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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…

an early Sunday morning

In the darkness, I see a broken piano by the front door. It stands half-ripped open, naked, crooked. The snow is piling up around its feet. I shrug off a shiver, and bring the equipment to the car. Alexander is waiting, and we have to drive for a few hours.

The ride is mostly silent, the actor Egor in the back seat. We make small talk. The camera rests on my lap and sometimes I yank it up to the window, shooting the dark, blurry landscape as it swishes past us. Slender trees, heaves of blue snow, clouds in the distance, the little dots of light that are houses, people surely sleeping there under warm blankets.

We turn onto a small road as the sky grows bright. There are airplanes covered in cloth, straps flapping around in a steep wind. Out of the car, stretching our legs I am ready to shoot an arrival shot, a shoe leather shot as they used to be called.




The morning goes quickly. Egor has good instincts. The location is perfect, all soft light and tender corners. I take a deep breath and let it out, packing up the camera. I call home. Everyone is just waking up.

It is good to get out of the city, I tell myself. The nerves, the fury, the desperation that I did not know were in my blood - they are vented now, drifting off into that giant white sky. Head lowered, we walk and chew an endless gristle without even knowing it.








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