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the empty

The fat girl as they call her, came to school with a hypodermic needle in her backpack. It may have been to defend herself, it may have been to instigate something. She comes from a broken home and this is her second or third school. E steers clear of her, and the bullies she tangles with. It was never understood  - how things began, who threw the first insult, the first punch, the first grabbed book but the end is a chronic cycle of violence. At one point, the girl's mother got the police involved and this was seen as offensive, a step too far. The police did not resolve anything so it was all just a lot of saber rattling. That is the most common sound here. The empty threat.

Last week, there was a sobrani, sort of a cross between a parent-teacher conference and a school meeting. I was busy, so E went by herself and took notes. Five minutes in she messaged me, that I was wise not to be there. Nothing about this girl was going to be resolved.
"Boys will be boys" was all …

Mexican blankets and clowns

By my fifth day in New York, the city felt like an old pair of jeans I had misplaced and then found in my luggage. Everything just fit. People smiled at me. Every lunch was a blue plate special. Old friends uncorked bottles and bottles of wine, whipped up late night macchiatos and tucked me into bed under Mexican blankets.

I slept the whole flight back, returning to a rainy Moscow afternoon with a suitcase full of toys. The city was oddly quiet.

Lost in time again, I surrendered to naps in the afternoon and spent my nights trying to fall back asleep. I felt like I had forgotten my travel clock in New York this time around.

On Sunday, I took E on a walk to рынок (the outside market) and recognized a famous clown in the street. Kuklachov, founder of the Moscow Cat Circus nodded kindly to me as I said hello. There is no kinder or gentler clown alive, as far as I am concerned. He finds stray cats, takes them in and teaches them to perform in his imaginative and charming little theater. He lives with something like forty cats in his apartment upstairs. The marquee is covered with portraits of them, with their names spelled in giant yellow letters. He also has a little dog – some kind of white terrier.

We bought triangle shaped pastries filled with lamb and onions. E likes to eat them in street with me, sitting on the curb like we are in some lost Chaplin film.

I really felt like I was in Moscow again.

Comments

The Expatresse said…
I am dying to see the Cat Circus!
brenda said…
why oh why have i never heard of the Cat Circus? and man, do I wish I were E. What a life she leads on these journeys, holding hands with her father.

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