Footprints on the Seashore (перевод Е.П.Валентиновой) Mom Is Back Three weeks passed, three Saturdays, three Sundays, and yet she hasn’t come home. Gran says they have to make sure that everything is well, which means x-rays, tests… Saturdays I remember very well, we go to the market on Saturdays, there are many people in the market place on week-ends, one can buy cheaper. You and me, we are sinners, says Gran, Jews are forbidden to work on Saturdays. Is that work that we are doing? She laughed, you might think it isn’t, you are just taking a walk, and me, I am figuring out what I am to buy with these few small coins I have in my purse. Poverty is wearisome, I never knew it was. And then there will be that cooking with no end to it… you think I like it? At last Mom came back. They arrived, knocked at the door. We were having an electricity failure, and Dad had left his keys on the table. Hardly Mom had stepped over the threshold, it’s dusty here, says she, throws off her coat, grabs the brush, and starts poking it under the bed – I ought not to breathe in dust. You will drive yourself crazy with these fantasies of yours, to sweep the floor in candlelight!… says Gran, I have swept it in the morning, there is no dust. Mom dropped that brush, grabbed me, pressed me to her belly, I felt the warmth, she has come back. Dad didn’t go to work, we sat down to a meal, we had potatoes and fried Baltic herring. They drank some wine, and I was served kompot, made of apples and prunes. Mom, you fry fish exactly the way I do it, - even the tails are crisp. It’s you who is frying fish exactly the way I do it, Gran always starts arguments. What have you ever fried before the War? You never entered your own kitchen. Oh yes, indeed… I keep forgetting, it’s the teaching-your-grandmother-sucking-eggs times we are having now. What do you have going on at work, Sioma, tell me the truth. Dad waved his hand, nothing much, they let me stay on the staff, Zolotova is the head doctor now. That bitch? You were lucky to get away that easy, says Gran. Communicating with the abroad, and all you get is a reprimand. Discharged from the helming post, but let stay on the staff, taking into account the war record. Oh, never mind… says Dad, it is much better this way, I am an ordinary doctor once again, I treat patients, not give orders. Otherwise I could have forgotten everything about treating patients, and it would have turned out that the Germans had wasted their time teaching me. And he thinks it as a laughing matter! Forget about your pre-War Germany, you light-minded man. Let him be, Mom, says Mom, everything is fine, we are all of us together. Only my boys are no more.