'Together We Fall' by Hilary Slade
We all know that families tend to drift apart over time. Even though they’re tied by blood it seems to mean less and less these days. We have been separated too long.
As the crowd gathers on top of the wall we all feel the weight of it. Beneath us, either side of us, all around us. My heart thumps a little faster. I want to see this thing fall. Every person I see has something in their hands- hammers, chisels. Tonight we will bring it down.
It’s now. My arm moves instinctively, raising the hammer over my head, bringing it crashing down into the hard unyielding concrete. The sharp vibration from the impact races up my arm. It’s unbelievable. It’s not just me. This is all of us.
I can’t stop my eyes from constantly flicking over to the guard towers. They’re gone, not here to shoot us on sight for this act of rebellion. But it’s been a long time coming. We want to take back what was taken from us.
Different lives, secret lives have been lived. But I still remember them all just as they were. Their earnest faces ready to do what they needed to survive. They blended in. They’ll surely be here, as ready for me as I am for them. They would wait for me. I was still that boy who worked in a bakery. They knew I was coming when they smelled the fresh bread I brought back every day.
I feel icy beads of sweat break out across my back. They slowly inch their way down. The fear, the adrenaline, the effort it takes to chip away at this thing. It will all be worth it. Somewhere- they are somewhere down there.
But I worry. What if I can’t find them? What if they left without me? Surely I would know. But what if it’s worse. What if I only find denial? No, I can’t believe that. They will be there and they will admit the truth because they were the ones. They told the Gestapo about the Jewish family hiding in plain sight next door. The boy who worked in the bakery who looked after his mother and sisters. They saw them come. They saw them take them away to die. I saw it too. The smell of the bread never reached my mother and sisters that day or ever again. I hid and I watched knowing they were lost to me. Yes, they know the wall is coming down and I am coming for them.