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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,…

the visitor

There is a knock on the door. It is the middle of the afternoon, and salesmen normally ring all of the doorbells in the morning. Through the peephole, I see a small man in overalls. He knocks again, and for some reason I decide to open the door. He waves a paper in the air, something about a mark, something about the pipes. I tell him, sure ok I will sign it and he gestures inside.

I stare at his thick, wet black hair and his tiny hands. He is polite, pushing his shoes off at the doormat and tiptoeing in. He asks to look in the bathroom, and I wave him on. E wanders to the living room door, head craning.
"He needs to check the pipes or something." I tell her, quietly.
She shrugs her shoulders and goes back to her homework.

The man peers and squints at the pipes behind a crooked panel that swings open in the bathroom. He scribbles numbers down, squints again. He seems to be taking a long time and I wonder if he can see very well. His flashlight dances around, and eventually he is done. For some reason, I do not sign any papers. His head bows a little as he leaves. Thank you, thank you.

I did not even think to call N and ask her what to do.

Later, I mention this visit to her and her eyes roll. No one ever comes to check the pipes, it is no job, no position. This man is not who he pretended to be. He was a spy, an imposter, maybe looking for some other information. But no one has ever come to check the pipes in Moscow.









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