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streetlights

There is no easy way to say it. I was married to someone I hid from. Tucking E into a sling, I would disappear for hours saying I was going shopping for dinner, and if she fell asleep the excuse was that she needed fresh air as I sat on a park bench with her tiny hand grabbing my pinky until she eventually woke up. I would make my way along the side streets of Greenwich as the sun went down, leaning into store windows but not going in. Eventually I would go home, and as I turned the corner there was a security light that would switch on - obviously attached to some motion sensor. In those strange and lonely moments, I would talk to that light. Each time it clicked on, I felt somehow that the night ahead could be survived no matter what madness waited for us behind the front door.

That was twelve years ago.

Another life, another country.

Today, I turned a corner in Moscow with an all-too familiar bag of groceries swinging from my shoulder. A street light flickered on and all at once I…

trespasses


One of the two elevators is broken again. The floor peeks out, half-way up the doors that are cracked apart.  A light dangles from a hook. A man's dirty hands are scratching around. There is a screwdriver on the floor next to me. I see it, passing it to him without even seeing his face. He mumbles a thank you. The doors to the other elevator bang open, and I step inside.

Upstairs, I think of this scene. The doors apart, the slice of light that plays around. I think to load my camera with a fresh roll of film and go back downstairs. The film is cold, tucked into a bag in the corner of the fridge. It needs to come to room temperature before I put it into the camera or moisture might condense on it.

The roll stands on the edge of the kitchen table. I clean the camera, blow air inside it and behind the lens. I turn it over in my hands, and then the canister is warm enough and I load it. At the same time, I understand I cannot take this picture. If the man sees me, he might be furious. Documenting anyone working here, it is something a spy does, or better said - an informant. The shot is not worth it. The risk is too great. The country seems to be built on trespasses. So much is forbidden. Even the gravestones in cemeteries have little fences around them.

Then, I decide to take the elevator to the second floor, not the first and maybe I can take the picture from there and never be noticed. I pull on a black trench coat. The camera hides under my armpit.

Downstairs, I peer into the darkness of the first floor. The doors are closed. He is already gone.



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