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talking to the trees

Most experiences cannot be discussed. No one wants to hear the ugly truth, and chances are you will be attacked for sharing it. To be able to speak freely means that you need a willing listener, otherwise you are just talking to the trees. Time and again I have come to understand that there is no difference between New York and Moscow, no difference between East and West. They are just cults of personality, built on violence and money and moral quicksand.

The life of an expat evolves from those early, awkward victories to one of assimilation or in cases like mine - eventually understanding that you have no country you can (or want to) call home. I am left with just these four walls and my family. This apartment is the only place I actually belong. This is the only place I do not need to soft-pedal my thoughts, where I do not need to apologize for what I have unearthed. The river of betrayal runs deep whether I look outside, or across the ocean. Willful ignorance, willful indifference…

combat boots and red socks

There is a ripple of laughter dancing around the dinner table. E is perched on her chair, her head tilted back, her mouth wide open as she howls. N's eyebrow is raised, like a movie star. V is slapping her palms against the high chair, mashing rice into her fingers. They are all in complete agreement about what I will write about this week, as sure as sure can be. The shitty teenagers obsessed with their phones during the concert, lips pursed in eternal duck faces. The long wait in the cold because we could not find the VIP entrance, and then eventually did in the back of a parking lot next to a tiny market.

They know I will piss and moan about the lack of food, the choice of whiskey. And as for the bomb threat that ended the show, and how no one announced we should all leave the building? Well, I must write about that too, with righteous indignance. Were they just going to let us all stand there and hope it was a fake threat? 

But I am doing none of that. 

I am swept up in the realization that I took my daughter to her first concert. People were indeed getting trampled. Beer bottles shattered. Cigarettes dangled above our heads and dripped hot ash. My child knew the words, and shouted them at the top of her lungs. She pumped her fist in the air. She wobbled back and forth in a new pair of Dr. Martins, their laces dancing around her ankles. She shivered with excitement. I leaned on the railing next to her, feeling invisible. Not the dad in the Fat Possum hat, not anyone. A ghost. The music bounced around the room. Beautiful, stark images played on a wall of screens. The drummer pounced and flailed. The singer wore red socks, his black pants hiked up for some flood that never came. 

She was happy, even thrilled. 


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