St Petersburg

“I dreamed we were dancing in St Petersburg, then you fell and I caught you”

Sapsan train was my lonely ride. Moscow was sunny and inviting, for sure it was the summer high hanging in the air, but going further apart it was getting even gloomier. My friends were trying to get some much needed sobriety by sleeping uncomfortably. Everyone was silent for a while, with headphones on and minds flying away somewhere else. Most likely to the people they cared about, anywhere in the world.

Russian villages passed by my eyes like an echoes of Soviet past. It wasn’t exactly beautiful but it had a certain characteristic that you wouldn’t find anywhere else, and I succumbed to that moment with my eyes closed. Minds of mine drifted into territories that I didn’t want to revisit, and I found my eyes watery, glistening with tears.

Glavny station was up and running. Dark clouds were scrutinizing, cold air made me grasped. Maybe I wasn’t prepared for it to be this chilly, but something inside me got warmer. I couldn’t help but smirked my way into one of those historic buildings that would be the place to spend some nights in. I jumped at the thoughts of “I did it. I made it this far. I made it myself”.

St Petersburg was special to you, and it was becoming special to me too.

River Neva

I left wondering, across a Gazprom building, how that photo on an icy bridge was taken. How you laughed like you didn’t have any care in the world. Was it one of these beautiful bridges I stepped my feet on? I wasn’t there, I wasn’t inside your mind –it was taken years ago– and neither was I now.

Neither was I now.

I wonder what you’d say. What if, in a parallel universe, I could have the right to tell you that I could to it without you? What if I instead begged that universe to change course and let everything stayed the same? Would you come running to me like a chicken you were, or would you stay still like you’ve never said a word?

The rain poured without warnings. I wasn’t getting myself drenched in this already cold temperature, no way…

“I think I need to give you a hug”

I was on a romantic movie scene, that’s what I told myself anyway. Even if it had to end abruptly like how it always did. Even though it wouldn’t last as per usual. Even though it was a simple, short walk that would linger longer than it should.

Maybe he was the only person I needed at that very moment, maybe I didn’t have to wish it was someone else, anyone who was less unreal to me. Weren’t we all mixed up? Weren’t I messed up? I cried inside with joy and sadness mashed into one, and these people were circling around like a dream I’ve never dreamed but secretly dreaming about.

“Come closer, I don’t want your shoulder to get wet”

I was looking for a silver lining. I thought about all the missed opportunities I consciously knew I missed. I was making deliberate choices that would dodge myself from these kind of bullets. Who would’ve known what this tough shell felt, who would’ve known this mushy soft thing inside a steel-like fortress?

I was an alien to my own scheme.

On that walk to remember, I could feel the ice melted. Slowly. Gently. Like that coffee in Cambridge when I fell into the arms of a beautiful stranger. When I let my guards wander around the river without any damn second thought. Who needed any band-aid when I could let myself loose? Who needed any extra boost when I didn’t care if I could protect my own immunity?

But St Petersburg was beautiful in its own way.

It was a reminder that I never loved anyone less than they deserve.

It was these old buildings with a certain Caucasian, Russian charm. This lovely Georgian Khachapuri that was as big as boats. The Kharcho that warmed my heart. We were in a long, long lines that seemed never ending, 3 hours of taking turns queuing, then I said to myself later on,

“I once thought Louvre was better”.

The Hermitage was worth all the long wait, and I hope you are no more than my Louvre…

…with one request — don’t taint my Hermitage with a Mona Lisa smile.