The Nocturnal Monsters
It had snowed that day, and the sidewalks looked like they were sprinkled all over with jewels. One could hear the crunch of the feet as people walked on the snow. I cannot remember why Mama allowed me to stay up so late. My homework was finished; the rule in our home was that homework had to be finished the day the teacher assigned it to us. I cannot remember the reason why I was still awake and dressed, but it turned out to be a blessing. When time is of the essence, a few minutes are very important for a fast getaway, which is exactly what my mother and I did that night.
I imagined that the monsters slept the entire day, I presume because their work took place at nighttime so that not too many people could see their handiwork.
Every Jew over the age of seven knew that eventually these monsters would come for them; they finally came for us one night . It was cold outside when we heard the knock at the door. Paulina, our maid, answered the door and asked the soldiers standing outside if she could help them. They asked for the Goldbergs. Paulina looked at my mother, who was hiding behind the door. Mama shook her head “No,” so Paulina looked back at the soldiers. I can still hear her nervous cough as she answered, “They are not home.”
While the monsters were at our front door, Mama took our coats from the rack, and we climbed out the back window. We ran four blocks to the trolley and went to my Aunt Toni’s home. This time the monsters did not get their prey.
(Nov 28, 2009)