-September 1, 1939-
I watch the gunmetal-black behemoth pulling away from the crowded station, as its gigantic steel wheels churn up billowing steam and smoke, darkening the platform and skies above. I can no longer see you, my darling Gisela. But I promise, we will be together very soon. I am close behind making arrangements to follow. Your cherubic face and delicate hands pressed against the window, almond-shaped eyes imploring, confused, bargaining, so angry with me—the last image I have of you.
-September 2, 1939-
There was no time amid the fury and melee to properly explain or prepare you. The warning, the opportunity, so brief, so quick, there was only to act. I have sent you away, alone. My only assurance, a hand-scrawled note with names and contact details of distant relatives north of London. They are our only hope, and your urgent destination. I was desperate to get you out, my precious Gisela. Sept 1, 1939, the day before your seventh birthday. Timing could not be helped. Look in your left pocket, nestled in the soft corduroy, an embroidered linen handkerchief filled with your favourite sweet Madeleines. A birthday treat. And, sewn into the hem of your navy pea jacket, seven gold coins. Keep these as your secret. Only look when no one is watching. Be brave, my young girl.
-September 3, 1939-
I am sorry to break my promise, my love. The last Kindertransport, from Berlin to the Netherlands and on to Harwich, had no room for me. Another transport has come to take me in the opposite direction. We are going to camp, for a while. It is very crowded, and I miss you terribly. I close my eyes, blocking everything out so that I only see your face. You are always such a comfort, my constant joy. Be brave, my young girl.
-September 4, 1939-
The steam and smoke billow and darken the sky all day and all night here. Germanische Urhunde barking barking.
flash fiction appears in seventy international literary magazines, journals, and anthologies. She is editor of the award-winning flash fiction anthology The Group of Seven Reimagined: Contemporary Stories Inspired by Historic Canadian Paintings (Heritage House Publishing, 2019). Schauber curates Vancouver Flash Fiction, an online resource hub, and Miramichi Flash, a monthly literary column. In her spare time, she is a seasoned family therapist.