TE20 Migrant Mosaics

whole thing had passed from her mind. Silvia, meanwhile, had for that whole era been quietly stuck in a demeaning role serving the local chapter of the Party, because after she’d moved here from Jena to be with her husband she’d had first one, then two and ultimately three little children at home, thus missing out on the social life that belonging to a workplace would have brought. She certainly hadn’t been happy about the duties she held, but they had takenover her lifewith such natural progression that she eventually abandoned all thoughts of another career. First came the Party’s district training college, then the regional college for cadres, and ultimately the Party Academy, but she left this when diagnosed with cancer. Thereafter drawing a pension. That was more than twenty years ago. The trigger that had made the three of them dwell on all this had been the implicit question, Did we make others suffer? in that remark by Berit. The question edged itself in amidst all the clapping; amid the roaring in Saxon dialect of a thousand people around the square, the thunder of the bass guitar. It resounded ever louder in their ears until it was finally embedded and could no longer be ignored, and as the music took over their senses they knew the answerwas Yes! which they began to roar, along with the crowd, at first hesitantly, then louder and louder... At last, completely exhausted, they linked arms, and exchanged a look of mutual understanding that no outsider like Tadeusz could ever fathom. The Randfichten had not yet finished their set but the women had had enough. When they saw Tadeusz standing over by a beer tent, they felt so painfully embarrassed that they looked away. He gestured at them and, to get their attention across the considerable distance, called something out. He should not have done this, because he outed himself as a foreigner - one with a Slav accent, to boot - and at a beer tent in the market square of Johanngeorgenstadt, this was dangerous. Two drunken yobs jumped on him, pushing him and 170 Kathrin Schmidt

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