Went Up The Water Spout…

Part one: Itsy Bitsy Spider…

 

Matushka.”

“Ah, why so formal, moy kotik? Aren’t you glad to see your mama?”

So it’s true then, what she had heard. The woman is actually in the country. She briefly chides herself for getting sloppy enough with the home security for her to be able to break in. There isn’t enough alcohol in her body to deal with this.

The tall woman stands up off the couch and the metal top of her cane glints in the near dark–feeding off of the slightest sliver of light in the room–the cane glints and suddenly she’s seven again, cross-legged on a plush carpet, shivering despite the warm fire just a few feet away, tear tracks cutting through the blood and the grime on her face begging–no. Irina takes a deep breath, tamping down the rising panic. She squares her shoulders and lifts her head, her gaze steady before asking coldly, “What are you doing here? I had made it very clear that I did not wish to be contacted. “

The woman tuts, “Now now, Nina, I’m sure I brought you up to be better than that. Is that any way to speak to your elders? Or has the crassness of the Amerikashki been imbibed by you during the past years? I must say, your accent is impeccable, it seems you’ve succeeded quite significantly in distancing yourself from your heritage”

“It isn’t my heritage I’ve distanced myself from.” She’s had enough of small talk. Whatever it is that her mother is here for, it can’t be good, but she’d rather they just get this over with. She turns to fill her glass and detects a slight movement from the corner of her eye and almost whirls around to land a well-placed kick, but realizes ‘mama’–the word stings like venom as it sloshes around in her mouth– is simply rearranging her coat. The slight twitch doesn’t go unnoticed and the older woman’s lips curve into a smirk, blood-red and all too smug. What kind of monster.

She doesn’t bother offering the other woman a drink.

“Your sister is unwell.” Irina looks up sharply, her eyes roving over the thin, defined features, trying to come to a conclusion, but like always, her face is as blank as the snowy expanse of their homeland, betraying nothing.

“The last time a family member was supposedly ‘sick’, I was the one who ended up being taken care of at a hospital.”, the accusation running clear and sharp as she spoke evenly.

Continue reading “Went Up The Water Spout…”

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Itsy Bitsy Spider…

“It’s funny. Sometimes I feel like I could burst into tears at any moment in a given day but–but most days, most days all of it just washes over me, missing me entirely and I’m sat at the bottom trying to grasp at things that should have belonged to me–that were meant for me but were never mine to begin with and I can never decide what’s worse: to waste away, parched in the middle of the desert or to feel my lungs fill up and give way and drown in the ocean.”

Her index finger circles the rim of her glass and he wonders at the eloquence displayed despite the inebriated state she’s currently in. There is no doubt, of course, that had it not been for the alcohol and lack of options by way of Friday night companions, the two of them would most certainly have not even bothered with a nod hello, let alone an entire drunken philosophical monologue on mental well-being. He briefly contemplates the extent to which her sober self would regret this conversation come morning but decides that perhaps it wouldn’t be that bad. Maybe this meant they were friends now. He would like that.

By the third drink, she gives up on ridiculing him out of his firm refusal to consume alcohol and by the time she downs her fifth, he’s telling her about moving to the city and taking up the job at the University not entirely sure whether she’s listening but reassured by the occasional nods and the way her eyes flick over to his face every now and then.

Her shoulders have set themselves into a state of sadness they usually never betrayed and his heart constricts in a way not unfamiliar to him and the echoes of a childhood spent grieving over the sadness of those most dear to him faintly reverberate through his skull.

Continue reading “Itsy Bitsy Spider…”