OK, I don’t actually have any cider on me at the moment, but I used to drink it, and I am imagining drinking it right now. With the too-little fireplace cracking and my old dog, Zara, wagging her tail hard enough to send the glasses straight off the coffee table and onto the light-coloured rug.
This week is the anniversary of my cousin Yaroslava’s very early and tragic death, and I am having Moments. The Moments come up behind me on the street and take a swing at my head like cracked-out kids desperate for spare change, and they ambush me over my porridge. As far as I know, the history of Kiev only has two chapters: Before Yaroslava and After. There, UNESCO, I made it easy on you, you are welcome.
The days are getting shorter, and my running shoes echo strangely on the stadium. Bees mistake my hair for late-blooming flowers. Yaroslava is everywhere, as are the other people I’ve lost. Some are dead, and some are alive, but they’re all gone, and they’re all curling up onto themselves like leaves, and murmuring.
Lullaby (Mountain) – the Acorn
Swing Low Sweet Chariot – Elvis Presley
Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd
Techet Rechenka – Dina Verni
Quite Rightly So – Procol Harum
It’ll All Work Out – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Kibou No Wadachi – Beat Crusaders
Hey, What’s the Matter? – Skyhooks
Una Notte a Napoli – Pink Martini
It Hurts To See You Dance So Well – the Pipettes
Now, “Elizabethtown” is not a good movie. I know that.
But, it was released a few weeks after Yaroslava died, and I remember cracking a smile in the theater, and that smile was so wide and unexpected, that it made my jaw hurt at the time. And all I could think was: “I’m back to this point where my face muscles get cramped and confused when I smile. Damn.” That Christmas, we actually visited the real Elizabethtown up in Kentucky, as well as Versailles, where most of the film was, well, filmed. I made friends with a horse on Mark’s farm (at least I think I did; the horse was probably whoring out friendship for carrots).
So here’s another song from that movie that made me smile so damn much: