I used to run around willy-nilly and use words like willy-nilly. I was a kid, living in the country-side. Then, five years ago, I moved to a city, then another and another.

This isn’t so bad, I think, making my way along a road in some green corner of Finland. I’ve been here twenty-four hours. The closest shop is two kilometers, I was told. I’ve got free time, so, I walk. The sun is out. It is the Finnish sun; St. Petersburg’s less temperamental cousin. I’ve brought my music with me: Whitney Houston.

As I walk I realize how colorful everything is. The word vibrant pops into my head. I suddenly realize that I haven’t thought, or spoken the word vibrant since I arrived in Russia.

“Vibrant,” I say aloud. It sounds weird, I put it away.

A car drives by. Instinctually, I shy away. The driver gives me a wide birth, he slows and then does something incredibly odd.

He waves.

My hand, not use to the gesture, hangs rudely at my side. I keep walking, I make a promise to myself that I will wave to the next driver. It doesn’t take long. A minute at most.

Over-eager, I hold my hand high and shake it wildly. The driver slows, stops.

“Oh, uh–sorry,” I call through the window, “I was just waving.”

The driver, a woman, smiles. She nods and drives on. I take a deep breathe. I look around.

“You used to know how to do this,” I remonstrate myself.

Across a field are some horses. I wave to one of them, casual. with a polite lilt that says, “howdy neighbor,” or the less creepy Finnish equivalent. I try again, then again. The horse doesn’t judge.

Finally, well-practiced, I trek onward. Perhaps two minutes later another car approaches, it is blue. I take a quick breath and lift my hand. I even give a little head-nod with it, as though I’ve suddenly become a natural.

The man, or maybe a woman–they are old–waves with half their hand on the steering wheel. I put my hand down, cool-like.

I wait till I can no longer hear the car. Then, I start to dance. I hit play on Whitney and up-my pace. I start singing aloud, throwing waves out to everything I see; flowers, horses, trees, clouds, bees; yes, even bees.

The country-side is lovely, I think, half-way to the store.


Author Benjamin Davis and artist Nikita Klimov created one story and one picture each day for one year. In May 2018 they published their first book, The King of FU

27 Comment on “The Walk: The Art of the Wave

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