Tatiana had imagined her Alexander since she was a child, before she believed that someone like him was even possible. When she was a little girl, she dreamed of a fine world in which a good man walked its winding roads, perhaps somewhere in his wandering soul searching for her.
Tania,” he whispers, “promise me you won’t forget me when I die.” “You won’t die, soldier,” she says. “You won’t die. Live! Live on, breathe on, claw onto life, and do not let go. Promise me you will live for me, and I promise you, when you’re done, I will be waiting for you.” She is sobbing. “Whenever you’re done, Alexander, I will be here, waiting for you.
Alexander, you broke my heart. But for carrying me on your back, for pulling my dying sled, for giving me your last bread, for the body you destroyed for me, for the son you have given me, for the twenty-nine days we lived like Red Birds of Paradise, for all our Naples sands and Napa wines, for all the days you have been my first and last breath, for Orbeli- I will forgive you.
The sunshine filtered in through the billowing white curtains. Tatiana knew there would be only an instant, a brief flicker of time that bathed her with the possibilities of the day. In a moment it would all be gone. And in a moment it was. Still...that sun streaking through the room, the distant rumble of buses through the open window, the slight wind. This was the part of Sunday that Tatiana loved most: the beginning.
Here, take this, she would say, take this, and tell me where he is. Tell me whether he's dead or alive, so I can walk as his widow or his wife. No one would, or could, tell her, and so she continued to cook, and to learn new things all the while searching for an answer among the outcasts. The way he carried his body, the way he walked in my life, Tatiana thought, declared that he was the only man I had ever loved, and he knew it. And until I was alone without him, I thought it was... Read more »
Here I am, your one man circus freak show, having bled out for mother Russia, having desperately tried to get to you, now on top of you with this scourge marks, and you, who used to love me, who was sympathized, internalized, normalized everything, you are not allowed to turn away from me....this is what I am going to look like until the day I die. I can't get any peace from you ever unless you find away to make peace with this. Make peace with me. Or let me go for good.
He stared at her fists and at her face and said with upset incredulity, "You promised me you would forgive me-" "Forgive you,"Tatiana hissed through her teeth, tears streaming down her face, "for your brave and indifferent face, Alexander!" She groaned in pain. "Not for your brave and indifferent heart.
Do you see the Field of Mars, where I walked next to my bride in her white wedding dress, with red sandals in her hands, when we were kids?” “I see it well.” “We spent all our days afraid it was too good to be true, Tatiana,” said Alexander. “We were always afraid all we had was a borrowed five minutes from now.” Her hands went on his face. “That’s all any of us ever has, my love,” she said. “And it all flies by.” “Yes,” he said, looking at her, at the desert, covered coral and yellow with golden... Read more »
Good-bye, my moonsong and my breath, my white nights and golden days, my fresh water and my fire. Good-bye, and may you find a better life, find comfort again and your breathless smile, and when your beloved face lights up once more at the Western sunrise, be sure what I felt for you was not in vain. Good-bye and have faith, my Tatiana.