Vlada loathed her name.  When she was up early, she felt her name sounded like an elderly woman, seasoned and wrinkling in some forgotten corner of some forgotten institute, surrounded by strangers who’d forgotten her birthday and her history entirely.  When she was up late, she felt like a dirty, boyish wanderer, discovering girls and figures and the unfortunate mishaps of doors without locks.  Vlada supposed she was all of these things at once, though she imagined herself something ethereal: some otherworldly being with no material ties.

Vlada was fifteen and friendless, except for Mabel.  Mabel was her friend because the two of them both knew what it was like to be involuntarily plopped into a new situation every seven months.  When Vlada was nine, her parents relocated from St. Petersburg to Moldova for “more promising opportunity”.  Mabel was twelve when she came to Moldova from Krakow.  The two tinybelles gravitated towards each other because neither knew how to properly conjugate verbs in English.  Every eight or eighteen days, Vlada felt the surging pressure to be more social towards her peers.  Mondays were absolutely solitary and hushed, but on Tuesdays, Vlada felt shooting hunger pangs to dig into the histories of more than three people.  By Wednesday, she had summoned up the fiery fancy to be surrounded by gaggles of delightfully charismatic classmates.  After several hours of misinterpreted, slack-jawed staring, Vlada would abandon her fancies and resign to her solidarity with Mabel before Tuesday’s desires began to writhe, and Wednesday’s howled. 

November 7th was crisp and endearingly sunny.  Vlada sat quietly in a hard chair at her school desk.  The underbelly of the desk in front of her was covered in chewing gum and engravings of students before her, proclaiming mischievous hatred or hurried love, or some amorphous variation of the two.  She could not remember being escorted to the headmaster’s office, but she found herself piled on a yellowing armchair, focused only on a palm-sized statuette positioned proudly on the headmaster’s desk.  The statuette was a greenish bronze; the sort of color Vlada imagined hugged the bottom of a ship.  Vlada imagined the figure being fingered reassuringly by the headmaster every nine or nineteen minutes, the figure smelling of pennies and stale copper.  Pennies, Vlada would remember, would mark this three-minute spread.  “Miss Obastrova, I regret to inform you I have some quite terrible news that could not wait. Miss Obastrova, Vlada, I’m quite sorry to be the one to deliver this but, Vlada, your father has passed away…” The headmaster’s words trailed off rather infinitely and all Vlada could see, and feel, and taste was copper.

 

 

 

*** I wrote this sometime in the muddy middle of 2012; here it is again, tiny people who followed me on Tumblr. Stay put for the following chapters, and more about my actual life, as I’m in the middle of a wild writing fit. 

 

Also, hi mum… yes, I’m doing fine & olive you, too.

Later, gater.