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no gold (things will have to wait)

There is an old Russian expression for the inevitable moment when your neighbors begin renovating. "Searching for gold in the walls." They say, to describe the epic sounds of drills in ancient concrete. You might appreciate this odd humor, this dark joke, this survival tactic. I am not so graceful a man to wrap my thoughts around it. Those drills and grinders, they shake the very walls of our apartment. Early on Sunday mornings and often long into the evenings they go.

This has been going on for the last four months, maybe more. I stopped counting.

I cannot imagine there are any walls left, that there is an entire open floor below us, the wind whipping through the naked beams and nothing else. That is the only explanation. Or that they break down walls, build new ones, find a flaw, some grand mistake and then break all of the walls down again. Not swiftly with sledgehammers, but with one crappy old drill with a dull bit, mashing away, so that children hundreds of miles away…

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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