It is Summer of 1991. | A Simple Life.
It is Summer of 1991.
I am four years old. I am sitting with my Father's parents and my cousin, Masha. She is five years old. We are both born on the same day exactly one year apart. We are at my Grandparents Dacha in the Derevnya Medvedevo. It is a little bit of a drive out of my Father's hometown of Voskresensk. I like this Dacha. I like that the garden is filled with fruits and vegetables. I like to pick the strawberries right off their branch. I like how sweet they taste. I like them better in my Grandmother's homemade jam. I like to help my Grandfather scoop up buckets of water from the well behind us. It is always cool, crisp and tasty. He warns me to not look down too far, for I might fall. I don't really listen. It's a lesson which will take me decades too long to learn. I like to run around the property and play tag with my cousin. Sometimes, the neighbors little girls come to play as well. There is a swing on the property. It stands in the backyard. There are troughs from the many times we've used our feet to get the swing going. We pretend not to get very far. That's when my Grandfather acts as our pilot. As he swings us from side to side, he makes airplane noises. He pretends to make cabin announcements in that airplane speaker voice. He describes to his passengers the land below. Sometimes we fly over Moscow. Sometimes we fly over America. No matter where we're going, our Grandfather always provides us a safe landing home.
When I get older, I will think fondly of this time. I will remember Masha sitting up in the attic, reading books until the dark of night. She seems smarter than me, to me. She is quieter, gentler, and kinder. She is a lover, not a hater. She is a special soul. She will not change with age. Her love will only grow.
I will understand only later in life that it is important to cherish these types of people. They are a rarity.
In the mornings, my Grandmother will wake up early. She will be busy in the kitchen before we awake to the smells of breakfast. The table will always be set with her finest china and silverware, with napkins and place mats. She'll make blinis and porridge. Both steaming from the warmth of the butter. There will be soft-boiled eggs. Fresh cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden. There will be juices and compote. Fresh jam which she'd made over the winter months. I will always eat the porridge, an egg, and some blinis. I alternate the condiments I use. Sometimes I will use honey. Other times, jam. On special occasions, brightly red caviar. In the afternoons I will play. Sometimes we'll visit the neighbors for fresh cow milk. Sometimes for fresh eggs. Sometimes we'll walk down the street to a little corner store to ask for fresh bread. The evenings get cooler so we come back into the house. I will sit in front of their television. I will watch my favorite bedtime cartoon. I will sing the song to myself.
I will lay down in my bed. I will listen to the large clock ticking away militantly. As I fall asleep, I will think about the morning rooster and wonder where it sleeps and when it wakes. Does the sun wake up the rooster? Or does the rooster wake up the sun? I think to myself, in the morning I will try to solve this puzzle and all the others in my head, but right now i'm drunk on love, simplicity and happiness, and it's time for bed.