“It is time to live now, Cilka,” he [Alexandr] says. “Without fear, and with the miracle of love.”
“Is that a poem?” she asks him, smiling through her tears.
“It is the beginning of one.”
There, in front of her, is another train carriage, on a cattle train painted red.
Tomorrow will be a repeat of today, and the next day, and the next week, and for Cilka the next fifteen years.
Despair overwhelms her.
Taking the dead baby from his mother’s arms is one of the hardest things Cilka has done in her twenty years.
“I just want to live. I need to feel the pain I wake up with every morning, knowing I am alive, and my family aren’t. This pain is my punishment for surviving and I need to feel it, live it.”
“There is something else I have to tell you,” Alexandr says seriously.
Cilka stares at him. Waiting for more.
“I’ve fallen in love with you.”