There was no warning the night the wall went up. I awoke to sirens screaming throughout my city of East Berlin. It was Sunday, August 13, 1961, a day I would remember for the rest of my life. When a prison had been built around us as we slept.
As if she had heard my thoughts, from out in the kitchen. I heard my Mama cry, "Aldous!" And with a final glance out the window, I remembered the reason for Mama's screams. My father wasn't here. Nor was my brother Dominic. They had been in the west for two nights, and were supposed to have come home later today. With an endless row of guns and soldiers between us, the fence just changed that.
I raced from my room and arrived in the kitchen to see my oldest brother, Fritz, holding my mother in his arms as she sobbed on his shoulder. He eyed me and then cocked his head toward the window in case I hadn't already seen the fence.
"They've done it, Gerta, worse than anyone ever thought."
I only brushed tears from my eyes and wrapped my arms around Mama's back. Maybe she didn't need me, but in that moment I desperately needed her.
The fence was only the beginning. It had just divided my life in half. And nothing would ever be the same again.