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.


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