He stood, awkwardly holding a warm bundle, clutching his Red Army cap under the baby's bottom. He didn't see the wrinkled, red-faced child in front of him. In his mind, over and over again, he kept seeing his young wife, struggling to stay alive. Her beautiful face was swollen and inflamed, her body arching desperately as the seizures overtook her. And then, she lay lost, pale and empty. Yakov searched his heart for any tenderness toward the child in his arms, but all he could master, were the feelings of guilt and anger. The tall, handsome officer handed the baby to the nurse and quickly strode out of the maternity ward, his long army overcoat almost tripping him in the doorway. Three months later, still reeling from grief and all the blood he had shed, he'll write to his mother from the great Asian steppes, where he fought the enemies of the Soviet Union. He'll tell her about the death of his wife and about the baby who lay waiting in a small town hospital. Yakov couldn't know what the abandonment of his daughter will cost her or her family.
Meyer's dad heard a strange sound behind him. Standing on the ladder, he turned to look. Meyer gazed at his father's work with shining eyes and grinning from ear to ear. Ever since he was small, they noticed that he couldn't keep back this strangled laughter whenever he encountered something beautiful. Right now, he watched his father, Jacob, painting the manager's apartment and couldn't help admiring it. Instead of using
|Lev as an adult.|
About a year ago, the family's 25 year old Russian helper, Daria, dropped a bomb: she was pregnant by 16 year old Lev. He confessed, in tears, but insisted that she seduced him. The family was
mortified. Jacob worn out his belt, punishing Lev, then sent him to live with some relatives in Minsk. For many years after he was sending Daria money to support his grandchild, only to find out much later that, Lev's daughter died in infancy. Daria tried to meet Lev again, but he's had enough of her. Neither Lev nor Jacob were ever the same after this affair.