I watched them from behind the curtain — they were too close to watch them directly. It wasn’t appropriate.
They were so young, so silver-voiced, so beautiful and cheerful. Their big company ran out of the adjacent entrance. Laughing, they went to the wood, which is nearby.
Some people have kids. How? Well, maybe the same way I have.
Certainly, I see who they are. My neighbor’s friends. My neighbor whom I “see” as well. Back then we used to identify people at a glance. In passing. Someone glances at you and you already know that this someone is “our kind of person.”
I have lived all my life with a person I didn’t love. With a man. To be honest, he was a good person. He loved me and cared about me the best way he could. We had children. Now we even have grandchildren. I buried him a year ago — he was my closest friend, almost a brother. Almost. He was very devoted; he told me he was a one-woman man. Why didn’t we check if it was a myth or not? Maybe it was me who didn’t have courage for that. Even though he regarded me as a courageous type and respected for it.
We never talked why we didn’t have a lot of sex. Well, as you know, in the USSR there was no sex at all.
He never violated my privacy, I never violated his. We cheated on each other… Well, probably, I was the only one who did. But maybe if he had found out, he wouldn’t have thought of it as an adultery. Love between women was a perversion but not an adultery. I didn’t have other men but him.
I have been silent for my whole life. I knew that I couldn’t change anything. That I shall appreciate what I have. And the one I have. Undoubtedly, he deserved my respect and care. We talked about so many things. My friends didn’t have this kind of relationship with their husbands.
The figures of those girls still stand in front of my eyes, especially the figure of the last one, who slowly vanishes into the wood. She has an interesting “unfeminine” haircut and gait (I know the price of this compulsory “femininity,” the price of this narrow-mindedness that I have lived my whole life in). She is so brave, she isn’t hiding, I couldn’t even dream about this when I was young.
The yard is totally empty now… And I can draw the curtains back and open the window. I am trying to hold onto the image of this company of girls — these harbingers of new life, heralds of freedom.
Am I jealous?
I don’t have any strength to be jealous. I am only calm and sad. I am nostalgic for those years when I was as cheerful and silver-voiced as they are. When I loved, really loved, and it was mutual, my first love. But my beloved and me couldn’t be together. We would have been thrown out of the university and closed in the loony bin.
I am so happy that these young girls can live their lives.
What about me… My husband was afraid of me driving the car. He thought I was too fast and jerky for this, so I better don’t — so “just nothing evil will come out of it.” I am 60 now and it is time to start something. For instance, to start driving. After my husband died, the car just stands idle. And people say that even when you’re 60, you can meet someone.
I wish I’d meet “my kind of person.” To be honest, I wish I’d meet a woman. And live a bit of my life. As much as there is left for me.
My kids won’t probably understand it.
What about my neighbor? I will invite her over for a coffee. People say she protects the forest from illegal site development and that she’s an activist — so we will have something to talk about.
Nadia, 60 years old, Kyiv