My new (ridiculously priced) coat is black, and all of the (somewhat) affordable accessories this season have been black – black leather gloves, black wool hat, black platform boots, black patent leather bag. I dress up for the weather, but always try to remember to put on a pair of heart-patterned socks underneath, or maybe a necklace with a silver spoon on it, or underwear with a funny print, or all three options at once. That way, I have an amusing secret to keep from the wind that keeps trying to get underneath my clothes.
I was crossing Novokuznetskaya Street in the evening the other day, right before it got dark. I could see where the cloud cover stretched toward the east, toward my house, and I could see where it ended. The sky beyond was the colour of warm milk, vanilla and forgetting. In the heart hidden away underneath my black coat and white skin, I knew that I could no longer call this season autumn. The chemical reactions happening in the October sky make it impossible to do so. This is a season in-between seasons. It’s pre-winter.
Whenever I go up to my building entrance after dark, I always make a point of looking over my shoulder, even when I am with my boyfriend. On most nights, I don’t see much: cars, trees, and, in these months, a particular star trembling between bare branches.
“I like that star,” I say in the voice of a spoiled socialite. “Buy it for me.”
“What if we move?”
“It’s a quality star – we’ll be able to see it from anywhere in Moscow. Buy it for me.”
“If you behave well.”
We never seem to have any money, but we’re always carrying packages in our hands: bags of spices, bottles of wine, chunks of feta cheese in protective plastic. We talked about bringing home a bag of frozen pelmeni recently.
“We won’t make it home on time,” he said.
But the wind outside argued otherwise.
The first cab we hailed took us across the bridge and to our embankment for a mere 150 roubles. People haggle less in this weather, in the dark. The voices of the DJ’s at night on the car radio are a little sleepier, and you can picture yourself dreaming away in the backseat, awakening far outside of Moscow, in some fairy forest under the snow, where you can hold hands and leave footprints, and talk to no one but each other and, perhaps, a grey wolf – the spit on his wizened muzzle long since turned to crystals of ice.