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of loose-leaf notes is splayed across my lap, promising

half written sentences dissolving into ramblings of nothingness. For

inspiration I read long-winded Russian romantic novels and sit

brooding in coffee shops. Yet still, my pages are left blank, college-

ruled lines void of anything worthwhile I might have to share.

Writer’s block. How can I have writer’s block? I’m not even a writer,

just an amateur attempting to play in the big league.





to visiting my father in defeat, a friend,

attempting to compliment me, commented: ‘You could



that Jewish Holocaust thing.’

Does that count as exploitation? Am I not able to write that authentically?

I thought.

I went home and stared at my blank pages. Tepidly, I picked up a

pen and wrote





at the top.



look up to the sound of a faint wheezing, my father’s

frail hands attempting to manoeuvre his hard metal wheelchair,

until he clumsily clasps them together across his woollen blanket.

His hands shake. Almost as if the simple act of being is too much for

his aching bones.


‘Hello, daughter,’ he says in Yiddish.

‘Did Nurse Al explain to you why I’m here?’ I clearly enunciate

every word to accommodate for his age.

‘I’m old, not deaf.’

‘So, will you tell me your Auschwitz story?’

Anything you write will be a meager shadow. I do not believe it is

possible to convey the horrors of what we have suffered.’

‘Tatenui, my voice has hollowed, let me borrow yours so they will

all remember.’

A tense pause followed, the static in the air rippling around us as

we sat awkwardly.

‘I visited Mamah’s grave yesterday. I left some flowers from you.’

My father hasn’t visited her grave in years – in fact he hasn’t left

the confines of the nursing home for that long either. As I approached

her tiny plot of land, the old flowers I had left on my last visit were

deteriorating, the sharp pink and yellow hues slowly disintegrating

into muddy browns that lay wasting on her grave. The rain carved

pathways down the white tombstone and my knees sank into the

soft spongy grass as I knelt before it. Leaves littered the ground, the

My Story,

His Story

Annabel Loane