Page 86 - Litteratteur Redefining World December issue
P. 86

Litterateur redefining world                      December 2020

                   Another  passenger  stops  to  note  we  are  Americans  and  that  we  are
                   father  and  son.  He  smiles  and  says  how  wonderful.  “Otleechna!”
                   Excellent! It doesn’t escape me that many fathers and sons do not have
                   this chance; and I’m certain Michael is aware as well. If he wasn’t, every
                   person  we  meet  tells  us  so:  “Oh  how  special  it  is  to  be  able  to  travel
                   across  Russia  together.  You’ll  remember  this  forever!  Excellent!”  We
                   always respond as if no one has reminded us of this before. The truth is,
                   I never tire of hearing it.

                   Michael stops playing to take a photograph of mysterious fields of cattle
                   with no apparent farmhouse or farmer, but the light is gone and he gives
                   up. I wonder what happened in some man’s ancestry or some parental

                   political  bend  that  finds  him  on  a  farm  on  this  barren  stretch  to  tend
                   cattle  without  neighbors,  without  news,  without  much  interaction  with
                   other  men.  Then  Michael  plays  again  and  the  music  brings  me  back
                   inside where I watch him lean against the wall of the car, hands cupped
                   around the edges of his harmonica, a thousand miles of track behind us,
                   and I laugh out loud at the convergence of circumstances that finds me
                   with my twenty-year-old son on a train rolling across the former Soviet
                   Union toward the Pacific, hardly a lick of the Russian language between
                   us, the vague destination of Vladivostok, just a dot on a map, closer to
                   Hawaii than to where we are now, with no apparent purpose other than
                   to get there, playing and singing American folk songs. It didn’t take long
                   for us to settle into our own lives in our own cabin, feeling like this land
                   was made for him and me.

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