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no gold (things will have to wait)

There is an old Russian expression for the inevitable moment when your neighbors begin renovating. "Searching for gold in the walls." They say, to describe the epic sounds of drills in ancient concrete. You might appreciate this odd humor, this dark joke, this survival tactic. I am not so graceful a man to wrap my thoughts around it. Those drills and grinders, they shake the very walls of our apartment. Early on Sunday mornings and often long into the evenings they go.

This has been going on for the last four months, maybe more. I stopped counting.

I cannot imagine there are any walls left, that there is an entire open floor below us, the wind whipping through the naked beams and nothing else. That is the only explanation. Or that they break down walls, build new ones, find a flaw, some grand mistake and then break all of the walls down again. Not swiftly with sledgehammers, but with one crappy old drill with a dull bit, mashing away, so that children hundreds of miles away…

ALBINO (PART 2/SECTION TWO - the last excerpt)

One more excerpt of me reading from Albino this week, and then it will all go quiet again. No more visits to the past, to those naive, desperate East Village nights when the world seemed as big as a few square blocks. Everything else was noise, ancient history and completely insignificant. All that mattered was the sound of a saxophone on stage, those pretty girls with wide eyes, the cold sting of a good cocktail, the grit of the street under my fingernails, a long walk home with the taxis sighing past, the horn case thumping against my leg.

It is as if I have not really been in Moscow the past weeks, or just part of me has. Sure, I buy good tomatoes at the market. I work, sweat, take some pictures on a Saturday afternoon but that is just a fraction of the man. The rest is lost in odd nostalgia, knowing the fog will clear, the streets will be cleaned, the sun will climb high into the sky before we wake up as if none of this ever happened.

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