A Babushka stands on the bridge blowing fat juicy bubbles from a label-less container. A drunk man stumbles along the street, shirtless, belting some Russian tune. I carry my thawing body along the canal in a pair of sneakers.
Spring is here.
The ice has melted and the dog shit is rife. I weave my way over to the bricks and take a breath. I light a cigarette. A woman walks toward me. Her left hand is lilted up as though it just finished asking a question. In her right, she holds a cigarette. I try to look stoic. The sun is burning down.
She looks up then, straight into my open mouth. She frowns and looks away. I sigh and go back to watching trash float down the canal.
It begins to snow.
I groan. My phone buzzes.
N: Want to go somewhere?
I shrug at my phone.
“Where?” I ask.
He sends an address. I take an UBER.
It’s a grungy little place; built for dirt and death. There is a cat.
A man with stubby fingers wrapped halfway around a beer sits with N. He is a dentist. His eyes are big. He offers tea.
“No thanks,” I say, taking a beer from N. I sit.
“So,” the dentists asks, rubbing a stubby thumb into his fat palm, “why did you come to Russia?”
I sigh, drink, sigh.
“I like it here.”
“Uh-huh, for the Spring, yes?” he motions to the snow out the window. It is snowing hard. It feels like being reminded of a dead parent just moments after you begin feeling normal again. He laughs. I drink.
“So, what do you do?”
I shrug. “different things.”
He nods. “Do you want to stay in Russia forever?”
I frown. “Not sure.”
The Dentist smiles knowingly, “I bet you get asked these questions a lot.”
I nod into my beer.
“I am sorry. You are just, like, hm–” he points at his refrigerator. I look at it, then back at him.
“I’m a refrigerator?”
He shakes his head. “No, well, yes,” he turns to N and says something in Russian.
The Dentist nods. “Yes, you are like appliance. A new appliance. Like a refrigerator. You are new and in my house. So, when you get a new refrigerator, you always open and close, open and close.” He mimes this action, spilling a bit of beer on the cat. “It is cool. But soon you realize, it is just a refrigerator. Still, when it is new. Like you. You are new and now I want to open and close you. Understand?”
I look at N. He is on his computer. I look back at The Dentist.
He laughs. His tooth, third in, on the top, is missing.