Tuesday, 5 January 2010
03:06:40 AM (GMT)
By Larissa Lycandro
I bounced slightly on my feet and shrugged my coat closer to my body. The line was so
long today. A kid rushed passed me, panting a quick ‘excuse me, miss’, his
friends who followed him showed even less courteousness, not bothering to even look
at me. I snarled at them and stepped back quickly to avoid getting hit by one of
them, almost slipping on the ice in the process. Once I had regained my balance I
turned to the babushka* behind me and muttered an apology, she glared at me like it
was my fault the ice was there and as if those children were mine. We were outside
Detsky Mir*, so naturally this place was a children magnet so I didn’t see how that
could possibly be my fault.
I tried to see in front of the long line of people waiting for bellini* to the sign
that showed the toppings you could have. I always had chocolate, so there was no real
reason why I looked, but I felt the need to look like I was doing something, to not
just stand there. Once I had finished reading everything that there was to read on
the sign, I let my eyes wander.
They wandered down the long line of people that stretched from their little outdoor
but covered shop, onto the pavement and almost touching the street. I let my eyes
follow the line back to the shop where I caught a girl leaning up against the wall
out of my peripheral vision. Her blonde hair was cropped short, the front reaching
her chin, she had a lot of eye make-up on, but it didn’t make her look like a
racoon. She had a long baggy white t-shirt underneath her fur coat on that extended
so low that you could only just see the ends of her blue mini-skirt underneath it.
Her long legs were covered with some black tights and snow boots. My first thought
after catching sight of her was the question: “how could she not be freezing to
death?” But she looked fine; the only sign of her being cold was that her leg that
was propped up against the wall and bouncing. I guess I am not the only person who
does that to keep warm.
Her eyes floated up to mine, I looked away quickly and then, as if it was planned,
the line moved forward. Perfect. The one time I didn’t want the line to move
forward, it did. And of course, I stopped just next to her. For about half a minute,
I didn’t glance her way. But you know when it feels like someone is watching you?
Yeah, it felt like that, so I dared to peek out of the corner of my eyes. She smiled
at me when she saw me looking, which was incredibly unusual for girls her age in
“You have a light?” she asked me, raising a thin eyebrow. I nodded quickly and
pulled out my lighter, handing it over. “Thanks” she mumbled with a cigarette in
her mouth. She lit it and handed it back to me. “So how come you’re not in
school?” she asked after taking the cigarette out of her mouth and attempting to
blow a ring with it. She smiled at the pathetic try and watched the smoke disappear
into the air.
“Ah” I laughed and glanced at the eavesdropping babushka behind me. “I’m
skipping” I answer, ignoring the disapproving tut that came from the old lady’s
The girl laughed and fluffed up her hair. “Me too” she admitted, and then
gestured to the small bellini shop. “As if you would go to school when you could be
I laughed nervously. “I love the bellini here. I always get berries on it”
She shook her head. “Chocolate, it’s the best.” She smiled at me. “I’m
I smiled back at her. “Nataliya”
“Nataliya, do you mind if I stand with you in the line? It’s way too long” She
dragged out the word ‘way’ and stepped into the line without waiting for an
answer. I smiled and nodded, but she wasn’t looking.