Saturday, January 12, 2008
The boys spray-painted the wall outside my window years and years ago without knowing what they were doing. They didn't know about the girl who lived behind the double-paned window across the street. They didn't realize that the word Rapid would spend time in my dreams for years and years.
I shouldn't have stared at it before falling asleep on the couch each night. I should have ignored it each time it lit up behind my eyelids.
That summer, I was staying in the flat of an old man, in Russia. The only time I saw him was at dinner, where he'd serve me oily noodles and an inch-long cucumber as we watched news of Chechnya and passed a dictionary back and forth. He reminded me each night that my Russian was poor, and I shouldn't have come, but that he was glad he was getting the money from the Immersion Program. He hoped to retire to the county in a few years to be with his wife.
He wanted to get the money as rapidly as he could.
I wanted to let go of my English crutch as rapidly as I could. Not so that I could run amok in the city and play Smart Russian Chick but so that I could prove to him that I wasn't an idiot.
It was the same problem I first had in Japanese school, where the kids all thought I was stupid because I didn't understand them.
In both situations, I spent my time glancing out the window as I read a book in English.
After Russia, time passed and I continued to push harder at my life-long attempt to grow up and shed my training wheels. As I rushed through school, every so often a spray-painted image drifted across my dreams, prodding.
It's taken me years, since I first snapped the picture just before midnight on May 28th, 2001, to notice that I can't slow down. It's too late for me. I'll be seventy years old and won't be able to sit still and just accept.
This has been a Sunday Scribblings post.