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A Russian woman story

Butterfly

By Anna Sokolova

ButterflyI was born and raised in the beautiful city, which lies among tall mountains and where summers are so pretty and snow sparkles as a thousand diamonds in a winter time. The name of the city is Alma-Ata. You will not find Soviet Union - country I am from on the recent maps. It’s not there anymore. Instead, there are all bunch of new countries. One of which is Kazakhstan. That’s what you would call country I am from today.

If I close my ayes and think back about happy times there: I see our house in the middle of big garden; grandparents having tea over table located right under grape vines. Dogs are barking; lazy cat is sleeping in the shade of cherry tree and a butterfly swinging on a pink rose.

I was happy. We had been told so many times in school that we should remember how fortunate we are to be born in the Soviet Union and not, let’s say, in America. We were feeling fortunate: following rules, singing patriotic songs, trying to be worthy our big leaders.

How do you know when you just a child to distinguish truth from a lie, reality from well organized charade? No, not everything was a lie. Not love of my family, gorgeous mountains, fun vacations and not that beautiful butterfly.

I was in my second year of college when I found out from our professor that there are no long lines to buy sweater in England and there is no deficit when it comes to chocolate in Sweden. ‘How do you accomplish it here?’ he asked us. We were all confused, surprised and intrigued. The time of change had come!

It will take only little time longer before everything will be turned upside down. First, all food and goods will disappear from the stores for a while. Then new government will declare that there is no more government control over prices. Next day stores magically will appear stuffed with so many different things. There were no lines in the stores and no money to afford anything. Then it will be piles of the trash in the middle of streets left by freshly appeared markets looking as it were war zone. While later it will get all cleaned up, new regulations established. And then documents were signed declaring that era of the Soviet Union is over. I might switch order of the events, but that how it all stacked in my memory. I was studying in Saint-Petersburg Russia when it all happened. I never returned back to the Kazakhstan.

Now I am writting this story in my American home many years later. It was so many ups and downs in my life since then. I am mother and wife now. I have only vague memories of country I am from, pictures unclear… One thing I do remember for sure: There was a butterfly.

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