When the trees were big


2014 - 2019

When I was little girl, I spent every summer with my aunt Nina in the small town of Frolovo on the south of Russia. I grew up and for many years forgot about Frolovo and about my childhood. And then I came back here with my children - first with my son, and then with my daughter.

And this return was like a dive into an ice-hole, when you catch your breath and it seems that your heart is about to stop, but then warmth and bliss flows over your body. A piece of me returned to me, something that seemed to be forever forgotten floated on the surfaced from the depths.

It was a very strange sensation, when today's adult perception of this place was superimposed on child's happy and idealistic memories. I changed, I returned here from another world, but this place has not changed, it remains exactly the same, only it has grown old and decrepit, like my aunt Nina.

Here, the guys still hang around unattended in the courtyard until night, play hide-and-seek and football, and burn their names on a bench with a magnifying glass. In Aunt Nina’s apartment, practically nothing has changed either: an old gas boiler, an uncomfortable hard sofa, a sideboard full of aunt Nina’s memories, carpet paths covering creaky floorboards. Only the TV turned color, and Aunt Nina's hair from fiery red turned white, and the children, in addition to football, also play gadgets. And the huge poplars, which used to give shade and coolness and charm to the whole courtyard, were cut down, and the frailty and wretchedness of the two-story old buildings was suddenly exposed.

But looking at how my children play in the same place and in about the same way as I used to play as a girl, I can easily remember how it was - when these trees were big.

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