The Memory of Water

I was almost grateful when the Allied patrols found me, grateful to have my free will taken away, my responsibility for my actions lifted. I am told, though, that when they shipped me to Italy—along with a number of other German prisoners in need of medical care—I had to be heavily sedated, as the sight of the waves and the motion of the ship made me hysterical. For my part I have no memory of the voyage.

In Italy, in the prisoner-of-war hospital, I received a letter from a cousin I hardly knew, in Bremen. The letter said that my parents had been killed by an Allied bombing raid, in Berlin, while I was still in Africa.

I wept then; not for my parents, but for the chance I had lost on the beach at Tripoli.

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