Lana V Lynx
Avid reader and occasional writer of satire and dystopia under a pen name of my favorite wild cat.
When I was 15 and my sister - 12, my step-father, a kindest man with a huge heart but exhausted will to fight his alcoholism addiction, hung himself in our bathtub. Two days before my mom’s birthday, one day after his own. My mother was working that day, and thought he was just sleeping off his hangover after celebrating with his buddies. She started to worry when he did not answer the phone or knocks on the door and left the key in the lock turned from the inside so that no one could open it from the outside. One of our male neighbors found him by climbing a tree to our 2nd floor apartment’s balcony. My step-father used my sister's jumping rope, hindging it on a clothesline hook. Neither me nor my sister were allowed to see him in all the commotion of removing the body when we came home from the infamous Soviet subbotniks (Saturday community clean-up days). That’s how I’ll always remember it happened on a Saturday. My mom did not allow us to go to his funeral either.
I’m standing in front of a mirror giving myself a pep talk, working up my confidence. With almost 25 years of teaching under my belt, I only have to do it occasionally, for important research presentations or teaching a class where a colleague will be sitting in for a peer evaluation.
Boomerang of Happiness - 18
A week later, Anna reported for the first day of work as an accountant for the Border Guards. She produced a mixed first impression: While looking through the books to familiarize herself with the specifics, Anna found several significant mistakes and discrepancies, which both upset and impressed the chief accountant. Upset because the newcomer was so quick to pick up on her younger associates’ sloppiness and impressed because they had time to correct everything before the audit looming in two days.
Boomerang of Happiness - 17
The job prospect for Anna was by no means a happy coincidence. Colonel Grushevsky, even being on a solid border guard career path, was a tech nerd. He was interested in all new technologies, including computers and robotics. When he’d found out about Alex and his new project, Grushevsky made every effort to learn about it as much as possible. He arranged for Alex and Anna to get the apartment in the Border Guard housing and made sure everything was ready for them.
Calling Moscow - 4
The following conversation took place on November 10, after a federal judge rejected executive privilege for Trump’s White House documents in relation to January 6 riots.
Boomerang of Happiness - 16
Anna honestly tried her hand at home making. Since her mother never taught her any house-keeping skills, Anna tried to simply replicate what her mother did around the apartment: cleaning, keeping things in places, and decorating with little nick-nacks. However, because she was neither invested nor really interested in this, everything Anna did was half-hazard and slipshod. Even when things were in their places, the apartment did not look orderly or well-organized. When Anna swept the floors (vacuum cleaners were a prohibitive luxury in the Soviet Union, especially for a young couple), she simply swept everything under the rugs and never washed the floors. The dishes she washed were as greasy and slippery as if they were never washed, just rinsed off sloppily. Whenever she decided to do laundry after they nearly ran out of everything they had clean, Anna would wash laundry by hand and then spread it for drying right in the apartment on chair backs, doors and other surfaces on which she could hang things. Alex was mostly oblivious to this, for him it was important that Anna was doing at least something. He tried not to argue with her about anything, especially because she continued complaining about everything.
Boomerang of Happiness - 15
It took the Border Patrol about two weeks to have the phone in their apartment fixed. All that time, Anna complained about not being able to do anything. She fell into a habit of going to the city’s main post office that had a long-distance phone connection and calling her mother from there. She spent hours talking, with her mother patiently listening and then relaying the gist of the conversation to Boris. Anna’s father tried to stay away from their chatter but they inevitably pulled him in, with Anna complaining and crying and her mother begging him to do something to get them “out of that horrible place.” All these conversations always ended the same way, with Boris saying again and again that he had no power over Alex’s assignments and Anna crying and ending up with a 2-3 ruble bill for one phone conversation. It was an enormous amount of money by those times standards, when Alex’ salary was about 100 rubles. Anna tried to keep the conversations secret from Alex so when she ran out of her own money, she asked her mother to send her some money so that they still could talk, which her mother promptly did. When Alex asked Anna what she was doing during the day, she’d always tell him she went out for a walk and tried to see if she could find a job.
Boomerang of Happiness - 14
Next day, Alex left for work early in the morning without waking Anna. She slept in as late as she could and when she finally got out of bed because she was hungry, she didn’t know what to do. She had no intention of unpacking and putting in places the new things they bought the day before or make their apartment into a livable homey space. Not only because she told Alex the truth about not knowing how to do it but also because she was hoping she would get herself out of this miserable situation one way or another and did not want to invest herself into decorating the apartment. Around noon, she made herself some scrambled eggs, ate, and went out for a walk. She got even more depressed by the small size and simplicity of the town, and went back to the apartment. On the way back, she bought a city newspaper in the kiosk and a couple of magazines to read and spent the rest of the day splitting time between reading and watching TV.