It’s the sort of day when church bells ring non-stop and people bring their digital SLR cameras and fancily dressed Chihuahuas named Caesar out to various Moscow parks, making me bemoan the fact that our own digital SLR camera is currently in a village outside Voronezh, accompanying my husband on a filming excursion. He can actually use that thing – and shoot video in full HD besides that – but still. Frowny face.
An as Easter treat, I took the bump (or “The Globe,” as we know call him – it originally didn’t start as a means to honour William Shakespeare, but the practice has sort of morphed into that for me) out to Kuskovo. I didn’t want to bother with buying tickets just so I could troop through the museum all by my lonesome, having not made any Easter plans with anybody, so I stuck to the park grounds. I met a horse in red leg-warmers and then lay on the grass by the lake for a while. The grass is just beginning to turn green.
Ducks – the regular kind, and the more exotic kind, whose species I can’t begin to guess – drifted by on business of their own. I thought that the Moscow around me is so different from many people’s expectations of what the city is like. It’s not scary, or intense. It’s hardly glamorous. It’s populated by increasingly random people – young picnicking Italians who made me think that they must be students, elderly women in bright scarves and trench coats, beer drinkers vaguely reminiscent of football hooligans on their day off, people on sports bikes, high school girls doing photo sessions by the water and pouting too much.
The Globe sat quietly for most of our journey, reacting briefly to such episodes as a horse neighing or me laughing when an English Bulldog came over to tickle my ankles with his nose. I’ve read that slow walks soothe babies in the womb – which seems about right. The Globe likes to rock out when I’m sitting or lying down. When I’m walking around, my body seems to act like a cradle.
I’ve noticed that he recognizes his father’s voice now. When Alexey comes home and starts talking (usually loudly, because he’s a loud talker) there’s a flurry of activity. They can spend a long time communicating, these two: Alexey talking to The Globe, The Globe kicking and tapping out his own Morse Code messages.
“I wish I could tell you that you were becoming citizens of a utopia,” the guy who lead my citizenship ceremony proceedings said back home in Charlotte, NC. I wish I could tell The Globe the same thing. Sometimes, it literally chokes me, to think about the world I am shepherding him into – and him in it, a little boy with two drama-loving (in every sense of the word) parents, a Muscovite of the 21st century variety, growing up in a place where public places get bombed and traffic jams are legend, a future (if perhaps temporary) hostage to Tolkien and Process Oriented Psychology, Greek cuisine and the PS3. A baby whose eventual conception was heralded by a meteor and slyly granted by St. Matrona of Moscow (we believe), and who taught me that one should always be prepared to have their wishes granted at a moment’s notice. I want him to be happy, and this want is probably the greatest want that I have ever known, and it scares me sometimes. I chase away the fear by reading Damn You Auto Correct and writing vulgar things on my friends’ Facebook walls.
I talk to him about everything, because I want to be honest. I communicate with him in English while in public, which amuses people.
It is funny when you think about it – a woman in enormous sunglasses, cooing to her equally enormous belly in a foreign language in the park. Almost as funny as a young woman in stilettos running after a Chihuahua in a little sailor’s outfit, screaming “Caesar! Do not DARE get in the mud!”*
* – I’ll give you one guess as to whether or not Caesar followed instructions.