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Not me, her

In 1987, I found myself trying to write about a high school girlfriend that had been molested by her father when she was a child. I was 19 years old, struggling to find my way through a screenwriting assignment about delivering character. The idea was to describe messy young love between two Sid and Nancy want-to-be's. But that failed, as I could not stomach oversimplifying her complicated past, events that shaped her life as a 16 year old with a mohawk, a smart mouth, a lingering stare. I understood that I had to start at the very beginning.

No one wanted to hear the story. When it was my turn to read in class, it even came to be that some of the other students asked to stand in the hallway before they heard another description of what happened in that lonely little house in the middle of nowhere. I was trying, and failing, and trying again to get things right, to explain how this happened, how it could happen to this girl, how this man found his way to acts of selfishness and d…

колготки (tights)

It's hard to believe my little girl has her first day of Detskie Sad (Kindergarden) tomorrow. I'm not sure who is less prepared - me or her. We've organized all of the tests to confirm she hears ok, sees, ok, breathes ok, has no TB, etc. The school is about 10 minutes walk from the apartment.


There is an overgrown courtyard with apple trees, their fruit littering the dirt. There are poppies, and little purple dahlias. There are clumps of little mushrooms that look like houses that we found this morning, on the final preparation visit. 


I understand how much she just wants to stay at home, surrounded by countless familiar dolls, puzzles and magic markers. I don't really have a great reason for why she needs to go. Every time I explain why she should go, it sounds quite silly. Effortlessly, she replies and my talking points fall apart in my hands. 


I decided to take another tact. I explained to her how we ended up living in Moscow and things took a different perspective. I explained why I went to school, and even how I was a professor for a while. I told her that I had always wished she would lead an interesting life, and that going to school would ensure a future of adventures. Tough to argue with that one. She lives for adventures. 


She suddenly looks so tall in her calgotki (tights), with her legs dangling on the side of couch as I look for her new sneakers. We agreed I would pick out her outfit, and she would pick out mine. 


Tomorrow is the big day - -well, for at least an hour. Then we come back each day for one hour more until she finds herself. 

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