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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…

Someplace in Mexico (Buddha on the water)

It takes some time for the irony to sink in, that she wants to crawl into a six foot plastic bubble and roll around, buoyed in this water tank on the outskirts of the city. The giant balls are tethered to the launch area. The man who runs the place does not get paid with carnival tickets, just money in his hand. $6 for something like five minutes and I can pay extra to keep her inside when the time is up, depending on how many people are waiting. 

She sits in there, her pants suddenly too tiny, rocking back and forth pretending she is a tiny Buddha on the water. The other children are doing flips, running like gerbils inside their balls. I take pictures, yelling above the din of the crowd that she should do something but she smiles at me instead. 
“That was amazing.’ She announces, emerging after two extra-long turns inside on wobbly legs.
The man smiles at me, nodding.
I tell him he has a great job, that he makes a lot of people very happy. He agrees, offering more smiles and giant cartoon head nods. 

And then we are not there in the water tank universe any more. We are in Moscow, the city she has not left for more than seven years now. 

Walking in the street, we discuss me the places I will take her someday, in order of importance.
     New York
      New Orleans
      Someplace in Mexico
      Maybe Puerto Rico
      Someplace in Spain
      A lot of places in Italy, like Bologna
      Not the desert
      Coney Island
      Paris or Portugal
      Maybe Australia


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