I slowly drank cold orange juice. My wife and children (15 and 9) were looking at me and at the parcels.
My wife said: “I am sure you are very hungry. Dinner is ready.”
“No, I can’t eat now. Please place some vodka on my hands, face and neck. I burnt them during the day. Let me relax. I’ll eat later.”
She gently treated me and said: “I wonder what is in these heavy wooden boxes?”
“I thought about it many hours. Oh, I also got 4 letters from our mothers. Here they are. Please read them.”
My wife read all letters aloud. They were very sad. Our mothers were sure that they will never see us again and they were very worried how we would be able to cope with all difficulties of life before we reach America and after it. They knew that Soviet authorities allowed us to take only $400.
In the last letter from my mother there was a sentence: “I’ll do everything possible to help you!”
What did it mean? We knew that she could not help us.
It became very cold in our apartment in the beautiful marble villa. When we rented the apartment there was a very warm day and we knew that Italy was a sunny, warm country. We had no idea that it might be cold in March and that the apartment had no heating.
I ate dinner and drank a glass of vodka. We could not open parcels (to pull nails from them). We had to resolve the mystery in the morning. So as every evening before we put on everything that could protect us from cold, lied down in a huge bed and fell asleep.
It was very cold in the apartment when I woke up. I climbed out of bed, dressed up and made tea. My wife and children were still asleep. I drank a cup of tea, took one parcel and went out.
I went to a neighbour who lived in an apartment house. He was a very friendly Italian and lived in a heated apartment.
I greeted him with my best smile. Then I showed him the parcel and nails in it.
He smiled too and brought several instruments. I gestured that I had 5 more parcels and that I needed to take instruments with me. He nodded. I took everything and went back to the cold of a beautiful marble villa.
To be continued