I tiptoe through the night, scared for even my sweat to make the slightest noise as it drips off my face and onto the ground. I am not thinking of anything at the moment but my survival and how my life will be once I am free of the Soviet grip around my wrists. My heart feels like it is breaking through my ribs and protruding out of my chest with every breath I take as I run faster and faster towards the barrier that has incarcerated me over the years.
As I throw myself over the eleven-foot concrete wall with barbed wire at the top, I can hear gunshots all around, and I pray they are not intended for me. I hit the cold, hard ground on the other side, but I am not even close to being safe any time soon. I am in no mans land now. I would be better off asking for someone to shoot me than to make it out of here alive. I have only one chance.
At least that is how I imagined it would have been like if I were in trapped in the tribulations of East Berlin trying to escape into the desired West Berlin between 1961 and 1989. However, it is a gray December day in 2004, and if it weren't for remains of the Iron Curtain and Checkpoint Charlie, people would not be able to relive that part of history or be reminded of the dictator that destroyed so many lives.
The temperature was eight degrees Celsius as the gloomy sky attempted to cough up snow onto Berlin. Before that moment I had only heard of the Berlin Wall through history books and stories. I would sit and listen to travelers tales told by my courageous father who had walked through Checkpoint Charlie and into East Berlin in seventy-five. He told me how he had to exchange West Berlin money into East Berlin money at Checkpoint Charlie before entering East Berlin. Then going back into West Berlin he had to drop it in a rusty tin can at Check Point Charlie because you were not allowed to keep East Berlin money. He witnessed two tourists getting assaulted by the guards for trying to smuggle East...