We were waiting for the Americans, thankful they and not the Russians, had
defeated us. I was hungry, so was my daughter. The soldiers arrived,
marching through the town. Most of them were black. We had been brought up
to believe blacks were an inferior race. How had they defeated us? They
marched proud and strong. One of them smiled at me. I smiled back, and
watched him as he passed. I followed the soldiers to their barracks. Lots of
us did. I waited outside the Bundeskanzleramt. He came out with two friends.
I went over to him, begging, signaling my hunger from hand to mouth. He
smiled, said farewell to his friends and led me to a side alley. He smelt of
cologne. Whatever kind of soldier smells of cologne. I continued to show my
hunger. My daughter followed. I told her to wait in the street. He led me to
a doorway, slid his hand up my skirt. We had sex. I felt dirty. I cried. We
went back to the street. He gave me money and pointed to the clock.
Tomorrow, he said.
The next day he arrived with a parcel of toys, food and clothes. This was
not the subhuman species I’d been told to fear. We went to a cheap hotel. We
ate, had sex. Then we went to the park where Lisette played on a broken
swing. His name was Moses. I tried to tell him I was a teacher. I mimed. We
Sex was our only communication. There were so many questions I couldn’t ask
him. How long had he been in Germany? Where had he fought? Did he kill my
husband? I asked him, Waren Sie an Normandie? He didn’t understand. I
said, Ich liebe dich. He understood that.
We met as often as he could. He always brought food. Lisette loved him.
Then one day he didn’t turn up. I heard he’d been moved. A friend of his
gave me a letter. I had it translated. He told me he loved me. He wanted to
marry me. He would come back for me.
He never came. I didn’t know what had happened to him. I missed a period. I
was pregnant. I still waited. I gave birth to a boy. I called him Moses. I
wanted to go to America.
Everyone sneers at me because my son is mixed race. Other boys throw stones
at him and call him kaffer. Isn’t it enough that millions died for nothing.
Are our hearts still filled with hatred? A friend told me to say I’d been
raped; perhaps people would have more sympathy for me. But I couldn’t do
that. Moses was the gentlest man I ever met.
I work as a cleaner. Lisette is nine, Moses four. I wait. He might come