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secret windows (don't look back)

I found myself in a conversation with an old friend, about the crossroads of writing, nostalgia and memory. "Distance and perspective are the upside." I said. "The slippery slope is romanticizing and being nostalgic. Well, that's the memory trap no matter who you are."
"It's funny... I spent most of my life thinking that I had a rather dull adolescence, and it's only recently that I've discovered that these stories are a lot more interesting than I gave them credit." My friend replied. I admitted that I gravitate towards stories that are based on a mistake, a lie - thinking you had some great childhood, when actually it was a shitshow, and you fantasized about being adopted but sort of blocked that out.  


The question wobbled around inside my head for a few days. Was I too fast to judge nostalgia, to quick to brush aside its sweetness, stepping over it towards something invariably darker and sadder?  On Sunday, I was walking on Kutuzovsky,…

no rain on the parade

There are countless new flags hanging limp and dusty above the sidewalk. It reminds me of the Fourth of July when we lived in the country. The local newspaper would print a special center page spread with red ink for the stripes. Everyone would scotch tape their newspaper flag to a window that faced the street, leaving them for weeks in the long summer sun until they faded and yellowed, forgotten like Christmas tree ornaments they could not bring themselves to take down.

There are drunks in the street in the middle of the day, their arms hanging across the shoulders of girls in stilettos as they swear and spit and stumble across the pavement. The air is half-electric as I weave around them with a bag of groceries tucked under one arm. The air is dry. It is always like this on the First of May in Moscow, a day for the workers. There are planes spreading chemicals across the clouds in the sky so it will not rain. Things can be very literal here. No one can rain on the worker's parade, not even God or Mother Nature.

The line of old women selling polyester blouses runs along the walk home. The giant one like a battleship sits in front of boxes of strawberries. Lurking behind a sign for Luis Vuitton, a frail man with white hair holds bouquets of tiny purple flowers. My head jerks towards him. I am convinced they smell like grape soda. He smiles at me, mumbling words I cannot remotely understand. The little bouquets are wrapped carefully in cellophane and red thread. I ask him how much they are, buying three for 150 rubles.

N loves them, closing her eyes and breathing them in deep. She says they are hyacinths. "Geeyasinth." She pronounces, the way Russians call them.


Looking outside the windows once E is better, after I have stopped coughing and sneezing I see that the trees are full of leaves, the grass growing wet and tall. Spring has arrived almost overnight and it feels like some kind of betrayal. The little flowers growing in the dirt look surreal, fake.

It all bears suspicion, impossible.

The days are running away and I do not know what I have to show for it. The pile of pages sit near the bed, unmoved. The guitars in the hallway have dust across them, proof they have not been played. N has been storming through the rooms with garbage bags and the vacuum. She attacks the windows, the messy balcony, the closets, all vulnerable to her work. The house shines. I see the floor as if for the first time. Shirts are piled in neat rows. A load of laundry hangs on the white rack, drying. I feel guilty just watching her.

The house now in order, she rests. I take out the garbage, tote E's old bike down to one of the guards to see if he wants it for his daughter.






Comments

oldswimmer said…
This blog is a rare find. Thank you for your impressionistic art.
Annie said…
Beautiful, as usual....
Rubye Jack said…
"The house is in order."
It's always a good feeling to have things in their places. If only our life could have such order. But maybe not.

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