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When I walk in on my mom and my dad’s boss in my parent’s bed, my mom walks out…with half of everything we own, including the modest college savings my dad was working like a dog for eighteen years to save up.
Needing a fresh start, and a new job, he accepts the first offer that comes in, an expat package in Moscow.
Little did I know the biggest part of his benefits package would be the package on the Russian language instructor my dad’s new company hired to help us assimilate.
Back home I was always overlooked, but this sexy Russian can’t take his eyes off me. I tell him my lips should be learning how to pronounce these strange Cyrillic sounds, but he tells me his lips need to learn every curve of my body instead.
If my dad finds out our lessons consist of a little less talk and a lot more action, will he pull us out of Moscow for good? Or will my Russian teacher, who constantly has me screaming vowels, tell me there’s no pulling out…not now, not ever…making me his and filling me full of babies as he breeds me in the land famous for bears and borscht…forever?
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I jam my hands into my pockets and keep walking as fast as I can. I’m careful to keep my feet flat footed so I don’t catch a piece of black ice and fall, although I’m not sure what’s worse at this point…landing on my tailbone or spending another second out in this face-numbing wind and cold.
It’s my first morning in Moscow, and a big part of me is wishing it was my last too.
I have no idea how I’m going to make it here for three years, the length of the expat package my dad signed that brought us here.
I knew it was cold, but I didn’t know it was this cold. Then again nothing will compare to the ice in my mother’s heart. I can’t believe the audacity of that woman, having sex with my dad’s boss in the bed she and my father shared for the entirety of my eighteen years. I was probably conceived in that bed, and now she was using it to fornicate with the man my father despised, the one who did everything he could to keep him from being promoted, ensured he had the worst months for his annual two week vacation, and just generally made his existence a living hell.
But my dad tolerated it all, because he was doing it for me. The job paid pretty well, all things considered, and he was putting away a big chunk of his paycheck for my college fund. I loved him for that, and I hated my mom for wiping it out entirely, when she walked way with half of everything we owned. It’s not that she took all the money, but when my dad was forced to move out of the house, yet still pay the taxes on it, the car payments, the utilities…basically subsidize her life, the money disappeared real quick.
I was seventeen at the time, so my mom made out like a bandit, claiming child support and making all kinds of other demands, despite the fact that I would turn eighteen in another month. Eager to get her out of our lives, and stop the bleeding from our checking account due to the lawyer fees, my dad wired her the money with one click from his online checking account, and the next click immediately started checking job boards. When an opportunity to move nearly half way across the world from her popped up he took it without a second thought.
But right about now I’m sure having second thoughts about passing on those insulated gloves. I thought my winter clothes would be fine for Moscow. Not even close. There’s cold and then there’s this.
Trying to save money by walking, and not taking the metro, was probably a bad idea. I remind myself we have to pinch pennies for these first few weeks until my dad’s paychecks start coming in, and mine too.
With college now out of the picture I need to get a job quick. In order to get a job I’m going to need to know some Russian. That starts with the language instructor that was included in part of my dad’s benefits package.
I pull my jacket tighter, wanting to dig in my pant pockets for the directions to this language institute place, but not wanting to take off my gloves to do so.
I walk for another minute, finally owning up to the truth that I’m lost. I try and leave my glove inside my jacket, only removing my hand, so I can slide it back inside immediately after I double check where I am. The last thing I want to do is to remove my other hand from my pocket. At least keep one of my hands from freezing in case I need to use it to grab a handrail or open a door.
I quickly shove my hand in my pants and pull out the little piece of paper, only for a gust of wind to snatch it from my numb grip and carry it across the street and up into the air before I even have a chance to protest. Can anything go right this morning? Please.
I jam my hand back into my pants and pull out my phone, but the screen doesn’t activate. I shake it a few times trying to wake it up. I tap the power button figuring maybe I accidentally shut it down while I was walking. When it doesn’t turn on I realize what’s really going on. It’s frozen.
I try not to curse under my breath but fail. I go to jam my phone back in my pocket and notice something hanging out of it. The directions!
I take them and scan them quickly, looking for the landmarks that I wrote down. Despite the fact that I’m terrible with directions I see the big orthodox church I had as my main landmark, and the shapes of the Cyrillic letters on the street sign in front of me seem to match. Jackpot.