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the long way around

The living room is a forest of mic stands and cables. A cup of coffee, a large glass of water and a shallow shot of whiskey sit on the tiny white table. I alternate between them, making sure the guitar is in tune, trying to understand if the chair will creak when I lean my head back on the second chorus.  There is a hush in the room. I can hear my own heartbeat. The lyrics are printed out on a fresh piece of paper, large and thick so I can read them easily even though I sing with my eyes closed and will surely forget a handful of words no matter what I do.

The guitar sounds dry, perfect - even honest. I can play a simple D chord with a long strum, or the side of my thumb and it sounds so different. I record a few takes, barefoot in the bright room. I am going too fast in some parts, and my fingers are already sore from the chord changes.

And then all at once, I am thinking of a show I played in an old factory in Brooklyn, way back when I had just started writing songs almost twenty y…

Studencheskaya!

E sang in the cold rain today on the way to detskie sad. Dark and colorless, the low sky did not stop us from being silly. Men raked leaves into piles with handmade brooms - basically, twigs bunched together and wrapped in string. We pretended to be a train, and E was driving, calling out all of the stops.

“Studencheskaya!” she crowed, kicking wet leaves from our path.

“Parki!” She shouted.

Inside, the children were changing into dry clothes, and making a line at the door. They would all walk together to bring breakfast up to the classroom. The halls smelled of warm milk.

My face in the wet wind, I crossed the river. Fresh pastries thumping around in my pocket, I smelled both a sort of dread and a sense of possibilities. The world seemed to be wrapping around this solitary moment, each car splashing past me, each yellow leaf turning under my heel, each toy in each window, each face braced against the same wind.

A dark Monday like so many, but somehow my feet are still dry.

Comments

The Expatresse said…
Someone left a crown of yellow maple leaves on a car in front of our building. I saw a woman wearing on this weekend in Suzdal . . . never saw that before (like a dandelion necklace), but now saw it twice. Gotta learn how to make me one.
Stefanya said…
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