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a peaceful protest

I was 16, and the thought of being forced to mention God as part of the pledge of allegiance was too hypocritical an act for me to play along with. Each day of high school began with this mundane recitation, as most people just stood with their hand jutting from a hip, the other dangling across their chest as they counted out the seconds until they could sit back down. They leaned against desks, and talked through it about what party and where it would be, if there would be a keg or a bonfire in the woods. I recited the words, omitting the "under God" part as a sort of half-baked protest. I was raised to flaunt my family's ramshackle atheism, as a choice of smug pride. We knew better, was the prevailing logic.

But one day, I could not stand and say any of it. It felt so rote, so hollow, so devoid of choice. There was no law that said I was required to say it. I knew this was my right, a form of free speech. My homeroom teacher was a legendary drinker, a trash-talking re…

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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