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You always forget. You say the word History and you forget it means People, and people are like you. You say the word Grandma and you forget that it means someone real, a person with her own story, someone who spent nine years in a soviet orphanage, someone who was in a movie once because she walked past the studio in a pretty blue dress when the director came out for a smoke - and a myriad small things besides, which nobody thought important enough to tell you.
You forget that your grandfather had an older brother once, who died during the evacuation, thirteen forever.
You forget that he didn't get into university because he was Jewish, but he stayed out because he wasn't brought up as independent and self-assertive as his best friend, who travelled to Moscow and argued and became a physics professor. That he lost two fingers from his right hand in one of the silly industrial accidents that happen every day. You forget he has a story; he is a person, not just the jumble of association
Thoughts of a Hopeless Soldier
The time has come. We can feel it in our heads, the increase in temperature, the pressure rising, the nervousness evident in our fellows. Rolling down upon us, knocking into us, the unstoppable force - and we, the objects, are far from immovable. We huddle together in fear, all ten of us, as if it could delay the inevitable. It's coming, we know it is. And when it does... well, it's all up to our luck. Perhaps it will just clip the sides - some of us will go down, but not all. Or it might miss completely. We hardly dare hope.
We are hardened veterans, most of us - our leader has gone through this countless times, I myself also (although not enough to stop the fear - never enough), but each time it is as new. The unbearable knowledge that there is nothing we can do. The terrible, terrible helplessness. We cannot fight it, we cannot stop it, but still they send us out, ten at a time. Those that survive, towards the front. I am second in line. I can see the leaders battle scars - he has s
Shaking off, throwing off
And floating in the mists
The inkblots of the mind
And sink into the light
All that's left behind
Is blood on the road
And a chalk outline on the pavement.
Nine TimesI saw him nine times.
The first time we were both sitting in the room together, getting ready to take the math test that would determine our placement. I was scatterbrained and throwing things around, trying to find the pencils that I had known I would need but had still just tossed in my purse. He was lounging backwards in his chair, looking for all the world as though he didn’t have a single care in the world, including the upcoming test. It annoyed me, that I was frantic and ready to scream, while someone else could be that relaxed.
I tested out of the class.
I don’t know if he did.
The second time I saw him, it was a few months after I arrived on campus. He was the one rushing and frantic this time, running across the square. He was probably late for class, though I had no way of knowing for sure. I was already lost in my own thoughts and ideas, deciding on my major and convincing people that yes, this is what I really want to do with my life. If they weren
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