I thought I’d never see her again after the war started twelve years ago. We were in Germany on a two week vacation visiting my family when tensions between the two sides seriously escalated. Ida, concerned about our children back in the states, immediately left for America while I stayed behind in Germany to make arrangements to bring my elderly parents back to America with me. But within a few days of Ida’s leaving, virtually all borders were closed.
I contacted the American Embassy, but I was told that they were overwhelmed with people wanting to get back to the States and mine was not a hardship case. And then the war started and any chance of getting back home to America with my parents, much less alone, was gone.
At first, Ida and I were able to communicate via telephone, emails, and text message, but as the war wore on, most forms of communication across borders was halted. Even old fashioned letters via mail ceased to be delivered.
The situation in the small village in Germany where my parents lived had deteriorated. Most things we take for granted, like plentiful food, clothing, and sundries, were in short supply. I worried about our ability to survive as the war dragged on and on. And worse, being totally cut off from Ida and my kids for so long made my life close to intolerable.
In the eighth year of the war, first my father and then my mother, passed. I constructed makeshift coffins for them and buried them in their small home’s backyard. With no end to the war in sight, I was feeling overwhelmed by loneliness and the fear that I would not survive to ever see my wife and children.
At one point I was close to starvation and was contemplating ending my life, but then word started spreading that the war was finally over and peace was at hand. I decided to travel to the American embassy in Berlin to see if they could get me on an expedited list to travel back to the States.
As soon as I arrived in Berlin, I went to the embassy, but as I approached the building I heard someone call my name. I looked in the direction of the woman’s voice and my heart nearly stopped. It was my Ida. We ran toward each other and embraced for what must have been five minutes. I was crying and whispered in her ear, “Ida, I’ve been praying for this day for twelve long years.”
Ida looked at me, smiled, and said, “You look like shit.” Then she kissed me hard one more time, grabbed my hand, and said, “Come with me, my love. Our children are at the hotel and are eager to get reacquainted with their long lost father.”
Written for Sadje’s What Do You See? prompt. Photo credit: Gennaro Leonardi @ Pixabay.