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“Back in the day we couldn’t leave East Germany.  The only…

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“Back in the day we couldn’t leave East Germany.  The only foreigners we could meet were international students at our university.  But all contact was forbidden.  It was the law.  He was a law student from North Vietnam.  He was seven years older than me.  Even today we argue about the first time we met, but I believe we were waiting in line for a meal.  He was so beautiful, especially his eyes.  He had such sad eyes.  He’d driven a truck during the war, so he’d seen so much: the bombings, the bodies, the destruction.  But part of him was so soft.  He could love so much.  We met secretly.  I snuck through windows and back entrances.  We slept on a mattress on the floor of my dorm room.  If we’d ever been seen, he’d have been deported.  I never realized I could be a liar.  But I made up so many stories.  I even hid it from my friends.  It always seemed like a temporary love story.  He had to go home after graduation, so we always felt the end was near.  But we kept applying for visa extensions, until finally the police came to our apartment.  I made one last desperate attempt.  I wrote a letter to a German writer who was known to be politically connected.  I told him our entire story, and asked for help.  He wrote back right before Christmas.  He said that everything had been arranged.  He’d spoken to his friends in the Politburo, and my husband would be allowed to stay in the country.”
(Berlin, Germany)



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