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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 …

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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