my internal conflict / part three narrative
January 31, 1924.
And with Josef’s death following my father’s, I never really felt the same.
Like the world had drained me of everything I had. I felt numb. I feel numb. Until the day of January 24th, when my fellow high ranked officer, Nigel, had broken the news to the Red Army that Lenin had passed away.
Regarding my behavior, I heard my brothers and sisters ask about me in the hushed serenity of our cramped kitchen. There would be concerned whispers traveling like mist.
“He doesn’t really feel anymore does he, Ma”, Albert grunted softly and glanced to his mother waiting for a response.
“Albert! Of course he does, he’s your brother. He’s just well…” She paused, “-he’s been through a lot.”
“But, Ma, he’s filled with so much pain. Why–”
“Go set the table, dear. There is to be no more discussion of this.”
I was unfortunate enough to eavesdrop on countless conversations like these after coming back from long hours in the army. We tried to make the majority of Russia believe that the Soviets were right and to support the Sovnarkom was to support the people. It was ironic really, the broadcaster of the statements didn’t believe them in the first place. When civil war broke out, I was inwardly screaming in triumph for the Czechs and anti-soviets who had taken a step forward, praying that I could once be on their side because I had lost respect for mine.
Transferred to the heart of the chaos and selected as a high ranking officer in the Red Army to fight the anti-soviets down, I tried to convince myself I was fulfilling my father’s dream but the nightmares of the bullet decimating my brother made me feel confusion and pain. The act of even grasping Lenin’s hand in a firm agreement to take the Tsar’s family into the basement and murder them was torture, I felt like whatever I did I had betrayed either my father or my brother.
Nonetheless, I carried on, with an indifferent stare at all who dared to question my loyalty to Lenin. I showed similar disregard to the Cheka who were widely feared amongst Russia. The Soviets had gotten desperate and showed no hint of mercy. I wasn’t harmed, the others however, weren’t so lucky. Families plucked apart, turncoat soldiers shot dead. The consequences of rebellion were far too much and I couldn’t handle the death of another loved one or Trotsky’s suspicious gaze whenever I walked into the meeting room. That man is downright vicious, so vicious, that he took out one anti-soviet group after another and leave the whole White Army in shambles.
“What do you mean there isn’t a way you can get more food?”
“Well, Alexander, the food is being rationed.” My little sister had cowered in fright at the force of my question.
“Rationed!” My voice had transformed into a loud piercing screech. “The family has six people and they are only giving out rations for three! Why didn’t Ma tell me!”
Beth cringed at my voice ringing in her ears and quietly replied, “S-she says you have too much to think about, she didn’t want you to worry”.
A familiar shadow of disgust washed over me. I hated that Lenin didn’t even stop to think about the ramifications of the war communism policy including rationing of food or the famine that ravaged Russia killing seven million people, and my little sister was facing the brunt of it at a mere seven years of age.
Lenin’s body was sent to be embalmed and feelings stirred inside me. I felt like I was on fire consumed with confusion. Russia had been renamed; the USSR, with the hope of a promising future for the people. But I felt disillusioned.
I don’t know which one is worse, this government or being led by no one.