There was a storage room in the basement the super would occasionally let us into.
It was just filled with old steamer trunks.
They were beautiful inside. They were designed to be stood up on their end. Many were velvet-lined with drawers on one side and room to hang clothes on the other.
It wasn’t until years later that I realized those trunks were the only luggage of European Jews fleeing the Holocaust.
At one time, those trunks held the only possessions they escaped with.
Now, as an adult, I understand it as something different. Something more solemn. A room full of history and struggle and survival.
There was an entire roomful of them. Each a life saved. Each a life uprooted. Both loss and life all at once.