I look out the window. I witness the last leaf of autumn fall from the now naked oak tree, framed like a picture through the window frame. Once… Once I would’ve been able to breathe the fresh air and feel the crunch of the fallen leaves beneath my feet. But no. Not anymore.
Brick two story buildings tower above my head, paint peeling off the sides of wooden shops, and the smell of the baker’s fresh bread piercing my nose. I feel so free, but I am labelled. Why? Why am I the one wearing the yellow star? This is not me.
Thinking back to 4 months ago I took everything for granted the fresh air, the old buildings, school, friends, freedom… I have none of that now, not since Hitler became our ruler controlling my destiny. I was so stupid. And I am stuck. Constantly in a battle against myself, it is driving me insane being trapped within these four walls. I’m 17, a women, not a pet, not an object, I don’t belong caged up. I’m meant to be living my life, not hiding from it. Within the four walls I now exist within are essentials, nothing more. I share a room, i have no personal space, not like in our old house, with my own room. Constantly I can feel tension, so much it could be cut with a knife. There’s only so much time you can spend around 1 person and I think my time has expired by at least 4 months.
4 months of hiding, 4 months since I saw my friends, 4 months since I walked free in the world, and 4 months since I had the basic right of breathing fresh air, not some stuffy recycled air from our hide out that I have bound to have breathed in uncountable times already. Days are getting colder the thin lining of wallpaper over the rotten wooden slabs barely holds out the crisp air of the winter approaching. I always help Ma prepare dinner, that’s where it’s warmest. We can’t afford a fire, not because we are poor but any hint of smoke would betray our hideout and that is a death sentence. So I hover my hands above the stove top in between preparing the vegetables to capture the slightest bit of heat to soak through my body. I want nothing more than to be able to live in freedom in my own town, live without fear, walk down the footpath embracing laughter with my friends. But it’s not safe and I don’t know if it ever will be again for me to stand on my own two feet alone beyond these walls.
My dream has come true but it is my worst nightmare. I’m outside, and I’ve never wanted to be back inside more. These people feel like we deserve to be treated like dirt, I am a lady and a man is shoving me around as if I don’t have feelings? I guess that is what the world has come to over the past 4 months of hiding out. Everybody forgot how to love, how to treat each other and now I am taken.
Taken, trapped… I am so scared, suddenly I see my life flashing before my eyes. The fear of the unknown, what is going to happen to us now? The only thing I know is that it is no good, of all the rumours none of them have been good. I lost track of where we were a couple miles back, caged within the back of a truck the only thing surrounding me is the darkness and breathing, I’ve become so disorientated. I feel stripped of life and all I’ve done is sit in a truck. Emotionally I am exhausted. Pearls of emotion roll down my cheeks, the sound of the silent sob fills the air. My shoulder aches from the strength of the hand from one of those men forcing me against my will. Respecting a women is suddenly none existent to these men. It’s only a dream, wake up…. WAKE UP! I close and open my eyes and all I remain to see is blackness… this is a reality. The truck slows to a stop, the driver door slams shut. I hold my breath, close my eyes. I don’t want to see anywhere but home. The back door opens suddenly I am swarmed by another wave of emotions. Not here please… anywhere but here.