Knowing that many of you are as “naïve” as I am, I have decided to include weekly installments of my first novel, Sondra’s Search. Enjoy and please feel free to leave your comments.
As the plane from Israel began its gradual descent, the stewardess made her announcements first in English and then in German. Danny Klein closed his gemara, tightened his seat belt, and rearranged his suede yarmulke on his unruly brown hair. He smiled, somewhat nervously at Sondra Apfelbaum, his seatmate and fiancée of a month.
She, oblivious to his smile, had her face pressed against the plastic window, eyes glued to the countryside. Below her were the majestic Alps, unbelievably green to her eyes after almost a year in Israel. This was the land of Grimm’s fairy tales, Heidi, and her parent’s birthplace. This was the land of her mission, the place she and her cousin had once vowed to come and find the missing Torah scroll.
Full of emotion, she peeled her dark eyes from the window and turned to Danny.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” she whispered.
“Yes,” Danny agreed reluctantly, “but look down there at the train tracks.”
“What?” Sondra asked, puzzled.
“I wonder if those were tracks to the concentration camps?”
“Oh, Danny,” Sondra said reproachfully.
“Sorry, sorry,” Danny said hastily. “Forget I said that.”
Sondra again turned her head to the window, but now her eyes were full of unshed tears. It was more the mention of the train tracks than the camps that made her lips quiver. She closed her eyes and again, for the millionth time, pictured that horrible photo from the paper’s front page. As if it was in front of her, she could still see the mangled Jaguar, the Santa Fe freight car, the rescue workers, all against the background of a cloudy, midnight, Kansas sky. She gave an involuntary shudder. It had happened three years ago, a lifetime ago, but sometimes it was as painful as the first time she saw it.
“Sondra,” Danny’s voice broke into her thoughts. “I’m really sorry I said anything about the concentration camps.”
“Oh,” Sondra bit her lower lip, resolutely put her memories away, and turned to the earnest young man. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to turn my back on you. I was just lost in my thoughts, but I’m back to the present now,” she smiled, the dimple in her left cheek deepening.
“Are you excited?”
Sondra nodded, her black ponytail bobbing behind her. “This is like a dream come true for me. I can’t believe it all fell into place and we were able to get the connection home by way of Frankfort.”
“I can’t believe your mother never told you anything about her experiences in the Holocaust.”
“She was always silent on the subject. I sure hope I’ll understand her better after this trip.”
“I know,” Danny nodded sympathetically. He clasped his hands tightly as the plane touched ground. Silently he prayed that their stop in Germany would indeed be a dream come true and not a nightmare.