Note: On a recent episode of Narnia Fan Fiction Revolution's podcast AsCast, the painting of the Dawn Treader was brought to light. The hosts wondered why in the world was there a painting of a Narnian ship in our world. Rthstewart, one of the hosts, brought up my story, And Where I am Going, Everything Goes, as one of the main characters is a painter. And I immediately wondered how I could work the painting into my story. Though I couldn't find a way to put it in AWIAGEG, I am using a character from the story, Mr. Maler. It is a stand-alone piece, but can be read as a prequel to my story.
Much thanks to my beta, Jeff, for looking over this gigantic story. I seriously can't thank you enough for it, Jeff.
Lastly, while plotting this story out, I listened to the song 'On the Willows' off the Godspell soundtrack A LOT. Though I don't usually use music when I write, this song really helped with my vision, and is an excellent accompaniment to this story. Not to mention, it's just a beautiful song.
We put away our lyres,
Hanging them on the branches of the willow trees.
For there our captors demanded a song of us.
Our tormentors requested a joyful hymn:
'Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!'
But how can we sing the songs of the Lord
While in a foreign land?
- Psalm 137:2-4
There was something about his voice that sent shivers down Daniel's spine. The chancellor's fervor, his commanding presence, was chilling. He spoke with a thick accent, but even then Daniel could hear him, clear as bell. If the chancellor were to say sweet words of praise, it would still leave Daniel cold. But what the new chancellor was saying was anything but that. He was saying words of disdain, of hurt and hatred.
"Turn that off, Daniel," his wife called from the kitchen, "I don't want to hear this."
He reached out a hand to switch the dial off, but was hesitant. The chancellor's voice was ringing through Daniel's ears, echoing in his mind. It paralyzed him.
"Daniel, what are you doing? Why aren't you turning it off?" Her voice was firmer, harsher. He quickly flipped the radio off. The two voices, one of his beloved and the other of his ruler, clanged discordantly in his mind. He covered his ears in pain and looked up at the ceiling. The darkness of the night swathed their parlor. He didn't want to think of the outside world, of that man. It was easier to forget about such things, to pretend that they didn't exist.
His wife entered, switching the light on. "Just sitting in the darkness? I sometimes wonder why I married you, Daniel Maler," she joked as she walked over to him. She sat on his lap, wrapping her arms around his neck. He kissed her on the mouth, listlessly. She pulled away, her brows furrowed. "Daniel, what's the matter?"
The echoes of the chancellor's voice rung in his mind, even now. "Nothing, Annelies."
"Please, Daniel. You've never kissed me that meekly before," she noted, stroking his hair. "Was it the chancellor?"
He nodded, grimly. Her hands slipped into his, grasping them gently. "I told you not to listen to that garbage," she said.
"I tried, Annelies, it's just…he's too captivating."
"Captivating. You call that devil captivating?"
He looked at her, tried to reconcile with her. "No, it's just –"
She took his face in her hands, and she looked at him calmly. "He may have a silver-tongue, my love, but that does not redeem the words he speaks. I never want to hear anything good about that man ever again."
She laid her head on his shoulder, and he sighed, trying to ignore the silver sounds in his ears.
"This can't be any good," Friedrich sighed, throwing the paper on the table in disgust. He took a puff of his cigar. "Every day, it's something new proposed by the chancellor, and every day, it gets worse."
The chancellor's face was emblazoned across the paper, jowly and scowling. He looked like any other German man, hard working and well meaning.
"After this, he's supposedly barring any Jewish students from attending universities," his older brother grimly added. "I knew this man would be nothing but trouble." Friedrich put out his cigar on the chancellor's face, grinding the ashes in. "That's what I think of you, trottel." He looked up at Daniel, then pulled his mouth up into a half-smile. "Come on, Dan, I'm sure you wanted to do that too."
"What Jew doesn't?" he said, staring at the picture of Hitler. His brother was far more crass than he was, and more prone to act on his emotions.
"Now, let's get down to business. What are you thinking of ordering?" his brother asked, pulling out their menu and looking over the lunch selections. "It's not as if I lunch with you every day, now do I?"
"No," Daniel sighed, glancing over the choices. He wished that he could enjoy their meal, but his mind always seemed to travel back to the man emblazoned upon the front page.
"Mother sends her regards, and is sorry she couldn't come. She and Flora always have lunch together, though," Friedrich said. Ever since their widowed mother's heart attack seven years ago, Friedrich had taken care of their tough-willed but weak-hearted mother. Between his medical practice and Mother's caretaking, he hardly had time for himself.
"How is Mother?"
"She's fine. Her heart's a bit fussy, though. Still can't do much moving." He closed his menu and placed it on the table, decision made. "How's Annelies by the way? Is she still a little sick in the morning?"
"Yes, but she says it's fine. 'It means it's still alive,' she says," Daniel murmured.
"I do hope the best for you two. You're both very young – there's still time if it doesn't work out again," his brother replied.
A young waiter interrupted their conversation to take their orders. Daniel blindly picked something, uninterested in food.
"I've always enjoyed this place. Such good food for the price," Friedrich declared as the waiter took their menus away. "Money's so scarce anymore. Even for doctors."
Daniel knew all too well. Though he played chance with being a painter, he had done moderately well. Now, though, that the world had sunk into a depression, he found himself scrounging for money. He noted with embarrassment that he wasn't even able to pay for his lunch. It was all on Friedrich's tab.
"I've had to take up a few rough jobs here and there," Daniel noted, quietly. "It's getting so difficult anymore to make a living."
"How are your paintings coming along?"
"Oh, fine. Mr. Schwartz says I've made great improvements, but there's still some room for work. No shows or unveilings, though. No commissions lately, either. He says, though, that I should stop painting for a while. He's only sold one of my paintings in the past five months."
"Is it the bad market?"
"Partly. But he says it's because the customers have found out I'm a Jew. They don't want to buy anything Jewish. Leaves a taint on their hands," he bitterly said. He tapped his fingers on the table, and looked up at his brother's astonished face. "It's happening to you, too, isn't it Fritz?"
"Yes," his brother muttered.
"It's awful, isn't it?"
"Yes. Some say it'll be worse. There are rumors circulating of a law that'll limit Jewish doctors."
"Haven't you wanted to get away? Go where no one cares you're Jewish?" Daniel wondered.
"Yes, but…are you thinking of leaving, Dan?"
The painter leaned back in his chair. "It's been a fleeting thought in my mind, Fritz. Every time I turn on the radio, I hear that voice, and it scares me and thrills me all at once. Do you know how awful that feels?"
"I think everyone has that feeling around Hitler," his brother said.
"And I hate it, that this man can scare me into submission, then get a rise out of me. It's not right. And every time I get that feeling, I wonder if I can get away. If it's too late, or if right now's the time. I wonder so much."
His brother tapped his thumbs together, trying to comprehend the situation. "So you haven't made any plans. It's just been a few thoughts here and there?"
"Yes. But with the baby, and Annelies…I don't want to raise a child in this environment. To have it know only hate sickens me," he sighed. "I've mentioned it to her once before, and she agrees with me. This isn't the place for a Jewish child to grow up."
Friedrich laced his fingers together, looking down at the table. His usually boisterous expression was contemplative now. Daniel wondered what was going through his brother's mind. Was he mad? Upset?
"To say that I haven't thought of leaving the country now would be a lie," Friedrich finally said, "but I don't know if I could bear leaving here."
"Yes. That's why it is only been a thought. Part of me knows I can't stay in a country that hates me, but another part keeps me here, holding on. I've grown up here. My life's here. My family's here. How can I be happy anywhere else?"
"But what would you chose in the end?"
What would I chose? My livelihood, or my memories? Daniel thought. He closed his eyes, trying to get a hold of the situation. Die in my country, or live in a strange, harsh land? Would I be miserable either way?
"I honestly can't say," he replied, "but what of you, my brother?"
Friedrich still looked down, a pensive look still on his face. They sat in silence, seconds slipping away.
"It would be harder for me, in the end, with Mother and uprooting my practice to start a new one somewhere else. Even with certain doom, you almost wonder if the trouble of starting all over again is a good thing."
"What would you do if I did? I mean, leave Germany for somewhere else?" He felt his heart hammer. He had been aching to ask his brother, knowing the question's terrible consequences.
"I wouldn't blame you, honestly. You have a new family to look after and provide for." His voice was low and serious, something so strange. Daniel felt uneasy.
"Would you be mad?" he pressed.
"Daniel, please. You're my brother. I don't want you to suffer."
"I don't want you to, either," he softly added.
"Dan, who's to say I'm going to stay here?"
"But what if you do? That'll always be on my conscience, Fritz. Leaving you here in this hell."
"It's your decision in the end, Dan," his brother quietly stated.
Daniel said nothing. He knew what was to be done. And Friedrich knew, too.
"Are you really sure about this, Daniel?" Annelies asked later that night.
"As sure as I'll ever be," he replied. He took his wife's hand in his.
His wife massaged her temple, trying to make sense of it all. "What of our family and friends? Are we just going to leave them behind?"
"Yes. Anne, it's not going to be easy. I think we already know that. But what else are we going to do? Sit here and die?"
"It's just…how do we leave our lives behind? How do we get rid of everything and everyone we love?"
He squeezed his wife's hand tight. "Our ancestors did it. So can we."
She sighed, resignation in her voice. "Where were you thinking of moving?"
"England? Why so far away?"
"Well, there are lots of Germans there, so it's not unknown. But I don't think staying on the continent is a good idea, Anne."
Daniel sighed, knowing that this was only the beginning of the questions. "I just don't think it's a good idea to be on the continent. To be anywhere near that man. Who knows what he would do?"
"He wouldn't dare invade another country, would he?" she gasped.
"I wouldn't put it past him," Daniel remarked. "My English is reasonable, so it won't be too hard to find a job or something. Father made sure I knew some English."
"Do you think it's a good idea for me to be traveling, though?" Annelies asked.
"If we don't do it now I fear we may never be able to leave. Besides, it's just a small boat trip. I'm sure it'll be fine."
She laid her hand on her small, swelling stomach. Daniel pursed his lips, aware of the risks involved. So many times they had conceived, only to lose the child a few weeks later. This one had held out the longest, and it seemed like they were finally going to be parents.
"I don't want our child to grow up under him, Anne," Daniel softly said.
"I don't either. But are we doing the right thing, leaving our family behind? With all of the horror we're trying to escape?"
He sighed. "I don't know. But we don't have any other option, do we?"
The sky was passive, no sun or storm. Just long miles of gray, far as the eye could see. The weather was cold and brisk. People boarded the boat, happy and care-free. They hugged their loved ones and bid them good-bye, and passed on without a care.
Daniel held Annelies' hand tight. They held their small valises in their hands, filled with few possessions. Their friends and family surrounded them, tears and sad expressions plentiful. Daniel had yet to cry. Rather, all he could concentrate on was the worry that constantly plagued him.
How could I leave this – them – all behind?
It's best for us. That's all that matters.
"You must write as much as you can," his sister-in-law Greta commanded.
"And in German. None of this English nonsense," her husband joked.
"I think I'll leave the English to Daniel," Annelies replied. She slipped out of his hand and hugged her sister good-bye. "You've got to write back too, you know."
"A dozen letters every week," her sister promised. Tears began to well in her eyes, and Annelies pulled away before it was a steady stream.
"Don't be a stranger, Dan," his brother said, clapping him on the back. Daniel smiled weakly at his brother. He tried to push back all of his feelings of guilt, but still they persisted.
How could I leave Friedrich alone, to take care of Mother? Even if he is a bachelor, I shouldn't expect him to drop his social life to take care of her.
But I must consider my own family. I can't take care of both, can I?
Friedrich pulled Daniel into a tight hug. "Don't worry about it," his brother whispered.
"Are you going to keep me away from my son all day, Friedrich?" his mother asked. She was balanced unsteadily on her cane, wobbling left to right.
I may never see her again. The awful thought struck Daniel. He tried to push it away, but he knew it was true. Who knew when he was coming back, if he was coming back?
"Sorry, Mother. Quite selfish of me." His brother pulled away, a tiny smile on his face.
Daniel wrapped his mother in his arms, trying to imprint this memory in his mind. She was so small and delicate, so unlike the broad woman she was in youth. She smelled sweet, like lavender. Like she always did.
"I expect a letter from you every week, Daniel," she informed him, as he broke away.
"Of course, Mother," he replied, his throat tight.
"And I want the news right away when my first grandchild is born," she added. She smiled brightly at him. "I love you, Daniel. Don't forget that."
"How could I ever?" he said. "I love you too, Mother."
The first warning was called, and they knew their time was up. A few more good-byes were called and promises exchanged, before the two travelers boarded the ship. Annelies stood on the deck, still calling at her family. Daniel, however, tried not to look back.
"Come now, Daniel, don't deprive your family one last time to look at you," his wife pleaded.
"Maybe it's better not to look back. Makes it easier."
"Suit yourself," she sighed, still waving good-bye.
But do I really want their last look of me to be my back? To never see my face again, after what I'm doing?
He felt the boat pull away as he turned around. They were starting to set sail, the land slowly growing distant. He searched around for his family and found them, smiling staidly. He waved a weak good-bye, before turning back.
What am I doing here without them?