It’s not enough. She nudged the cradle. It creaked on its rockers, wobbled on the uneven floorboards. Their corner apartment, ordinarily gemütlich, now felt like a rat’s cage.
We can make it enough, Silke. My father will put some aside when he slaughters his cattle.
How long can that last? Everyone thought the war would be over by Christmas. Now they’re saying June.
Her husband held his shoulders level. So they are. We can hold out until then.
We can make it enough. We’ll be fine.
All over Hamburg, Silke knew, husbands and wives were saying the same things. Everyone had questions, no one had answers. Lothar believed. She had always loved the way Lothar’s mouth tightened when he was resolved. She hated his refusal to admit that he might be wrong. She would have to ask Anneliese and Marthe what they would do.
Worse than the rationing was the war. Russia was baying to the east, France and England entrenched to the west. Everything the country had hoped to avoid – two enemies, two fronts – had come to pass. When everyone had been so sure that the march to Paris would be enough – and now they were sure that things couldn’t last much longer.
Hermann slept in his cradle. She thought he would be safe. Everyone would want to protect a baby – share rations, if they must. But Lothar needed his strength for the docks. And she – well, she hadn’t yet told Lothar the reason she needed her strength.
“Right there? Was that it?”
“It was Germans. They were worried about whether they had enough food.” Eran shook his head. “How would America survive on rations?”
When Eran called, Gwendolyn had said, “I was hoping to hear from you!” Eran, Gwendolyn said, was her only successful past-life regression, and she wanted to hear all about it. She had offered him the hour free, since he wasn’t asking her to do any work. Instead of an appointment, they picked a weekend coffee at Bené, which was Sunday-morning frantic; they could talk without being overheard.
“It’s not helping with my dissertation like I had thought it would. I guess it is helping – it definitely broadened my perspective. But I’m supposed to be focusing in on one thing, and it keeps showing me other things that I also want to chase down. Politics. Treason. Now rationing.”
“How’s your advisor taking it? Stefan, was it?”
“Heh. Let me tell you about Stefan.”
February 1, 1915: Germany institutes a rationing system for bread and flour.