In the Arms of War

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In the fog

Some iron menacing birds are flying above my head. Every day, I can hear their buzzing engines when they are near my home. I know, when they come and leave. Sometimes, they bring death and dust, sometimes just fear. I just do not know yet who, when or what might be their next target. Is there any algorithm or recipe that might give me a clue? They are like dragons, spitting fire and causing chaos. Today, they seem to be more settled, so I decided to go to the coffee shop and read my book. I have passed crowds rushing through Long Lane. Since the beginning of invasion, people of Gdansk have been anxious, so have I...

To me, the sky is grey each day. In my dreams, I have been walking through the fields, surrounded by fog. I am feeling lost, cut off from the past, joyful times, when me and my little brother were playing next to the river. I used to swing for hours, thinking about my future. Now, I am here, the only pleasant and safe place I know, except my acting school. Here I am, only me, my book and a cup of white coffee with cinnamon. Oh dear, it might be something else...there, the German officers, on the other side of the street. Looking out of the window, I can see them talking. The other two are carrying some artworks, which belong to the gallery. Feeling a hot blood stroking my face, I begin to stand up. Slowly and stiffly, I am moving towards the exit door. Holding my book close to my chest, pushing it tight against my body. My right hand is clenched, my breath is flat and fast. I am leaving the cafe and heading towards the Germans.

- Was machen Sie? (What are doing, sir?) I am ask the question. - These artworks belong to the gallery.

- I know, but we got the order to remove them from the building. The young officer answers. His blue eyes seem so curios and smart. The shape of his face is regular, lips are prominent and his nose straight and narrow. - You should not be here, young lady. You would better go home. This is not your concern, what we are doing here. We are working.

I can not simply give up. - So, where are you taking them?

- This is not your business. He answers coldly.

- It is my business, because this gallery is the public property with all the artworks that you are removing from! This is the Polish heritage! I am personally attached to it! So, will you tell me, please?

I am thinking and directing my eyes at two German soldiers carrying another piece of artwork. I remember, that I used to come to this gallery with my mother. We could walk through the bright, warm rooms and discuss our views about particular artwork, share our interpretation and understanding of it. I can still remember the scent of paint of each individual room and the sound of the old wooden, brown floor. I noticed that the officer, I spoke to a while ago, is staring at me now. I am feeling so disappointed and angry, I may say something that I may rather regret later. I shall go home.

- Was is deine name? Suddenly, the young officer asks.

- Laura. My short answer.

He is approaching me closer and quietly says: - You are bold. There are not many young women like you.

- You need to be careful with words you say, Laura. I am just warning you. This place belongs to us now. We are going to live here. The artworks will be kept safe. After a while he adds: - I am lieutenant Alex. He takes a deep breath and continues: - We are in war. Poland does not exist anymore, the country belongs to the Reich. You would better accept that. You may go now.

Full of sorrow, I am turning my face away from the officer and slowly heading back to the cafe. I finish my coffee, pick up my raincoat and walk off.

Since the beginning of last summer, two German soldiers with their family have been occupying our house, living in a small conservatory room, next to my bedroom. My little sister, Wanda quiet often spends her time playing in my bedroom. I have kept for her all my colouring pencils and if possible, I try to smuggle some papers of the theatre school. She seems to enjoy drawing and in my humble opinion, she is pretty good as a three years old girl.

My younger brother, Zygmunt is just eight. He attends the German school. He has been doing very well so far, that the German headmaster called our mum once to meet him in his office. He stated, that if Zygmunt continues his hard work as he does, he will personally reward the boy by giving him a nice sledge for Christmas. He is a very smart child, he has always been. Zygmunt is a charismatic child with extremely blue eyes and light blond hair. He often draws attention of people when we walk down the street. Even Germans approach us to exchange some words with him. His fluent German is impressive.

Saturday morning. I have read some manuscript that needs to be transformed into the script for theatrical performance.

I miss my dad, who fights on the western front against German army. Sometimes, I cannot focus on reading as I think about him. Somehow, he managed to abscond the occupied Poland and joined the Polish Highland Battalion. I have not heard from him since he left us...My mum is a dressmaker. She works from home and fortunately is always available when we need her. We enjoy cooking together. She bakes amazing cakes. She also helps me a lot with my acting course. She supports the whole school by designing and making costumes for our performances. I am incredibly proud of her.

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