The light is dim, but I'm accustomed to working in the dark. Besides, it's safer this way. My eyes are not what they used to be, but it has become second nature to me - the pull of the needle, the tension in the thread.
I stitched my first collar when I was six years' old, sitting on my grandmother's knee in the parlour of the old house at Innsbruck. ‘Isaac,’ she used to say, ‘you have your father's gift. Use it well.’
Ah, Papa, if you could see me now. Such expectations you had for my talent, but I assure you that the occasion for invisible seams and fine beadwork is over. Nowadays I work with a different fabric. A cloth perforated with ****** fire and riddled with shrapnel. The wounds - forgive me - resemble red Venetian silk embedded with black pearls; the bone like the baleen strictures of a dowager's corset. And the red dye runs. God help me, how it runs.
As I work, Papa, I imagine that you are standing in the shadows, your frayed sewing tape draped around your neck. I am praised for my quick hands and my ability to embroider life into abbreviated limbs. And I pray that you are not too disappointed in what I have become.
'Who is left in the ghetto is the one man in a thousand in any age, in any culture, who through some mysterious workings of force within his soul will stand in defiance against any master.'
- Leon Uris, Mila 18