Tulips

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story about a girls experiences in the Holocaust

Submitted: February 07, 2009

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Submitted: February 07, 2009

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TULIPS
By Sasha Grabinsky
 
 When I was a young girl, living in the Ukraine… I used to walk about my Ma and Pas garden. They had every kind of flower, but my favorite was the tulip. I remember I picked one, and held it to my heart, and imagined that that would be the way it would be forever. But that was before they came and took it all away.
 
I remember I was out in the garden when they came. The Nazis. They banged on my door and said, “Get out!” When my mama said no, they dragged my little sister Sytle out the door by her arm, and my Pa went running after. We were no match for the guns and sheer terror that the Nazis had.
We went by tank, then by train. We were on the train for one hour, two hours, a day, 2 days, and still no water. Finally on the third day we were given a pail of water, but that was for the ten people in our car to share. I gave most of my share to my younger sister Sytle, for she was only five years old.
When we got off the train we were forced to stand on a line on the wall. And on the wall there was a line. And everyone that was too old to be a slave, they were sent to the gas chambers. My Ma and Pa… and I only had Sytle. And the wall was here. And Sytle was here… and Sytle… was… gone.
The rest of us, the “lucky” survivors of insanity, were made to shower, and then pushed out into the winter cold without a blanket. Our cells were barren; a wood slat cot awaited us at our “humble abode”. We worked and worked. In the dead of night, when we were shivering with frost, there was nothing to warm us. When we were starving, from weeks of nothing but sawdust bread and grass if we were lucky, there was nothing to fill our stomachs. And when our souls cried out for salvation from God, there was no God to save us. And late at night, when the moans and groans of those around me had subsided, was in my tulip field again, with my Ma and Pa and Sytle, and I was happy. And they one of them would open the door, and scream, “Time to work”. And if we didn’t get up fast enough, we would be gone. I considered it.
I was dying, on the inside and out. But somehow I still had the will to survive, to believe that there was still good in the world. So that when Auschwitz was liberated, I still had a little piece of myself left.
But in order to move forward, I had to reconcile with my past. I couldn’t ever forget what happened at Auschwitz, but I shouldn’t let the travesty caused by sick, evil people affect me any more. I had to rise above it.
So ten years later, I went back to my Ma and Pas garden. I didn’t expect that such delicate flowers could survive something so terrible. And none did, except the tulips. And they were stretched as far as the eye could see, a testament to me. To my life. Because the Tulips had survived, and I had survived. And as I ran through the tulips, finally free, I was alive for the first time.


© Copyright 2018 Sasha Grabinsky. All rights reserved.

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