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2018年10月27日星期六

Between the Shades of Gray_Chapter 1-2

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1
THEY TOOK ME IN MY NIGHTGOWN.

    Thinking back, the signs were there—family photos burned in the fireplace, Mother sewing her best silver and jewelry into the lining of her coat late that night, and Papa not returning from work. My younger brother, Jonas, was asking questions. I ask questions, too, but perhaps I refused to acknowledge the signs. Only later did I realize that Mother and Father intended we escape. We did not escape.

    We were taken.

    June 14, 1941. I had changed into my nightgown and settled in at my desk to write my cousin Joana a letter. I opened a new ivory writing tablet and a case of pens and pencils, a gift from my aunt for my fifteen birthday.

    The evening breeze floated through the open window over my desk, waltzing the curtain from side to side. I could smell the lily of the valley that Mother and I had planted two years ago. Dear Joana.

    It wasn’t a knocking. It was an urgent booming that made me jump in my chair. Fists pounded on our font door. No one stirred inside the house. I left my desk and peered out into the hallway. My mother stood flat against the wall facing our framed map of Lithuania, her eyes closed and her face pulled with an anxiety I had never seen. She was praying.

    “Mother,” said Jonas, only one of his eyes visible through the crack in his door, “are you going to open it? It sounded as if they might break it down.”

    Mother’s head turned to see both Jonas and me peering out of our rooms. She attempted a forced smile. “Yes, darling. I will open the door. I won’t let anyone break down our door.”

    The heels of her shoes echoed down the wooden floor of the hallway and her long, thin skirt swayed about her ankles. Mother was elegant and beautiful, stunning in fact, with an unusually wide smile that lit up everything around her. I was fortunate to have Mother’s honey-colored hair and her bright eyes. Jonas had her smile.

    Loud voices thundered from the foyer.

    “NKVD!” whispered Jonas, growing pale. “Tadas said they rook his neighbors away in a truck. They’re arresting people.”

    “No. Not here,” I replied. The Soviet secret police had no business at our house. I walked down the hallway to listen and peeked around the corner. Jonas was right. Three NKVD Officers had Mother encircled. They wore blue hats with a red border and a gold star above the brim. A tall officer had our passport in his hand.

    “We need more time. We’ll be ready in the morning,” Mother said.

    “Twenty minutes—or you won’t live to see morning,” said the officer. “Please, lower your voice. I have children,” whispered Mother. “Twenty minutes,” the officer barked. He threw his burning cigarette onto our clean living room floor and ground it into the wood with his boot.

    We were about to become cigarettes.

2

WERE WE BEING ARRESTED? Where was Papa? I ran to my room. A loaf of fresh bread had appeared on my windowsill, a large wad of rubles rucked under the edge. Mother arrived at the door with Jonas clinging close behind her.

    “But Mother, where are we going? What have we done?” he asked.

    “It’s a misunderstanding. Lina, are you listening? We must move quickly and pack that is useful but not necessary dear to us. Do you understand? Lina! Clothes and shoes must be our priority. Try to fit all that you can into one suitcase." Mother looked forward the windows. She quickly slid the bread and money onto the desk and snapped the curtains shut. “Promise me that if anyone tries to help you, you will ignore them. We will resolve this ourselves. We must not pull family or friends into this confusion, do you understand? Even if someone calls out to you, you must not respond."

    "Are we being arrested?" began Jonas.

    "Promise me!"

    "I promise," said Jonas softly. "But where is Papa?"

    Mother paused, her eyes blinking quickly. "He will be meeting us. We have twenty minutes. Gather your things. Now!"

    My bedroom began to spin. Mother's voice echoed inside my head. "Now. Now!" What was happening? The sound of my ten-year-old brother running about his room pulled a cord within my consciousness. I yanked my suitcase from the closet and opened it on my bed.


    Exactly a year before, the Soviets had begun moving troops over the borders into the country. Then, in August, Lithuania was officially annexed into the Soviet Union. When I complained at the dinner table, Papa yelled at me and told me to never, ever say anything derogatory about the Soviets. He sent me to my room. I didn't say anything out loud after that. But I thought about it a lot.

    "Shoes, Jonas, extra sock, a coat!"  I heard Mother yell down the hallway. I took our family photo from the shelf and placed the gold frame faceup in the bottom of the empty suitcase. The faces stared back at me, happy, unaware. It was Easter two years before. Grandma was still alive. If we really were going to jail, I wanted to take her with me. But we couldn't be going to jail. We had done nothing wrong.

    Slams and bangs popped throughout the house.

    "Lina," Mother said, rushing into the room, her arms loaded. "Hurry!" She threw open my closet and drawers, frantically throwing things, shoving things into my suitcase.

    "Mother, I can't find my sketchbook. Where is it?" I said, panicked.

    "I don't know. We'll buy a new one. Pack your clothes. Hurry!"

    Jonas ran into my room. He was dressed for school in his uniform and little tie, holding his book bag. His blond hair was combed neatly over to the side.

    "I'm ready, Mother," he said, his voice trembling.

    "N-no!" Mother stammered, choking on the word when breath and lowered her voice. "No, sweetheart, your suitcase. Come with me." She grabbed him by the arm and ran down to his room. "Lina, put on shoes and socks. Hurry!" She threw my summer raincoat at me. I pulled it on.

    I put on my scandals and grabbed two books, hair ribbons and my hairbrush. Where was my sketchbook? I took the writing tablet, the case of pens and pencils and the bundle of rubles off my desk and placed them amongst the heap of items we had thrown into my case. I snapped the latches closed and rushed out of the room, the curtains blowing, flapping over the loaf of fresh bread still sitting on my desk.
~
I saw my reflection in the glass door of the bakery and paused a moment. I had a dab of green paint on my chin. I scraped it off and pushed on the door. A bell tinkled overhead. The shop was warm and smelled of yeast.

    "Lina, so good to see you." The woman rushed to the counter to assist me. "What may I help you with?"

    Did I know her? "I'm sorry, I don't--"

    "My husband is a professor at the university. He works for your father," she said. "I've seen you in town with your parents."

    I nodded. "My mother asked me to pick up a loaf of bread." I said.

    "Of course," said the woman, scurrying behind the counter. She wrapped a plump loaf in brown paper and handed it over to me. When I held out the money, she shook her head.

    "Please," whispered the woman. "We could never repay you as it is."

    "I don't understand." I reached towards her with the coins. She ignored me.

    The bell jingled. Someone entered the shop. "Give your parents our very best regards," said the woman, moving to assist the other customer.

    Later that night I asked Papa about the bread.

    "That was very kind of her, but unnecessary," he said

    "But what did you do?" I asked him.

    "Nothing, Lina. Have you finished your homework?"

    "But you must have done something to deserve free bread," I pressed.

    "I don't deserve anything. You stand for what is right, Lina, without the expectation of gratitude or reward. Now, off to your homework."

2018年10月15日星期一

每周歌曲推荐

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    我这个星期(从八号到十五号)去了安徽旅行,在中国无法登录blogger,故无法发博文,推荐歌曲,特地在这里说明。我在下个星期五会推荐两首歌曲作为补偿☺。

    以下是这次我去黄山的介绍:


--------------    我是分割线    --------------

    这次已经是我第二次去黄山了。

    这次旅行,完全是意料之外的。本来爸爸妈妈带着宝宝出发的那天,我是要和学校里的一些其他同学一起去参加一个去成都的School Trip的,但是后来在出发之前五天去开会了解更多信息时,发现一起去的同学全都是不太会说中文的外国人,而且旅行中很多东西都是用英文讲解的,(再加上我不认识去的同学)所以爸爸就帮我补了一张去黄山旅行的机票,就这么定下来了(幸好没有提前收拾行李)!

    博客都写好了:http://becomingcelia.blogspot.com/2018/10/trip.html,结果……
    不过和爸爸妈妈一起去也挺好的啦。本来去成都是想锻炼自己的交友能力和leadership的,和爸爸妈妈去黄山学到的东西肯定会多很多,就可以多写一点博客啦。

    下面这个是我上次去黄山时学校写的游记:



2018年10月8日星期一

润良——下凡者的遭遇

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    这是我,Mercy和Allie在语文课上的一个project。我们花了两个星期的时间每天演,终于把它演完了,非常有成就感,就分享在这里。(这可是我第一次穿上古装演戏啊!)

    这个剧本主要讲的是一个叫做润良的仙人下凡的故事。他在天上看到人间种种美好的景象,但是下凡后却发现人间虽然有很多美好幸福,但是也有很多想象不到的困难,艰辛。 

    这个剧本看着好像很好,但其实有很多很多的问题。我觉得这个剧本最大的问题就是中心思想不够突出。我们现在的中心思想其实就是“凡事不能只看表面”,虽然戏剧冲突很大,但是有些肤浅。如果可以再做一次,我觉得可以改成让润良体会人间的七情六欲(也就是天上没有的东西)。

2018年10月6日星期六

每周歌曲推荐

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In love - July

2018年10月5日星期五

TOEFL Quizlet 词汇大合集

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    今天终于把所有Quizlet的单词(48个wordlist)都背完了,好兴奋啊,赶紧发一贴,分享一下这些wordlists(其实对别人也没什么用,只是自己成就感爆炸啊)。


2018年10月3日星期三

成都Trip:下个星期二!

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    八年级从开学到现在,已经过了七个星期了,各种旅行,trips,excursion又开始了。
    下个星期二就是我在八年级的第一个旅行——成都之旅!
    记得上次去成都,已经是四年(四个月)前了,那时我才八岁。[妈妈的博客这里看:-D]这次第二次来成都,一定会有不同的体验滴。

    这次在UWCSEA参加成都Trip旅行的大多数都是外国同学。中国同学都去过了,不想去。我看去年去成都拍的照片视频,发现体验的东西和我们上次去的很不一样,甚至还会去当地的学校和那些同学互动(不知道是在哪里学习中文还是了解他们的文化呢)。不过如果去过的地方和上次和爸爸妈妈去的一样也没关系,就当一回小导游,锻炼一下leadership咯。
    看看成都Trip的介绍吧: