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cold nostalgia

There is a note, stuck to the front entrance of our building. The hot water will be turned off for ten days. This is something that happens every summer, although it snowed a week ago and children wander the playgrounds in ski hats these days. At night it can be 40 degrees fahrenheit.  The hot water is always turned off like this, at some point during June or July. It is a long-standing Soviet tradition, and people begrudgingly accept it here. But the baby, V does not. She wants to stand in a hot bath before she goes to sleep, to splash and pour water all around her, and N. She wants to stand and wiggle her tiny hands under the spout, as she grows pink and clean, as she howls and shouts for us to see what new trick she has improvised. There is no explanation for her, why the hot water is off today, and will be tomorrow. She is angry, furious even.

I used to buy the story that this offered a chance for the water department to fix pipes, to take care of routine maintenance. Hot water c…

red, yellow, blue, green.

Spring in Moscow smells like oil paint and mud. Handfuls of black haired workers paint everything in sight, dripping fire engine red and egg yolk yellow, splashing middle blue and acid green on every banister and bench, every gate and metro entrance. They lounge in their coveralls, smoking cigarettes, eyeing everyone on their way to work. Everything is soft and wet and sticky, as one more layer of paint dries slowly in the sun. Everything I see has gotten a little bit thicker, cruder, more grotesque. I imagine the city will eventually become one giant lump decorated in these 4 childish colors.

The half-empty wine bottles on the kitchen table look beautiful the next morning. Coffee tastes especially delicious. Now E draws pictures of me with a guitar, or clouds and flowers and little birds. Sometimes N is half asleep, bringing my hands to her body in the warmth of the covers. There is a fragile peace and balance to my days now. And now the old wounds are naked in the sun, white and twisted like spiderwebs that could not fully be brushed away.

There is a new restlessness worming its way inside me. There is nowhere to hide here. And maybe, no reason to.

Today I saw a child's toy abandoned on the sidewalk - a little lamb, staring up at me.

Helpless, was my first thought. The next, was to buy something to scrape paint away, down to the bare metal.


Comments

willwilisovsky said…
Ah, but there is no metal.
This city is made of paint.
The rest is silence Brother Marco

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