"My Story" is a heading of Voice magazine where everyone can tell their story. Anonymously, openly, loudly, modestly — it does not matter to us. All of us are ordinary people with our own bag of pain, that is not encouraged to talk about. Perhaps if we finally begin to share this, someone will understand that he is not alone in this pain.
I'm volunteering and studying in Latvia for 6 months now. Through all this period I was gathering the stories of ordinary and unique people I met here. I was trying to memorize their faces, imagine their life behind the walls of their houses. I wanted people to see the hidden sides of others, either it's your beloved or ugly passersby. During my stay, I was communicating with lonely older people a lot. I was trying to distract them and do whenever I can to weaken their solitude. However, some of them deny any help despite the unconscious sorrow that they feel day by day. Some of them just get used to it and don't wanna part with their ordinary loneliness. This hurts me and makes create stories about them instead.
I'm on the road. Again. My face is reflected in the window along with the boundless fields, trees, and old houses passing by. I've been on the road since yesterday. During the night I had a dream about four people and snakes. The people betrayed their ordinary and careful lives to get to the other side of the world, where they saw its true creepy bottom. The snakes were their guides during the passage into the darkness of another world and deep into its muddy core.
I'm going to Latvia. I'm going to meet her. Her name is Inda. She's fifty-something. Nobody knows for sure how many years she has been existing on this earth. She lives in a little village in the forest with her mother.
I met her during my volunteering project. I was working in the cultural center on the outskirts of Riga, and she attended it to clean the place. Usually, she sat next to me and stared at me, and was feeding me bananas. This was probably some kind of friendship. I might have been her sole friend. Nobody here knew how many years she had been attending this center either, including her. It felt like she was serving her term. In the winter, when it was getting dark early, I led her to her home because she was scared that her mom would be worried. I have never seen her mother. But when she was walking beside me, I was breathing her smell and saw her sloppy and dimmed house.
Now it's New Year's Eve and I'm going to meet and greet her. I go through the well-known path, deeper into the forest, and found her small, neglected brick house on the small sward. It's getting darker. Though it is winter, it's rainy and muggy weather. I knock on the doors, frozen inside ahead of this unknown threshold. She opens the doors and stares at me with her blank stare amidst black hair. She wears a funky purple hood on her head that amplifies her awkward, childish image.
— Hey, its' me! — I cried out, like another person with another voice. She backs off and I enter deeper into the house, and I start singing.
"Jingle bells, jingle bells, Jingle all the way Oh, what fun it is to ride on a one-horse open sleigh, hey!"
She sits on her chair, and my song reflects in her misty and sparkly eyes. — I have a present for you… these cakes. I baked them myself. Don't judge too harshly. I'm completely bad at cooking!, — I said.
She averts her gaze immediately. She puts on a blank stare and forms an invisible barrier between us. — Why'd you come? — Its new Year and I wanted to greet you!
I hold a present out to her, but she averts her head and goes to another side of the room. She takes off the hood from her head. I look to the ominous gray corner of the room and found a little box amidst holed duds. I approach and see the knitted neck handkerchief and denim blue brooch that I made for her. Never before and after did I do anything with my own hands.
— Hey, let's go to the city, to the Christmas market! It's so beautiful now, in the darkness, illuminated by tremendous lights!
She lowers her head, starts trembling with the hood in her hands. — My mom will be worried… — It won't take long, and she won't even mention that you have gone, 'c'mon! — No… mom will be worried, — she replies more awkwardly and silently. — Then I will ask her to let you go!, - I head to another and sole door in the little house. — This is her room, right?
She becomes more confused. It started raining harder outside. We hear the thunder.
— I just will ask her permission, and that's all. — No, don't! — she answers as her worry intensifies.
I started pushing the doors. After some struggle, I opened them and… discover a white brick wall ahead of me. A hard silence hangs up in the air. I turned my head to Inda, and the flash of the lightning illuminates her gaze, painful and desperate. It was at this moment that I realized that I should leave this drifting boat alone.
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