Up In Smoke


Minsk (Photo by Anton Rusetsky on Unsplash)


“These stacks look like a hand,” Bella rested her chin on the window’s ledge and gazed at the golden hues of sunset over Minsk. It was beautiful.

“A hand with six fingers.”

Bella scowled into the glass. In her mother’s tone she heard challenge, dismissal, and disdain. It stole the luster off the previous moment’s calm. She resented the coldness with which her mother marred everything during this visit. It felt like a smudge she could not wipe.

So she was surprised when her mother came to kneel on the bed by her, close enough to touch. Close enough to feel the trembling. Her mother rarely cried.

“Six fingers for the six millions,” her mother whispered. “And these clouds like burning souls against the evening sky. Everyone my mother had known. Our whole extended family. Burnt. Dead. Gone. This city will never be free of them, Bella. They speak on.”



For What Pegman Saw: Minsk


17 thoughts on “Up In Smoke

  1. How cleverly you switch our perception of the mother, from cold and critical to wounded and vulnerable. I wonder how often I mistake other people’s attitude in the way Bella does? A thought-provoking take on the prompt, Na’ama.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Penny! I find that there is often hurt and pain underneath critic and dismissal. Not always, but often. I think we all mistake people’s attitudes sometimes, especially when we don’t know enough about where they are coming from. And then, with more information, even the same behavior can be seen through more compassionate eyes, to the better of connection all around. …

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, we should never forget. So many families were decimated, and the ones who were fortunate enough to have some survive – by means of having left Europe before the war, or having survived the way – ought to never forget the atrocities that had taken place, and the terrible cost exacted on so many.

      Liked by 1 person

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