AWIB, pp. 10 – 11

Saturday, April 21, 1945, 2 a.m.

Bombs that made the walls shake. My fingers are still trembling as I hold my pen. I’m covered in sweat as if from heavy labor. Before my building was hit I used to go down to the shelter and eat thick slices of bread with butter. But since the night I helped dig out people who’d been buried in the rubble, I’ve been preoccupied, forced to cope with my fear of death. The symptoms are always the same. First the sweat beads up around my hairline, then I feel something boring into my spine, my throat gets scratchy, my mouth goes dry, my heart starts to skip. I’ve fixed my eyes on the chair leg opposite, and am memorizing every turned bulge and curve. It would be nice to be able to pray. The brain clings to set phrases, fragments of sentences: “Pass lightly through this world, for it is nothing . . . and each one falls as God desires . . .

Note to Anonymous: My dear, you write so well. Don’t let the troglodytes destroy your spirit. You can’t possibly know what’s coming, but my gut twists with dread. Just don’t let them destroy your spirit. That is all.

Stay tuned.

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