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every other man

The light outside the main entrance to our building has gone out again. The heavy metal door swings wide as I pull a hat down over my ears. In the darkness there are maybe twenty teenagers standing still. My boot scrapes across the ground, slowing down. Their hands in pockets, shoulders hunched, I look for a space to pass between them. A voice appears, saying hello in English, with an obvious accent. I am all instinct, sayingpivyet as I pass, not looking back, wondering who said this. There was a boy that was an extra in Blackbetty that lives in our building, but he is too young, too short for it to have been him.

I look back, navigating the puddles in the street. It does not make any sense.

N is with V, making their way home. I meet them, pulling V into my arms as she chatters about her day, about dry leaves and princesses, about her grandmother's apartment and what she ate there. We are going back home, and I try to explain the odd collection that stands outside. As we pass th…

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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