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The yarmarka (farmer's market) is about to close. Some of the people are already packing up, offering their last bruised tomatoes at half-price to anyone walking past them.  I am wandering, staring at bunches of herbs, at the same old options - cabbage, pepper, potato, garlic, apple, cucumber. But then I see a pile of peas. The season must have come early this year. I buy a kilo, and some mint. I know what is for dinner. We have not had it in eleven months.

At home, I rip the bag open, showing them to V. She stands by the kitchen table, eyes wide. I crack one open, showing her the little rounds inside. She plucks one out, her pinky pointing to the ceiling.
"Try it." I tell her.
She does, but she does not like it.

I pull out a bowl for them. She jumps up and down a few times. V always wants to help in the kitchen. I pull her to my lap, and we begin pulling them out from the shells. She learns quickly, tossing them with a flourish into the bowl, a few cascading to the flo…

Christmas card from Kurskaya

Christmas brought spinning tops and Yorkshire pudding at an expat party on Kurskaya. A teenage boy messed with a gameboy on the couch with the same expression boys make all over the world. We splashed whiskey into plastic cups as our children sat on our laps. We poured gravy, asked for seconds, and shared stories about old girlfriends. In the company of expats, all men, I felt like I was back in the East Village for a little while.

We traded obscure music references, and then more obscure literary ones. There were knowing smiles, cigarettes smoked in the kitchen, one bottle gone now. Koko cuts her own hair into severe bangs and beats the hell out of her older brother, but plays like an angel with little E. They spin a top and think if they blow on it very hard, it will keep going.

Ah, the joy of speaking English for a few hours after the impossible backwards guessing game of Russian. By the end of the day, my tongue thick in my mouth I tend to understand and remember nothing of this dumbfounding language.

And all at once, E is asleep on my shoulder and we take a taxi home. The splashy lights and blinking trees swing past us, as there is no traffic at this hour. And here, our castle lit from below - casting a great shadow into the clouds.


Comments

Anonymous said…
You're writing continues mezmerize. What along strange trip it is. Keep on keeping on.

R

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