Our scorching heat and stuffing humidity are coming to an end. Yesterday our city was surrounded by the most intimidating clouds, and then swept by pouring rains. While running my usual errands, I was driving slowly through this weather, and suddenly, a huge rainbow appeared over the horizon. And as trivial as it sounds, it gave me hope and relief, and a sense that the time has come to rethink, reinvent, rewind. This crazy and special summer is quickly running out.
The lockdown imposed the necessity of routine and exercise on all of us, including myself; in the strange post-lockdown period I am still holding on to this. During my regular morning walks, I am revisiting the old tapes from my teens and early twenties. It feels so natural to walk the streets with music in your ears – now it’s just my phone with playlist but used to be a Walkman with a cassette. Thanks to my very precise audio memory, I can always say which track follows that particular song, what I used to have on repeat, and which one I fast-forwarded. I love these sudden discoveries of the new-old tunes that for some unknown reason got skipped by my 20-year old self.
My head is full of unwritten texts; sometimes they spring up from my solitary walks, from a certain moment of a song, from something that I heard in passing. By the time I get to my laptop, they dissipate like dreams that I did not record in time. This particular text came into my head a day ago, and it was solid and whole, but now I am slowly picking up the remnants of words and images that I had in mind. What was it? I felt lost and sad, with my self-confidence hitting the ground, and the usual anxiety overflowing my chest. At that point, this essay seemed like a way out, like a helping hand – who knows, maybe I am writing all this stream of nonsense just to give thanks to this moment that made me go back to writing.
And so I breathe easier, straighten my back, and keep on walking, murmuring along to Elton’s upbeat songs, facing the upcoming, inevitable autumn, feeling how the air cools down, and noticing yellow leaves here and there. Hoping that one day I will be able to take a decent stereo picture again, or write a good text. But for now, “Through a glass eye, your throne / Is the one danger zone / Take me to the pilot for control / Take me to the pilot of your soul.”
Katya Neklyudova, August 2020