CHAPTER 23

Boris Dies Again

As winter neared, Martha focused her romantic energies primarily on Boris. They logged hundreds of miles in his Ford convertible, with forays into the countryside all around Berlin.

On one such drive Martha spotted an artifact of the old Germany, a roadside shrine to Jesus, and insisted they stop for a closer look. She found within a particularly graphic rendition of the Crucifixion. The face of Jesus was contorted in an expression of agony, his wounds garish with blood. After a few moments, she glanced back at Boris. Though she never would have described herself as terribly religious, she was shocked by what she saw.

Boris stood with his arms stretched out, his ankles crossed, and his head drooping to his chest.

“Boris, stop it,” she snapped. “What are you doing?”

“I’m dying for you, darling. I am willing to, you know.”

She declared his parody not funny and stepped away.

Boris apologized. “I didn’t mean to offend you,” he said. “But I can’t understand why Christians adore the sight of a tortured man.”

That wasn’t the point, she said. “They adore his sacrifice for his beliefs.”

“Oh, do they really?” he said. “Do you believe that? Are there so many ready to die for their beliefs, following his example?”

She cited Dimitrov and his bravery in standing up to Göring at the Reichstag trial.

Boris gave her an angelic smile. “Yes, liebes Fräulein, but he was a communist.”

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