1. Summer in France tastes of freedom. September, UK, dive into school

September 1, 2006

Once you fall out of the game it becomes harder to return and play your part. September. Time to put on my old mask which everybody knows so well, and which I’m already sick off. Meanwhile, there’s so much air in my thoughts… Fresh salty wind fills every cell of my body, my hair still smells of the welcoming sea, my skin still remembers warm touches of the summer sun, and I can still hear the gentle waves caressing the shore…


My heart is beating to the rhythm of those carefree days. I want to be on my yacht ⛵ again, learning to sail it in the company of barely familiar and, therefore, infinitely pleasant people. I want to lie on the warm sand, looking upwards into the bottomless blue sky, see the clouds swimming by and dream of freedom. I want to listen to the 🌊 sea, to the seagull’s songs, to enjoy the sounds of that summer symphony…

French Riviera
©Smolenskaya.Moscow

To watch the clouds and seagulls , dreaming to be just as free. Flying somewhere, knowing no worries, no limits. Every day brings new sceneries, new impressions, new onlookers, and you just fly, fly… And you don’t need visas or luggage. You don’t need anything at all.

This is what true happiness means. Sadly, it’s not meant to last long. Aboard the family jet ✈ it gets shunted aside by arguments and prickly silence. Antoniy and grandpa can’t reach an agreement again, and I realize with a sinking feeling in my heart that troubles will surely meet me. If not at the airport, then at home, at school, somewhere… There’s no getting away from this kind of luggage.

French Riviera
©Smolenskaya.Moscow

Spent my summer on the French Riviera, got a perfect tan and a suitcase full of amazing memories, tasted my dream, tested myself, rested my heart. It’s time to return and be the Milana everyone’s used to. It’s easier that way. To explain, to prove, to change something is a much too costly pleasure. It’s better to wear clothes that provide a flawless fit. Nobody sees my heart behind this fashion armour. Luckily.

‘Did you hear? We’ve got a new guy,’ uninvited, Kamila flopped onto Milana’s bed and picked up one of the magazines.

‘Fucking awesome. Who?’ Milana asked vaguely. Social talk, nothing personal.

‘Novikov, I think.’

Noven’kiy* Novikov,’ Milana slowly pronounced the pleasant combination. ‘Not bad.’

‘Do you know him?’ Kamila looked at her in interest.

‘Nope,’ Milana turned a page of  August «Vogue», admiring the photoshoot.

I’ll keep my French 🇫🇷 summer as a precious untouchable memory that will give me warmth and taste of freedom. Time to dive into school life. September. UK 🇬🇧

‘I thought you know him,’ Kamila rustled the September issue of «Vogue». ‘Aren’t your families acquainted?’

Families, families…

‘No. Should we?’

‘Well… His dad’s a dollar millionaire.’

‘Brilliant. So what?’ Milana put her «Vogue» aside and looked at her watch.

‘I thought you know his dad,’ Kamila went on stubbornly. ‘He’s a successful banker, investor, and… someone else.’

‘And my granddad’s a builder. Let’s go!’ Milana got up from her bed and stopped in front of the mirror.

Milana's 1st September look
Milana’s look ©Smolenskaya.Moscow

It’s a good thing I got up early. Glossy magazines have dressed up my thoughts, and made me ready for the first day of school. And Kamila’s already testing my patience… She’s so true to herself.

Kamila’s reflection appeared in the mirror, as she began rearranging her hair.

Kamila's 1st September look
Kamila’s look ©Smolenskaya.Moscow

Smooth your feathers, fluff up your tails…

‘Everything was fine,’ Milana said pointedly.

‘I want a ponytail.’

Just like mine. Everything’s clear now. Kamila’s got her favourite trick in store for the newcomer: «Are you twins?» «No! We’re best friends!»

‘Why are you so interested in Novikov?’ Milana asked as an afterthought.

‘He’s an eligible bachelor,’ Kamila replied in an annoyingly superior tone. ‘A real catch.’

Eligible bachelor. A simple explanation. Simple and stupid. We’re fifteen, yes, and we’re already planning our future weddings. Game «Choose yourself an oligarch» goes on for the second year in a row. Make your bets, ladies and gentlemen, who’s whose and who’s hotter. Guys, if your dads worked hard all summer and became 💰 rich, you’d better watch out! Kamila Volkova will take an aim at you, and she always gets what she wants.

Funny. It’s an eternal competition, like with yachts. Who bought the biggest yacht in the world? I wonder what he’ll do next: will he stop or will he continue raising his bets? It’s a tough business to remain the first at something. Every year they make bigger and better yachts. To stay calm and enjoy your acquisition, you can either love what you have, or put a worldwide ban on yacht production, then your yacht will surely be the biggest. For some time.

In our school it’s the same thing with guys. «That’s my future husband!» «Why?» «What?! Don’t you know?» And then, with gleaming eyes, they explain the obvious reasons: «his father’s a lord, his mother writes for «Vogue», his grandfather is ranked 100-something in Forbes, they’ve got a chateau not far from Paris, they dine with the Prince of Monaco…

Antoniy is lucky, he’s studying in Edinburgh and he survived school. By the looks of it, Novikov’s not that fortunate. Kamila’s calculated the millions in his fortune and is already choosing names for their future kids. He’s obviously cooler than her ex. Larry’s dad lost some lawsuit, and the next day Larry lost his girlfriend. «He’s a looser,» Kamila stated. Novikov,  caution ⚠

It’s easier for girls. Guys don’t plan marriages, nor do they have the matchmaking gene. Parents, of course, discuss and scheme, but my grandpa has more important matters on his mind. Come to think of it, I’m really lucky! And on this optimistic note let the school year begin.
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Next episode: 2. Long legs, model walk. Awesome, thanks dad!

Language commentary

*Noven’kiy = Newbie. Milana thought the coincidence funny, the new guy being called Novikov (in Russian «new» is «noviy»)

Read the Russian version

Contents. Part 1