• Marina

New York

I was walking through Central Park, New York and a wombat ran towards me. Funny and plump he began fawning at my feet like a cat. Almost immediately, its breathless owner approached me apologetically and explained that the ‘little fella’ had escaped his clutches. I replied that the wombat, was ‘super cute’ and I would like to take him to Moscow.

The wombat owner, American, frowned: he explained that he brought him from Russia, where the pet had been unwell. “How, if wombats live in Australia did he find himself in Russia”? I asked. He further explained that after the bush fires, all the wombats were moved to Novosibirsk, where he tamed this one.

Word for word that is how my relationship with this man started and for a while I stayed in New York. We lived at the Hotel Chelsea, not as it is today, but in a more unconventional time when we lived a bohemian lifestyle like Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe. Then as other artists did, I paid for rent with paintings. While I worked, my boyfriend took care of the wombat. One day he asks, "Do you remember I bought you an ice cream two days ago?" I replied, “I did not remember and moreover, I have lactose intolerance”. To which he remarks "I remember and you owe $3 for it“

Dejected by such pettiness, I went for a walk but rather than use the elevator to street level I took the stairs. With each descending floor the staircases began to increasingly resemble the old Soviet staircases with dark corridors and peeling green paint. On the walls I could read graffiti like «Le Dernier Des Héros» and "Tsoi is alive"*. Then I opened the door of the hotel and found myself amid the Belarusian protests and awoke from my dream.

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