My mother worked on a floating fish-processing behemoth.

Baltic and North Sea, sometimes Atlantic, she was gone for weeks at a time.

I didn’t see much more of her than a photograph.

My father was a quiet drunk, he did the best he could.

It was the Soviet times, I had a good childhood. Misha was my friend. I ran and played, explored and collected, I had a nature table. The bear was in the forest, and beyond; we were on top of the world, a moral and physical pinnacle. In time, I was a Pioneer girl.


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