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talking to the trees

Most experiences cannot be discussed. No one wants to hear the ugly truth, and chances are you will be attacked for sharing it. To be able to speak freely means that you need a willing listener, otherwise you are just talking to the trees. Time and again I have come to understand that there is no difference between New York and Moscow, no difference between East and West. They are just cults of personality, built on violence and money and moral quicksand.

The life of an expat evolves from those early, awkward victories to one of assimilation or in cases like mine - eventually understanding that you have no country you can (or want to) call home. I am left with just these four walls and my family. This apartment is the only place I actually belong. This is the only place I do not need to soft-pedal my thoughts, where I do not need to apologize for what I have unearthed. The river of betrayal runs deep whether I look outside, or across the ocean. Willful ignorance, willful indifference…

panthers, crows and sparrows

The river is almost frozen over. Wind whips across the ice each morning as we tiptoe along the uneven sidewalk and make our way to school. E makes small desperate noises, sometimes just stopping until she feels like she can move again. My legs lock up when I am about to fall, hands jumping wildly for balance.
We feel the same.

The man with the accordion is out again playing that same song. I try to remember how many times I have written about his blank stare, the same chipper melody. He is unstoppable. My irritation has waned, and now I welcome the light rumble of his instrument as we make our way through the bright tunnel he plays in. 
His familiar face sits beneath a new hat. 
I wonder if he notices us after years of passing him.
My thoughts run to the day we will leave here, and if I will remember him. This accordion player is paralyzed, like one of Rilke's panthers. The world outside of this place may not exist to him. I know that when I am not here, it becomes an impossible place within a matter of days, a place that cannot be imagined. The snow and filth, these blank faces cannot remain. They become charcoal sketches in an old book. They are never real to me in some way. I am not here, I tell myself. I am not here.

"At mom's house there are crows." E says to me after a long silence. "But at our house there are sparrows."
I nod, showing I am listening.
"I like sparrows." She continues. "They are so sweet."
"Yes they are." I say.
"And crows eat garbage." E says, wrinkling her nose.


liv said…
And there they are - the sparrows.
She's a little sparrow, so sweet.

Someday it WILL all be like a dream. I hope she only remembers the good parts, then.
I hope you too only remember the good parts, Marco.

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