Esther Rosenbaum froze in panic. Her strong will and survival instinct unthawed her quickly as she stealthily ducked behind the pile of shoes. The shoes of her fellow people who had been murdered. If she was seen by the Shutzstaffel she would be among them. There were several she could see, thankfully all either with their back turned or staring off elsewhere. As grotesque as it made her feel, she felt no better option at the moment then to burrow herself into the shoes. She managed dig to herself a niche and found an odd comfort in the pile as she dozed to sleep.
Esther screamed in fear as she was grabbed by firm hands out of the pile of shoes. The soldier squared her up in front of him and shook her while yelling at her. “Mom! Mom! What are you doing?”
Norman shook his mother trying to bring her back to reality. He felt a sudden guilt, knowing how long it had been since he had last visited. The house was a disaster and his mother had become a hoarder. The major thing she hoarded was shoes and he found her dug into a pile of them. As he was gathering his thoughts over the strange pattern of behavior, Esther came out of her fugue and embraced Norman.
“Oh Norman, I’m so happy to see you!”
“Good to see you too, mom, but what were you doing in the pile of shoes? What is going on?”
Esther stood confused, unsure of how to answer it. Norman held her by the hand and said “Come on, mom let’s go sit in the living room.”
As they sat down Norman noticed the black and white photograph on the coffee table. He picked it up and looked at it in awe, realizing it was a photo of a pile of shoes from a concentration camp during the Holocaust. Tears welled up in his eyes as things became crystal clear to him. The crude and simple black “KL” tattoo on his mother’s left forearm wasn’t a stupid rebellious thing she had done just to spite her parents like she had told him when he was a kid. It was the permanent reminder of the horrors she saw as a child. The permanent badge of a survivor. The permanent scar that caused her to denounce her Jewish faith. The permanent nightmare she was still occasionally living due to dementia.
Author’s note: Happy Halloween! This was just a quick story that jumped into my brain. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope to get some more frequent posts up.