10-4/5-06

Inspired by Schindler's List

She works tirelessly. What complaints she has are never voiced, so perfect a servant she is. She never refuses a single order, whether it be to serve him dinner of silently watch as he shoots his other servants and then dispose of the bodies after. She will do it all for him because she has to.

But he is not pleased.

All she can give him is her service and her stale, painful silence that follows her everywhere, save for saying, "Yes, sir." He can see she has so much more to offer and he tries desperately to deny his yearning for it. Her body is young, soft, but her hands worn and her eyes grave; even if he could enjoy that body, those eyes he would not be able to stand, staring at him through the darkness. A common brown color, hardly the respected blue that Germans like himself admired. But she was not German and she had brown eyes that were as common as the sadness in them. All of her kind had that look in their eyes; it was something he thought nothing of while walking among them and shooting them down, like cans all lined in a row. It never bothered him, even if a brave one had enough nerve to look him in the eye before they died. But it was not something he could stomach if those eyes were to watch him out of the darkness of his bedroom or anywhere else in the grand house.

It is night and he sits at his desk, a bottle of liquor in hand, thinking. Absently he swilled his drink and stared at that black window on the right wall. It is a black hole in the white plaster, threatening to suck him in and all his sanity with him. And there was definite horror in that thought, for the window held the blackness and the dull eyes to go with it.

Her eyes. They weren't the only things keeping him from harming her. Hell, if he blindfolded her he could stand it, could have done it by now. But what really kept him contained was his dignity as a Nazi and a German. It would be beneath him; she wasn't even a real woman.

She was a Jew.

God, the very word set his blood to boil and burn. He hated them with all his being, these things. Jew. The name given to those more lowly than beggars, those creatures with worn faces, with harsh brown hair, with those sunken, sorrowful eyes. Their kind was born to spread plague and must be destroyed as soon as possible. They weren't men, they weren't children— they were rats, sewer scum that deserved no better than to die.

Then why was he so captivated?

Sighing, he takes a swig of scotch (he needed something strong tonight) and heaves another sigh, thinking on his maid, Ada. She was a rat— and yet she was beautiful. How? How were her high cheekbones, her plain brown locks, her stubborn mouth, how were they beautiful? Alone, surely, they would look hideous but she managed to carry them with dignity and grace. Why did a Jew look so when any other German woman looked plain in comparison?

The general taps the bottle neck, thinking back. Ever since he could remember he had hated Jews; his parents had taught him that hatred and Hitler had nurtured it. Hitler knew what he was doing and through his determination he managed to show many others the truth he saw. Strength through unity, strength through discipline, strength through action.

Damn the gypsies and Jehovah's Witnesses. And of course the Jews, damn the Jews. Rats, incompetents.

She was a Jew. But she . . . no . . . she was less than him and hardly deserved even to live in his presence, much less wait upon him.

There were times when he would beat her to remind himself assure himself of that. He calls for her after along harsh day, enraged and wanting something to vent upon. And seeing her in her plain maid's clothes, barely trembling in fear, head bowed and ugly eyes averted only made him angrier.

He lashes out at her; it lessens the shock that he does not yell at her but it is only because he cannot bring himself to do it. Hitting her is no object for him; it's just a strike, hard, full-forced, giving her enough time to feel the shock before bringing his fist down again.

But he cannot yell at her. He has convinced himself that it would, again, be beneath him but the truth of it is that he never knows what to say. What stream of obscenities can describe what he feels, a raging bull of hatred for her kind and something else he fails to recognize. He is torn between duty and pride for his position and the affliction which he should not feel. So he beats her, beats her because she is a Jew and because he loves her in spite of it.

Guilt roils in him; he closes his eyes and drains the glass, setting it aside. He sees over and over his hands coming down upon her, punching her stomach, reducing her from her statuesque state to her true human form. He leaves her to cry.

It is always amazing that on the mornings following she gets up and begins her chores without complaint. She becomes once again a marble faced angel. His eyes spent hours memorizing all the lines and curves of that face . . . and then would travel to the Star of David on her arm and he would remember again his prejudice.

Trying to shake himself out of his thoughts, the general knocked the empty scotch bottle from his desk. He reaches over absently and picks up the revolver he had made Ada polish earlier. He points it upward at the ceiling; cocking it, he pulls the trigger and hears the familiar "click" of an unloaded gun.

There were times when he considered shooting Ada. When she cried out as he kicked her he could imagine it clearly. It would put an end to it all, his indecision and suffering leave him. God that would be bliss. He was tempted to do it more than once. He had loaded his revolver and gone to the servant's quarters to find her sleeping. She truly looked at peace when she slept. His thoughts were to remedy that, placing his finger on the trigger. He never fired though. He might star at her sleeping form for what seemed like an eternity, just watching her . . . but he never tightened his finger enough to release a bullet. In the end, he always decided it wasn't worth it. She wasn't worth the waste of a perfectly good bullet. Why should he relieve her of her suffering, something she deserves above anything? Why should he?

She was a Jew.