then will you find,
They call it wanderlust,
Yet in our mind,
It’s the only thing that can make you crazy, make you stupid, nieve, and just simply piss you off. Yes, I’m talking about love. Every living being has experienced love at some point in their existence. But how can something so divine and utterly fascinating be so unfair? What is a soul-mate anyways? By book definition, a soul-mate is a person who is ideally suited for another as a close friend or romantic partner. Does that necessarily mean that we only have ONE soul-mate? Ever?
Let’s say an individual believed that there will only be ONE soul-mate EVER per human that has ever walked the face of the Earth. Perhaps your soul-mate was born hundreds of years ago or will be born hundreds of years from now.
Maybe one believes that their soul-mate exists in the same time period as them. Still, how is that fair? We get one planet, ONE time period, ONE continent, ONE language, possibly even ONE state, and if you’re going by modern societal majority standards, ONE gender as well. And out of 6 billion people, you’re telling me that I have to find that ONE person that my soul dances and cries out to? The forces of nature finally come together as one. What if we were never suppose to find our soul-mate? What if the earth really does shatter to its very core at the event of two soul-mates finding each other? If these questions were true, even if you married someone and were incredibly happy with them and had children and grandchildren with them, there would always be someone out there that was better for you. What if you were told that you were not allowed to be married to your husband/wife?
Imagine how the shunned gays, lesbians, and bisexuals of the world feel. Some search their entire lives to find out who they are-who they’ve always been- and once they discover themselves, society prevents them from acting on it. Some suffer alone for the rest of their lives, some adopt the old-fashioned (1900’s) way of settling down with the OPPOSITE sex and having children and never being happy. Why do they do this? Simply because misery loves company and loneliness is a suffocating snake and they would rather have a minute of wonderful limelight in society than to go through life unnoticed and persecuted.
While some opposers feel as though they should express their opinions by shoving bible versus down throats, others prefer protesting things such as gay/lesbian marriage. But, why? Why do we- as human beings- criticize others and interject our unneeded and certainly unnecessary points of view? In hopes that one might change his or her behavior?
As humans, have we truly de-evolved so much as to believe that one might stop in his or her tracks to discontinue their actions to please a third party irrelevant person? If anything the person would only want to continue their actions. You may ask “Why?”, and the the answer is simple: because forbidden fruit is always the best. If someone tells you to not do something that you already WANT to do, you’re just going to want to do it that much more.
I not only have sympathy for these unique and beautifully brave souls, but empathy as well. I have empathy for the stares, the snickers, the calling of names, the long pauses of uncomfortable silence after you tell someone, and the daily preachings. Bu, despite how hurtful those things may be, they are not the worst thing that I endure about being an out and proud lesbian. The worst thing about being a lesbian is when you tell someone and they (primarily the male population) exclaim “That’s hot!!”. You mean to tell me that going through life for 18 years with a huge unidentifiable elephant in the room is “hot”? That FINALLY being with who I’m suppose to be with and us going out in public and enduring vicious mental and emotional blows is “hot”? Or not being able to meet her family or always having to be introduced as her “friend” is “hot”? Well I am sorry that I don’t see the enticement in that. We go through it as a team because we love each other and we refuse to be changed to fit a societal mold. And in all actuality, would you have continued reading if I had started this out by saying “My name is Lexi Jones and I am the REAL “L word”….. or would you have shied away from reality?
There are two meanings to everything- the literal meaning and the meaning that only you yourself can find, buried in the depths of your soul and in the imprisonment of your mind. In fact, that is exactly what your mind is. A prison. Unlike a literal prison, you can never escape your mind. You can never get away. You can’t even get parole. You can take something so simple and easy and interpret it into a deeper, more powerful meaning.
For instance, someone could say, “I’d rather have snow, than rain.” The literal meaning of this would be that someone prefers the cold winter wonderland, to the wet, earthy tears of the sky. My own personal deeper meaning of this, is that I would rather come into someone’s life at their absolute lowest point. Because at least then I know that they can’t get any worse. They can only get better.
I believe in empathy rather than sympathy. I believe in KNOWING what it’s like to wake up every morning at 6, just to be reminded that you no longer have to pack your child’s lunch and get them on the school bus. I believe in KNOWING what it’s like to turn the television on cartoons to have in the background to act like everything is okay, just to be reminded that you will no longer hear the occasional giggle of a starry eyed child. I believe in KNOWING what it’s like to walk out of the kitchen with that extra plate, just to turn back around and put it in the trash among all of the other meals for the gone but never forgotten. I believe in empathy rather than sympathy.
I have no personal story of such events. No heart aching tale of how I lost a brother, or a sister, or a friend. No life experience that will dampen the eyes and sadden the heart. Nothing. Nothing but a nack for seeing the world for what it really is, and finding a deeper meaning to everything.
As human beings, we all go through different walks of life. Some with more hills than others, but none of us walk a straight path. There will always be cracks in our grounds, railroads to cross, and bars upon our prison walls. We may not always be able to have empathy, but we can always have sympathy. I’d rather have snow, than rain.