You and your ancestors have survived so much in the name of civilization, of progress: imprisoned, lynched, persecuted, contaminated by plagues, deformed by fire and calamity, raped, poisoned, oppressed by the rich and powerful, or haunted by those you have oppressed, living death in the camps. All of the worst of human acts and conditions can be found somewhere in the unbroken circle of your historical family and related spirits.
So, do not separate yourself away from these unspeakable things with an arrogant flick of the wrist, or stiff turning of the high jaw. Your eternal spirit has known all evil during the struggle to keep the log of goodness and purity afloat.
Joy and sorrow and the millions of gradations in between fill the pages in the yellowing book of you. You can turn to them for reference at your leisure, but remember that this book is on loan, and one day you must return it, and then return yourself to the air and the earth.
Each moment of your human journey is a vibration arranged in the revolving spheres. A foreigner fainting in the library, lifted in the arms of Nathan – a romantic mad man, waking to the taste of candle light and vintage red wine, iron-rich liver and leeks, a piano for your birthday in an alien but plentiful land. You are recovered and your handsome destiny slides in behind you on the piano stool, reaching around you to play your childhood Schumann as Dixie, and read glorious female poetry to you before bed. Bed – the ample stage of birth and death, and of cyanide suicide in fancy dress. There your destiny becomes a spoon at your back.
These riches from our life moments can entertain and transport others, but you are merely the projectionist, the player.
And what of your choice Sophie? On the screening platforms outside Auschwitz, your Aryan beauty and your flawless German attract attention from Hesse, who wants you in his bed. You are given the choice of keeping one of your two beautiful children with you, and sending the other to the gas chambers. You choose your daughter and she is carried away by jackboots screaming. Your helplessness is off the scale.
Beneath the fading POW camp number on your white forearm, the suicide wrist scars, your decision has broken you. You lie, you protect what little remains, you sacrifice yourself to a mirage of romantic happiness and distress, waiting in and out of drowsiness to be ravished or rejected by the twins of jealousy and delirium. Always alcohol drunk straight to kill the pain.
There is surely a curse on your life set by the good gods for what your father contributed to the extermination of the Jews. Your Nathan, Jewish, consumed with hatred for all goy except intermittently for you.