By Eva Menovsky
We grew up with the three of us, my mom, my sister and me. We didn’t grow up with a dad, he ran off because he was living in a different world. Later I found out, this world wasn’t really a world I could visit.
But we did have a dad-figure, my grandmother. And maybe she was even better than a dad, she could redo all the mistakes she made as a parent with us. Every Friday night we stayed at her place, she took care of us no matter what age she had. We slept together in a one-person bed, while my sister had all the space she could get. I wanted to be close to her.
We called her Oma Hum, after a mantra from Buddhism. She became a Buddhist after she was locked up in a closet for 2 years, just because she was Jewish. She was never proud to call herself a jew. But years later, my sister decided to do her Bad Mitswa and we all couldn’t feel more Jewish. We celebrated Shabbat after, every single Friday.
The rest of the week we were at my mom’s house. We woke up to the roaring of laughter. And I jumped out of bed to see which inspiring creature had come to our home. I loved having people around. Everybody naturally flew to my mom whenever she was in a room. She is this beautiful, black women, who denies every beauty she has. She never saw how miraculous she was. You would just want to be close to her to feel everything you always wanted to feel, but never could.
After my dad returned from his world, he tried to come into ours. Yet there was no room for this dragon, who would fly off as soon as he would get what he wanted. He didn’t like to be tamed. I don’t really blame him though. He grew up in the Czech Republic, around the time when it was captured by the communists. His dad had to work for the Russians, waiting to be killed after. My dad was 10 years old when he and his family escaped to the Netherlands.
After Oma Hum died, our home wasn’t the home I once remembered. What once was known as a steady four-legged wooden table was now a shitty manufacturing fault Ikea table, which was trying not to fall. What once was a home with words we would die with, now became a home with twisted words, trying to make sure we wouldn’t die yet.
A home where I used to wake up at, with the roaring of laughter was replaced by screaming of emptiness. A home where I used to fall asleep at, with the sound of the heartbeat of my grandmother, turned into not a single sound, not even my own.
It stayed like this. During my last year of high school, during my exams, all the way to the summer after. Until I made my own home, a place that only I knew. I grew to a steady one-legged table. Someone I was proud to be. Someone who tried to make a change in the world, even if it was just a small one. Someone who was unafraid to stand up and say her opinion. Someone who loved and supported everyone. Somebody who I have always been, but forgot how to.