Thursday March 28 2013

By Alexandre Alexeieff[i]

Alarm goes off early at 9:20 a.m. I feel Aysena’s arms reach out to me. She’s making mmm sounds and smiling so bright. The ugly brown floral wallpaper shimmers from the sunlight slipping in through the window. I never thought this day would come, the day I would come to Russia, and now I’m leaving it just as quick as it came. We get up and move quickly through the metro and make it just in time to catch the next Aerotrain to the airport.

Eating a Cheese Danish, French Baguette, and sharing Airborne Water. She slips her head into my shoulder. I wrap my arm around her. I witness the saddest face I have ever seen. She’s so full of love and affection. It’s a good thing I snagged a roll of toilet paper for my runny nose and her watery eyes.

At the Moscow airport. There’s an overwhelming sadness that grips us by our tender hearts. What is it about the word miss that makes my lips tremble and my eyes heavy with salty liquid? As soon as I say, “I’m gonna miss you,” I can’t stop my eyes from tearing up. She’s crying but it’s not so dramatic. We know we’ll see each other another time in the future, but then again no one’s promised a guaranteed reunion. It’s strange to think I’ve spent every waking hour with her in Russia for about nine days. And now I’m cut off. Now I’m returning to America to continue my regular life.

On the plane now – New York bound. A nine-hour flight is nothing to be concerned with. They serve us airline food almost immediately. Gotta love the airline food. Again I’m given the vegetarian version, just vegetables and fruits and bread and such.


Watching an in-flight movie: Life of Pi (2012). I read the book a few years ago and it stole my heart. It’s thrilling to see it come to life through a moving picture.


Sipping on Tea and reading a few Russian short stories: The Queen of Spades by Pushkin and Twenty-six Men and a Girl by Maxim Gorky.

There are men to whom the most precious and best thing in their lives appears to be some disease of the soul or body. They spend their whole life in relation to it, and only living by it, suffering from it, they sustain themselves on it, they complain of it to others, and so draw the attention of their fellows to themselves. For that they extract sympathy from people, and apart from it they have nothing at all. Take from them that disease, cure them, and they will be miserable, because they have lost their one resource in life—they are left empty then. Sometimes a man’s life is so poor, that he is driven instinctively to prize his vice and to live by it; one may say for a fact that often men are vicious from boredom.

The plane lands and with just enough time it seems for me to transit to Manhattan from JFK. I walk briskly to the Airtrain, then to the subway (A train to the F train). Surprised I was able to make it to the China bus station on time and even with a few minutes to spare.


Across the street at a convenient store. The Chinese clerk doesn’t take cards, only cash. Not a problem for me but a problem for the well-dressed northern man after me. He only needs one more dollar to purchase his beer. For some reason I feel compelled to offer a dollar. He thanks me and offers to buy me Chinese food when the bus stops.

Snacking on some Chips and Strawberry Kombucha Tea.

On the bus. It’s a culture shock to be surrounded by “Americans” and actually understand the murmur of conversations around me.


Stop at a service station off the New Jersey Turnpike. Two Hard Boiled Eggs should suffice. I’m jetlagged as shit. If I was in Moscow now I would already be asleep. But I still have more “day” to deal with. I take a nap for the last leg of the trip. James and Stephanie pick me up from the bus station when I arrive around midnight.

“So how was Russia?”


At the house. James and I walk in. He was forewarned by a friend via text that there were people running around without shirts on. As I’m stepping into my room I hear commotion and partying coming from Anthony and Kelley’s bedroom. A group of half naked boys and girls come running out periodically...nothing out of the ordinary. Welcome home, Robert.

Kinder Chocolate.

Settling down and unpacking. It feels nice to be non-nomadic.

I hear Kevin serenading Josh and Haley on the violin downstairs while they attempt to make love.

Sleep 3:30 a.m. (Virginia Beach Time)

[i] Alexandre Alexeieff.

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