It was such a beautiful day. We woke up early and listened to Vivaldi’s Four seasons and then I took my baby to the window to watch a billion white butterflies dancing outside. We were planning to have brownies for breakfast. And then I checked my phone and saw the news about attack on Charlie Hebdo. It happens way too often. Reality breaks into my cozy little world chasing snow butterflies away. Reality reminds me that life is fragile, time is not kind, love is fleeting and no matter how loud we clap our hands, sometimes fairies die. That morning
My favourite Christmas story is the one of Harper Lee, the author of "to Kill a Mockingbird". How she was cold and lonely, stranded in New York for Christmas, sleeping on friends' couch and how on Christmas morning she received a priceless gift - one year worth of her salary, so she could quit her job and write her novel. I like it, because it's a piece of biography, but also a fairy tale. For years I've been dreaming that something like this would happen to me, something wonderful and unexpected, something out of the ordinary holiday routine. For as long as I remember, I spent every Christmas waiting for a miracle.
I make pancakes every Sunday morning, sometimes even on Saturday. It's my reward after a week of routine, hurried breakfasts and bleak winter days. It's my sweet escape. Some people hike, some people make love or vacuum-clean listening to Beethoven. I make pancakes. That Sunday morning I woke up in a no-pancake-mood. Well. it happens even to the best of us. I made a nest on my wide windowsill and sat there, quiet and motionless, dreaming of an adventure. Any adventure of any kind will perfectly do for a wintery no-pancakes Sunday morning.
It seems that winter has finally come to Moscow with its heavy snowclouds and crispy, cold breath. Let it wait, let it linger for a while, while we are roaming our closets and drawers for a precious pair of white hand-knitted socks and nesting our toes comfortably in their warm woolen bellies. Let it hang about while we are getting ready to taste its pleasures. After all, when winter comes to Moscow, it will not last but six long months.
A five-year-old girl standing behind the curtain was blushing from being despicably ashamed. You might think that she has broken her mum’s favourite vase or spilled her juice over a new dress, but, actually, she just ate a caterpillar a couple of minutes ago. There is nothing wrong with eating a nice juicy occasional caterpillar, you would argue quite rightly. The girl, however, thought the opposite and mistaking-a-caterpillar-for-a-cucumber seemed so much more of a deadly sin for her than it really was. Then there was the elder sister (cousin, in fact, but some cousins do become real sisters, don’t they) who sewed the most amazing doll dresses and organized single-handedly doll catwalks on the sofa. The small girl will never be able to tell afterwards why she will remember the unfinished wedding dress forever after and buy her own of the same kind 20 odd years later.
It was a Sunday morning. It was one of those Sundays when nothing happened, when nothing was ever supposed to happen, nothing at all. What could ever happen on Sunday? Except that the weather people said it would be the last warm weekend of autumn and the leaves were all shades of red and yellow and yellowish red and quiet waters of Saint Lawrence river looked almost perfectly blue. It was a fine day for taking chances, and changing plans on a whim. A day for letting things happen and letting go. It was a good day for strolling sleepy streets of Montreal on my own, looking for an open café, waiting for a friend, who accepted my sudden invitation for breakfast.