Day 7

9 Jul

Today, my last day here, was spent wandering through the old city.

It took a while for me to warm up to this city, which seemed so neglected at first, but I’ve begun to see the beauty in what once was. Some buildings survived the war. Others were rebuilt after suffering direct hits. Others remain in ruins (like the street where my Grandmother used to live).

As I walk through the city and my Grandmother shows me where she grew up, where she went to school, where her friends lived, and the ghetto where she spent six weeks, I realise how much I’m going to miss her.

One of the things I love about my Grandmother is that she talks to everybody in Polish, Russian, or English (one of which usually gets her by). Her first question to each person is what language he speaks and the second is how they are doing.

I will also miss her strength.

The old property

When she shows me the building she fought for, and had returned to her, before selling it, she speaks matter-of-factly. There are stores on the bottom. They were never there before. The balconies did not exist. The windows were not as they are but were French glass. The grand staircase she hopes is still there is not.

Upon discovering the staircase is gone she says: “All I can say is thanks God my parents do not see it like this.”

I envelop her in a hug.

“No, it’s okay,” she says. “I’m glad I sold it.”

And we hail a taxi back to the hotel.

Later she tells me it’s all over tomorrow.

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