Holocaust. Young woman, withstands the Seasons.
I exhaled, my breath curling around me like hazy ringlets of smoke. My only proof were those sudsy curls.My only proof that I truly was alive. As for now, I’m not quite so sure. The Winter has passed and no more clouds form when I breathe, and so I can’t tell. Maybe, maybe not.
It doesn’t feel like it, I know that much, I remember. I remember when I felt as if I was full, every single inch of me overflowing with life. Back then I never had time to consider that maybe I was lying to myself, I never had much reason either. What was there to pity in myself. You would be hard pressed to find anything, I know I was.
Summer cabins in cool mountains, where the local children looked upon me as both a spoiled princess and a radiant queen. Winters in a warm home of maple wood with fires that quivered constantly in the back of your eyes, and worked so hard to toast your toes. Anything that I could have ever wanted, and so many things that I wasn’t even aware of my desire for. Then I felt as if nothing could ever go wrong. I was invincible, a little Leah of steel.
Now I wonder if all of that has just made it harder. Maybe if I had not now every pleasure that the world could give to me I would not have to deal with the harsh shock of having each and every one of those things taken away from me. I can still see every moment, feel every item under my fingertips when I try very very hard. But I’ve forgotten the smell of a hatbox, and the taste of caramels melting on my lips, and the tiresome and wonderful hassle of plying them away from my teeth with the edge of my tongue.
I’ve been here so long now. So much cold, so much dirt, and work, so much death, so much lack. I look around me and see nothing. Yes, there is dirt, a deep pit filled with waste, Rachel still suspended above the barracks as a lesson to us all. All of those things are evidence of life, the earth in all its great and terrible power would never create such things as surround me, yet I, in my meager wisdom can so easily see that they do not mean a thing.
What does any empty soup bowl, mean when no one speaks, because there is nothing for them to say. What do soiled sheets mean, when hope and need, and most importantly desire, that which drives man, have been lost. So many steps, so many bodies, so many nights, so many lives ago.
I pray for the Winter, although I’m not quite so sure who it is that I am praying to anymore. I beg whoever may be listen, whoever may not be for the ice cold, and the wisps of air that escape my mouth and float in front of my eyes. The rotating rhythms of my lungs that let me know that I am here, I am yet to leave. As hard as they, as it has tried they have not beaten me. I need the Winter to teach me that I can endure anything, that I am strong, and wise and noble. That I am comparable to the Winter in my force and beauty and worth.
The Spring that so many admire can not come without the Winter, the Winter that refuses to set it’s eyes on me again. The Winter that I long for like heroines long for their lovers. The Winter that is deep and long and radiant. The Winter that is more absolute that the guns pointed at our necks and our heels, than the rusted shovels that chafe our hands and burn blood into our fingers, the thick heavy steam that powers from the smokestacks, powered by the flesh of rats.
Rats with children and families. Rats with hearts and the ability to love and hate,and most importantly accept. Rats with minds, that can reproduce charm in notes, and characters, melodies, and soliqoqouys.
I can feel in the wind, the Winter, just when I believe that there is nothing inside of me that propels me. Nothing that gives me good reason to push forward. Hints of Winter blow in on the wind. Dance across my cheeks, and sorrowfully kiss the welts on the backs of my legs. But when I allow myself the rapture inspired by the Winter, it passes like youth and peace and beauty. And when I try to remember the gentle touch of the Winter I can’t remember. I can’t feel it’s fingers gliding along my skin, I know that it was there, but it’s hard to keep knowing. To keep reminding myself that the Winter will still come, as long and as hot, and as dry as the Summer, The Winter is stronger, eternally and infinitely. It overcomes the Summer, even if it must fight so hard. It does, every time.
However, some times I, unlike the Winter, am not strong enough to keep holding on, keep holding my faith in the things that drift on the edges of my being, that only show themselves when my focus is elsewhere, when I can not truly grasp those images. Those moments, those days, those weeks, the ovens beckon me. Their warm yellow fires pulling me back to those cool Winters of sweets and smiles. The thick ash smog transforms into the soot coating the chimney. I want nothing than to crawl inside the blankets of bodies, as if warm, crisp sheets. Nothing carries allure than the thought of closing my eyes and allowing myself to pour away every last once of being that times me to this hell.
The only thing that holds me back is the smell. It reeks of death.Pure rot and decay and the fury of a world reclaiming what it has given. I find nothing more offputting than death. I can’t bring myself to imagine being in that state. When I think of being here no longer, I imagine nothing more than being carried away by the wind. Drifting into eternity as the sweet scent of lavender drifts over the plains. I will not allow anyone to smell the odor of my death. Never, ever, will I become a particle, a bubble that forms into that impenetrable, shadow that hangs over each and ever one of us.
So I must wait, wait through the Summer, as the earth piles itseld into full bloom, away from me and my shell here in these walls, behind these gates, and into the Fall, and finally, one day, the Winter will come. And I will be set free. Free to breath, my breath curling around me as if hazy ringlet os smoke. Free to hold my chin up to the sky and taste the sweet ice as it falls from heaven. A gift from the god I have forgotten. The Winter will come. I will see the Winter again.