It was the usual summer afternoon in a small town of Apalachicola: hot, lazy and humid. Natalya and I had lunch in one of those lovely restaurants on the water, when we noticed these birds.
"Look how graphically musical these lines are", said Natalya.
"Yes, but I kind of worry about this dissident bird", I replied.
I went on thinking about what made this fellow to counter itself to the crowd. "It's not an easy path, kid," I worked my fork on the plate, but my thoughts were far away, back in time when I was young and handsome. The professors of "Political Economy", "Marxist-Leninist Aesthetics", "Scientific Communism" and other pseudo-subjects, which we've been forced to study in college, were furious when the basics of their theories were questioned.
Predictably, the path of the "inconvenient" questioning could lead only to one place, a dark monumental building with wrought-iron latticed windows and a modest sign on the façade that read: Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti (i.e. National Security Agency, which sounds frightfully familiar, doesn't it?). This time the roles were in reverse, it was a mustached officer who asked the questions.
If only this teenage kid knew that it was just the beginning of a "long and winding road" of his oh-so complicated relationship with the Soviet authorities. How would he know that thirty years later he'll be sitting in a restaurant in a cute little seaside town across the world, listening to waves and seagulls, and re-playing in his head a decayed warped film of his first interrogation?
Isn't it amazing how an innocent little thing you notice by the edge of your eye can trigger an avalanche in your memory?