The Tears of Yesteryear
In the two weeks since they had arrived in Homestead, she hadn't asked about Uncle Josef or even how he was doing, although Mr. Jachowska had gotten him a job at the same mill where he worked; the Homestead Steel Works.
Since the Jachowskas never mentioned him, neither did she. She wanted to forget about him, to forget about everything that had led her to Homestead.
The one thing Ewa dared ask was when she would meet the man she was promised to. This had happened moments before Mr. Jachowska walked through the door smelling of drink, resulting in a screaming match between him and Mrs. Jachowska over his never bringing home any of his paycheck and spending it all at the saloon. Ewa had hurriedly retreated to the small room she shared with the six other children as she tried to calm the youngest ones who crawled all over her, seeking comfort from their parents' angry voices.
Ewa herself had wanted to cry too, but she knew there was no one to comfort her.
Ewa also didn't dare tell babcia what Homestead was really like. Unlike in Czerwona Wola, where there was grass and trees and fields with flowers in the summer, life in Homestead seemed as dead as the people inhabiting its buildings. It was made dead by the lives they led here.
All the homes Ewa had seen so far in Homestead looked the same: small tenements in ramshackle buildings with no more than two or three rooms each, located on dirt roads that flooded when it rained.
The first time the water seeped in, Mrs. Jachowska had told her she was lucky.
"Now it's just water. It's worse in the summer, since that's when filth and debris washes down from farther up." With a mean glint in her eyes, Mrs. Jachowska had added, "The stench is unbearable."
Copyright © 2019 by Julie Tulba