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the first

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…

a day in the life

More explosions. More dead, injured, lost in the smoke - just trying to get home. Looking for loved ones, and taxis to achieve some crude sense of safety as Moscow just keeps plodding along. No one here seems to be disturbed. It is not mentioned in conversation. Meetings go on. Fresh milk is delivered. Schools are open.

I am at a loss for words. I turn and turn in my sleep. I can't remember any of my dreams. I do not feel safe here.

I cannot shrug events off so easily. I see the baggage carousel in my mind's eye. After the journey, and passport control there is that fantastic sense of relief. That moment when you study everyone else that was on the flight just one more time, now with your foot up on a cart. Now pulling a fresh piece of gum from your pocket, the juice sliding around your mouth as you wait for the belt to lurch into motion.  You start to wonder if your bags made it, as each lump of luggage plops down, awkward as turtles on their backs. And in this lost stretch of time you are realizing the journey is over, that your girlfriend or your uncle is just past that glass wall waiting to squeeze your hand or kiss you twice on the lips, to look at your face with a sense of wonder as they try to see how your journey has changed you.

Instead, the explosion. Body parts around you, men and women missing legs and arms. Smoke everywhere, your eyes tearing, a deafening sound. And maybe lost in this moment you imagine what you would be seeing, smelling, feeling if you were not here right now. Those crude details of an ordinary day in your life that are transformed into something epic, majestic. The low rumble of the metro, the smell of vomit on the seats by this time of day, your child in school, dressed in her gym class uniform as she stands in line, a broom left outside in the cold air.










Comments

Omg, please tell me you were not actually there when it happened???
Annie said…
It is so hard to be oblivios to some news - news that is real to you. Never having been in Iraq, I can hear of explosions there and, while sad, can't really imagine it.... I try to feel what I should feel, and can't.

But this one really twisted up my insides. Because I've been there, and furthermore, at some of the most alive moments of my life. Alert, full of the most pregnant anticipation as we headed out into the country I've always loved, enlivened to bursting with the anticipation of meeting our new child, and stepping into a whole new way of living, another level of loving.

But, as you say, even the most mundane moments are precious and beautiful, and full. Especially if we are aware that we could lose it all in an instant.
willwilisovsky said…
The first time it happens it changes everything, the second time it changes less until, in the end it changes nothing. So in England when I was young, and so in the decade I've been watching it here. It's not indifference by any means, rather an echo of Beckett's line: "I must go on, I can't go on, I'll go on."
Mely said…
I read this yesterday and still trying to understand if we had become disconnected or just living in denial of bad things happening in the world.

Keep enjoy the small things and the beautiful company close to you.

Mely
shawn said…
catching up on your blog...the photos in this are really good, the very last photo of the tire tracks is especially nice, looks like smokestacks, or maybe I just see smokestacks in everything.

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