Delft Blue

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Propped between my parents in a taxi arm in arm - for this was our last day - I glanced at Vader on my left: pale, quiet and Moeder on my right trying to smile away the tears she was ashamed to show. ``Do not come for our funerals, they're not important'' she urged me, looking past me at his gray-blond hair, ``but visit when you can. You promise? We want to see you and your husband, often.'' I nodded yes and thought of the blue china she had wrapped up in love and tissue paper and handed me, to help me make a home so far away from home. Under my turtleneck glowed goldframed amethysts, a chain Vader had bought her years ago in Paris after their honeymoon. The taxi stopped. My honeymoon was over: this was goodbye maybe for ever. I bit my lip then kissed the drawn familiar faces, creases and all. Vader's calm hand rested a long time on my shoulder. Courage, it said. He had lived in the States but had not liked it. ``Yes, I'll write,'' I echoed, turned and stumbled on board the bus for Schiphol, where my brothers would take over and wave me out across the North Sea, the Atlantic ocean, a sister, daughter, new wife, emigrating alone, who carried in her luggage neatly wrapped up in tissue paper her lovely fragile European past.

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