The lines on the map move from side to side

She rarely got hacked off, but flag burning was on the news a time too many and she blew. Cried out how people shouldn’t burn that flag, they should get down on their knees and kiss it.

Her sentence, like a lot of her sentences, started with no. Like a place-holder, with different meanings according to context. Sometimes it meant well… Other times it meant she was really hacked off. She hit the word burn hard, too. Started with a long boooo through o-shaped lips giving way to a flipping of the tongue behind the teeth, then dove hard towards the back of the throat to grind out the n. Meaty hands falling back into her lap. Back straight, a good eight inches from the back of the couch. Walker, Texas Ranger up next.

I didn’t agree, but her perspective was her own. She’d arrived with a suitcase after waiting years in Brazil. Came there on a boat from Europe with a man she’d met and married in an ex-pat camp in Germany. Spent her teens scrubbing some German woman’s floors while the German woman’s husband and sons were off killing people. Said she probably had it better than some, at least until the end. Alone in her room, ears covered and crying, engines roaring overhead as the bombs fell, she cried wishing she was home with her father and sisters, afraid they were dead. She cried remembering gunfire, hiding under a kitchen table in a farmhouse, hoping the bullets would miss. She cried remembering soldiers knocking on the door one morning. One child from the house had to be registered for work, they said. She went with her father, and they told him to wait outside. Her they shoved inside, stripped her, hosed her down, marched her out back into a box car that let her out in Germany. Where she stood in line until some German woman took her, because floors needed washing.

This was all after the German’s had come, of course. Before that it was the Russians. The way she made it sound, the occupation was fickle like the weather, sometimes German, sometimes Russian. Depended who was advancing that day, who was retreating. It was the Germans got her. The Russians got her husband. Similar train, going East.

Soon after, they moved her country West. The winners decided it would look nice on the map a little more to the left. And so what was the easternmost bit of Poland became Ukraine.

My grandmother is gone now. She doesn’t know the Russians are back. Or that some of those who hug and kiss our flag now are okay with that.

9 thoughts on “The lines on the map move from side to side

  1. Well gosh that was nice to see! Like Pavement reuniting, still sound the same and fucking great. Love that pivot in PoV at the end, and always a sucker for the Floyd reference which I know is one of your favorites, one of mine too. Walker up next? Are you giving us a clue to your name there maybe? I love your writing and have missed it for a while, thanks for sharing and hope you’re doing alright.

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    • Thanks for the nice words there, duder. Yes, those Floyd lyrics are the best, and no, I can assure you that there is no more clue to my name in WTR than there would be in T.J. Hooker, which was equally likely to be on the telly, any given day. Feels good to step out now and again, thanks for being there when I do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah no long breaks like that again please. Come back, come back! And thanks for doing that, no “one and done” here please.

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  2. And you went back and changed the title after you posted it didn’t you?! Ha! Busted. I like this clip better too. Such a good sentiment and you brought it out nicely in the post too, wanting to shift it to the left. Yeah, right. Same thing all over again. Though it’s in our bones isn’t it?

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    • I’ve always had a tendency to George Lucas things after they’re done. Especially when I’m posting-and-running, as opposed to letting things simmer for a while before serving, if you will. It’s kind of like serving the soup before it’s been seasoned. The waiter comes rushing back to the table with a handful of paprika, drops it in the bowl while you’re raising spoon to mouth.

      Liked by 1 person

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