"Bailey, hurry up," Mother's voice was so dangerous that I dared not tell her I could not make myself move faster. I scrambled into my boots and went over to Ingrid's cot. I picked her up and cradled her carefully as Mother did the buttons up on my duffel coat, which at 12 were still a struggle for me. Mother had Ingrid bundled up before I could blink and before I realised I was even out of the house, we were half way down the garden path.
"Where are we going?" I asked as I stumbled slightly; my breath made a little cloud in front of my face in the frosty January air. Mother did not seem to hear me and she kept walking, her long legs made it hard for me to keep up with her. It was 1935 and things were starting to change around me. There was a new law being passed and my Mother wanted to meet someone. Ingrid and I still are not quite sure who it was, but whoever it was, Mother was frantic to meet him. Oddly enough, the strongest memory I have of that day is when Mother collided with Herr Schiller, the young Jewish man who I had always had a smile for.
"Hallo Frau Skye," Herr Schiller greeted Mother with a tip of his hat; Mother looked so shocked that she remained silent.
"Hallo Herr Schiller," I said in a small voice; Herr Schiller smiled at me, but his eyes looked tense.
"Why, Fräulein Bailey, you look so grown." His voice was so sad that I wanted to help him, make the sadness go away. I just did not know at the time what to do.
That was two years ago. Germany seems like such a different place now. I would love to return to the oblivion I had when I was 12 and things were only starting to change. I can see the effects of that damn law every day and it near breaks my heart. Poor Herr Schiller, the sweet young Jewish man, proposed to his beautiful lover 3 years ago and they had been so happy. Whenever they were together, I could not help but notice the way his eyes lit up when he saw her and how tender his brown eyes were when he was looking at her. At first, no one could see why she was attracted to him. Herr Schiller has the kind of handsomeness that you have to be around for a long time to notice. His skin was tough from his work and had a slight colour to it from all the years in the sun. His hair was black and had a nice curl to it, but he liked to keep it short because he always used to complain the curls would get into his eyes. His lover on the other hand, Cecilia, was from a long family of 'pure' Germans and it showed. Cecilia's skin was a shocking shade of white, it was almost translucent and she had hair that was razor straight and the colour of the centre of a daisy. But in 1935 a law was passed, the Nuremburg Law they called it, and it said that a Jew and a German could not be married or have a sexual relationship. So I watched as Herr Schiller had his heart ripped in two as Cecilia's father took her back to Berlin. Elderly couples were forced apart and I can tell you that the sight of couples that could be someone's grandparents being kept away from each other is heartbreaking.
I trudge through the street wearily, trying to get Ingrid to stop crying. She is nearly two and a half now and she still cries a lot. Being outside usually calms her down, but today she just does not want to relax. Mother says that Ingrid cries so much because her teeth are coming through, but I think it is because the young are not so protected from the evil. Of course, parents do not intentionally tell their children of the bad in the world, but babies are so small and defenceless that they cannot protect themselves from the poison in the air and the words and the actions that now seem normal. I remember walking with Ingrid in the watery sunshine that you get during the back end of April, and it started to get dark as my legs got tired. I sat down in the shade and must have fallen asleep, because a gunshot startled me to my senses. I looked up in time to see an SS officer with a gun and my stomach heaved as I saw the body on the floor, pooling in his own blood and his eyes gazing back up at the officer. The look of fear that must have been on his face moments before, washed away by scarlet blood. He stared blindly from the floor. I see more through death than you see through life. The words echoed through my mind as I walked home so quickly I almost felt like I had ran. The sound of the gunshot has been firmly locked in the part of my brain that holds all the bad memories, but Ingrid is not old enough to have that little locked away part in her brain. I know that whenever she hears a loud noise now, she cries and I know that it is because I fell asleep and let her see an SS officer shoot an innocent Jew.