THREE

THREE
My best friend who lived two blocks away called me right after my daughter went to school. She asked how I was feeling, but I could sense there was more she wanted to talk to me. Our conversations on the phone were listened by the secret police Securitate, I knew that. Not only ours, but of the entire country.

People spied on people, and Securitate spied on everybody.

“Did you hear anything about what was going on at The Maria Square?” She whispered while I was taking my son’s jacket off.
“No. What?”
We let the children play in the boys room and we went in the kitchen.

“Somebody said there were people who gathered in front of the Reformat Church to back up their pastor, pastor Tokes.”
I didn’t know who pastor Tokes was. The Reformat Church had their services in Hungarian and I didn’t speak the language.
“The Securitate was going to evict him from the parochial house because he spoke against the system from the pulpit. His congregation didn’t let them take him, but made a human chain in front of the main door, in the street. More of that, people from our church and our pastor and people from the Pentecostal Church joined them and stayed there through the night.”
I couldn’t understand. “How could that help?”

My friend continued in a low voice. “They sang hymns and prayed together and the communists just sat there. Then somebody shouted, ‘Freedom! We want freedom!’ And everybody called for freedom in one voice.”

I was paralyzed. “Did they arrest them?”
“I don’t know. We’ll find out more when our husbands will come home from work.”

It was still morning and my little son and I left her house to go and stand in the line for food. I was stacking up on butter, eggs and flour of good quality for Christmas. Our rations were small, but every day I would get something and, being with my son, we could get double portions.

It was ice cold out there and the line was outside, as usual. We took our spot and I gave my son a sugar candy to keep him happy while waiting in the cold winter wind.
He was used to that.

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Two

Alimentara-comunista

TWO
The next day was Saturday and my husband went to work at 6AM. Saturdays were working days for everybody. After having our second child, I was a stay at home mom.

There was a pile of laundry in the bathroom and I went to check if we had warm water. We didn’t, but it could come any time. We had a chicken from my mother-in-law in the freezer and that eased my heart. I could make good food for two days.
I didn’t know that something strange was going on in the city. We lived in a block-of-flats of 20 apartments and most of our neighbors were informers for the government. I knew they spied on us because we were living our faith openly, went to church and took our children with us.

At 7AM I woke up my oldest daughter to get her ready for school. She was first grade and walked to school with a couple of other children in our neighborhood. The breakfast was pretty slim. There was no milk in the house, eggs, butter or yogurt. I caramelized a spoon of sugar and made tea. We had a piece of bologna in the fridge and made sandwiches with margarin and thin stripes of it, to ensure we’ll have leftovers for later.

I tried to find some Romanian country music on the radio, but something was weird. Every channel had only the dictator’s speech about how great our communist party was and how Romanians could enjoy a good life under the party’s leadership. I was disgusted and turned it off.

A few days before, the communist party had their big gathering in Bucharest and all we had on TV were Ceausescu and his wife’s allocutions and the praises of their subordinates. I remembered sweeping the living room with the TV on, and with every motion going back and forth with the broom, I said the same prayer out loud, “God, remove them, remove them, remove them.”
By the time when I finished sweeping, the front of my sweater was wet from tears.

One

ONE – It was a cold December in1989 and I didn’t know where to look for hope anymore. The whole nation was sending prayers before God, asking for the big change for so many years. We were desperate. My birth country was kept in starvation. We had no electricity during the night, and only 2 hours of warm water per day. No matter the weather, every day I had to stand in long lines for any valuable food item. For so many times I had to choose between getting milk, eggs or meat.
I had a 6 years old and a 4 years old and was 7 month far in my third pregnancy.
It was a miserable life under Ceausescu’s dictatorship.

December 15, 1989.
A small group of believers in my city gathered together in front of their Reformat pastor’s building in solidarity with him. The authorities had placed him under eviction from the rectory because of his ideas about communism.

It was a Friday night when usually we went to our Baptist church’s service, but I was too tired to get everybody ready and leave the house. My husband then, he stayed at home as well. We had no idea what was going on in the neighborhood of our church.

As the Baptist and Pentecostal churches finished their services at 9PM, many of the believers were walking home or to the public transportation stations passing by the Reformat Church where people were standing and praying in front of the building.
Militia was there.

The pedestrians stopped to see what was going on. We never had crowds in the street, unless for weddings or funerals. And that was during the daytime. When they found out what was going on, they joined the Reformat parishioners. The Militia demanded that everybody go home, but most of the people stayed. The pastor of our church stayed as well.
At that point, there was no turning back. People knew they just put their freedom in line. And even their lives.

In our ice-cold apartment, the kids were sleeping, and the house was quiet. I went back in the kitchen and sat at the table by myself. I needed that silent time to gather my thoughts and pray more. What was going to be with a new baby in the family? How would I keep him/her healthy? Because the cold was so unbearable that my two children had to wear jackets and boots the whole day.

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