Vignette: Finding Melody

I’ve written this in an effort to get past a case of NaNo-imposed writer’s block that could not have come at the worse time…when I have all of 8,000 words to go. *headdesk*

But this is another Caper Journal prompt. Those of you who know me in person will be familiar with the language that I use. Those who don’t – well, you’ll be able to figure it out sharpish. Like all my vignettes, this one is inspired by and includes some music. Reference link with translation included.


Finding Melody

For the Caper Journal Prompt: Languages.

Little Elizaveta’s eyes were wide as she and her parents, and her older sister Natalya waited for the minivan. The city of Moscow was enormous, with its beautiful, colorful cathedrals and the crowds of the Krasnaya Ploschad’. The Red Square. The jewel of Moscow, one of the many jewels of Russia.

And she was about to leave it. She was only six and still, she felt a great love for this country. But they couldn’t stay. Natalya, ten years old, learned not to ask questions about why they were moving.

“Mama…” Elizaveta asked timidly. “Skol’ko nam zhdat’?”

How long do we have to wait?

“Tikho,” the girls’ mother said. “Ne dolgo.”

Quiet. Not long.

This meant that they’d wait however long that they had to.

The minivan arrived, brown and nondescript, with only a taxi emblem on the side. Two elderly-looking men smiled at the two girls and helped the family load their massive suitcases into the back of the minivan. It was all that they had left: clothing, blankets, their cookware and some of the girls’ very few books and toys. They had little; they sold nearly everything they had as they were leaving. The men seemed to know; they handled everything with such care.

“Na Sheremetyevo, pozhaluista,” the girls’ father said.

To the Sheremetyevo airport, please.

Elizaveta’s beautiful blue eyes welled with tears as the climbed into the one of the seats. Next to her, Natalya’s hands closed around her own in a reassuring squeeze, but this didn’t quell the little girl’s sadness. Gently, slowly, Natalya’s arm slipped around her shoulders to draw her close.

“Nu, chto..?” she asked in a half-whisper, trying to keep this hidden from their parents, who both stared ahead of them, almost unseeing.

Natalya knew, though. She let Elizaveta let her sadness out into the folds of her thick fur coat; it was bitter, bitter cold, to the point where they could see their breath escape in thick puffs of white even in the warmed car. The coats were necessary. Elizaveta had one too.

The little girl cried herself out and Natalya knew why she was crying. She had the talk with her earlier; this was a necessary transition. Mom and Dad had to go to this new city so that Dad can find a new job and Mom can get help for the sickness that she had. She didn’t tell Elizaveta what Mom had; it was not necessary to explain to her the intricacies of medical problems, or of cancer.

Can they fix her in America? Elizaveta asked back then.

“Nu, konechno!” Of course!

Natalya was able to tell her little sister then, that this transition would make Mom and Dad very happy. And when Mom and Dad were happy, so were the girls. That’s when Mom would sing and Dad would play along on the guitar. The guitar was the only ‘luxury’ possession that the girls’ parents refused to sell. Their mother insisted on keeping the guitar.

“It makes them so happy!”

And it did.  They played old songs, old melodies that their parents grew up hearing. Songs about climbing mountains, going through forests – songs about adventures that the girls, especially the headstrong Natalya wanted to experience. The sensitive Elizaveta wanted to hear the nicer melodies, about the big secret in a company of friends, about the group of friends by the fire, and would sometimes cry when she would hear the Gruzinskaya – the song about planting a single grapeseed, growing it and gathering friends around the table.



Their father spoke with a shaky voice. His wife squeezed his hand and tried to smile as she too turned to the girls.

“Davaite pesenku.”

Let’s have a song.

One of the drivers spoke up. “A kakuyu vy budite?” Which one will you do?

Natalya knew what her father wanted to sing for the road. Something that talked about adventure, about forests – something that would both calm Elizaveta and give hope to both her parents.

Her young voice was clear as she started.

“Понимаешь, это странно, очень странно,

Но такой уж я законченный чудак”

Her father joined in.

“Я гоняюсь за туманом, за туманом,
И с собою мне не справиться никак.”

The elderly men smiled; they both knew the melody, though not in that rhythm. This was sung slowly, almost somberly, but they joined in nonetheless. Despite herself, so did Elizaveta and the girls’ mother.

Люди посланы делами,
Люди едут за деньгами,
Убегая от обиды, от тоски…
А я еду, а я еду за мечтами,
За туманом и за запахом тайги.

Author’s note: For the song lyric translation, please click here

Original music copyright is not owned by me.


2 thoughts on “Vignette: Finding Melody

    1. Why thank you! I tend to write to the mood of the music I hear and that song is wistful and hopeful, which is what I aimed for. Looks like I succeeded!

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