I only know my mother's past from the diary she kept on a train crossing the Russian wilderness over 30 years ago. They were young then, she and my father, and if she still feels the same way she hides it well. I sometimes think that much of what she is now began on that train, but I still don't know everything that happened to them.
I found the diary hidden under some shoe boxes in her closet when I was a child, I spent hours copying the text so I wouldn't lose it if she were to find out. I knew I wasn't supposed to read it, when she caught me she exploded but we never talked about it. A few of the pages were missing, before them she wrote:
Today we stopped for an hour at a small station somewhere close to the end of the world. We weren't allowed to go out so we watched the people through our smudged windows. I saw a family, a mother and a father with their little daughter, and I started to cry. T asked me what was wrong but I couldn't bear to tell him. I know how he left his family behind too, and I have no right to be more tormented by it than him. What I'm certain of however, what I saw so clearly through that window, is that I never want to put a child into this world. I could never live with the notion that some day they would be left all alone.
I sometimes wish she had told me herself, I sometimes wish we would talk about it because I know it still hurts her and what I would tell her is that, more than anything, I understand.