8. You try on someone else’s life for a second, and then you feel so empty in yours

September 16, 2006

A castle in the air, Novikov.

I look at this big happy family, thinking how priceless it is. I’d give away anything for a chance to have something Terry doesn’t appreciate.

It’s so stupid of him to trade off his family for a nightclub. It would’ve been much cooler to spend his B-Day in the family circle. Have a big picnic on this lovely lawn. Only relatives. Without the so-called «friends» that cast envious glances at him, measuring—in pounds and roubles—the price of the house, the cars in the garage, the presents, the acres of land. Friends, who do not care whose birthday it is. It’s not the host of the party that matters, it’s the chance to show off.

Fake friends ruin true feelings.

Terry’s mother smiles warmly at us, and there’s such love in her eyes when she looks at her son. And his father’s proud with Terry’s school achievements, already seeing a brilliant future ahead. His grandparents tell funny stories that only embarass him. Does he think us more important than them? Does he value his schoolmates higher than his uncles and aunts, cousins, nephews, all those who have honest warm feelings towards him?

But Terry prefers «baloons», friends, that will vanish when they sense a single prickle of trouble, friends, who are thrown hither and thither by the wind of vox populi.

Family is something infinitely special and personal. As pure, honest, and beautiful as the sky. As warm and bright as the sun. Family is priceless. Irreplaceable.

And Terry wants to impress people like Novikov. Arkadiy is bored, just like everyone else. They miss the promised fun: club, cocktails, girls, and all the other cheap pleasures an empty soul enjoys. Got out of school, hungry for the grown-up life.

In fact, I miss something too. Something that used to be mine, but what I’ll never have. Never. You try on someone else’s life for a second, and then you feel so empty in yours, and this emptiness cannot be filled with cakes, baloons, or late-night parties…


She gave her baloon to Terry’s niece. Let her make a wish. What does she dream of, I wonder…

Milana sat down on the swings, hidden safely from view by the formidable house, and slowly kicked of the ground.

Novikov. He’s too fast. Speedy, rapid. Too full of himself.

Not for long, though. This school will make him fit its standarts.

To her surprise, she swung so hard that the swing soared up high in the air. Back and forth and up again, closer to the sky and to the setting sun. And back again.
Headspinning, overwhelming sensation of freedom and flight. A moment of perfect happiness, so incredible that she laughed.


Someone will surely bring you down.

Milana waited for the swings to stop, then got up and went to meet Kamila, who was leaning against the wall of the house.


‘It’s time!’ Kamila said impatiently, tapping the hourglass of her Tissot.

Of course it is. I’d rather stay here though. That’s the closest I can get to my castle in the air.
©Smolenskaya.Moscow All rights reserved. If you want to use any part of the book, please, contact the authors.

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Contents. Part 1