Saturday, February 12, 2011
Friday night, Khreshchatyk, mild traffic, limos drive by every now and then. Hosni Mubarak resigned a few hours before. Ukrainian politicians are done TV-fighting over whose fault it is that the country's facing a shortage of buckwheat.
A young couple is hugging and kissing on the snow-covered part of the sidewalk. Suddenly, they both fall down - fresh snow conceals fresh ice underneath. They don't bother to get up. Instead, the girl climbs on top of the boy, and they lie like this for at least 15 minutes, kissing and petting.
Cars keep driving by. A few cab drivers sit inside their vehicles nearby. A few men walk past the couple, staring at them intensely, but not interfering. A police jeep is circling the neighborhood, but it never approaches the couple. By the time it re-appears for the fifth time, the couple seems to be asleep. Or frozen to death.
The couple's friends - a whole bunch of them - are drinking on one of the benches in the chestnut tree alley, some 50 meters away. One of them finally comes up to the couple, gets the girl off the boy, drags both of them up - but they aren't able to maintain a vertical position for longer than 15 seconds. The boy is a lot drunker than the girl, and he's much bigger, too. Their friend spends the next ten minutes trying to lead the couple back to the bench. They keep slipping and falling, slipping and falling, all three of them.
The helpful friend gives up eventually, leaving the couple by the bus stop, ten meters or so away from the bench.
They manage to get up by themselves, and they even make a quick attempt to have some sort of a conversation. As soon as they start kissing, though, they fall down again.
I watch them from my window until my feet turn cold. I leave for my room when the girl joins their friends - while the boy comes up to a car parked on the sidewalk and pees generously on it.
It's like watching a silent movie, so I keep thinking of an appropriate soundtrack for it. Gogol Bordello's Start Wearing Purple is the best fit I can think of.
An hour later, I'm at the balcony that faces our crazy Besarabka backyard - and guess what I see?
A different young couple is down on the ground, the boy is on top of the girl this time, she is struggling to get him off her, cursing at him, and he's cursing back at her. (This time, from the balcony, I can hear them really well.) She kicks him hard with her leg, he curses some more and gets up. He looks frustrated, but successfully fights off an urge to push and hit the girl as he helps her to get up. She's all dressed up, wearing high heels - and she looks and sounds quite furious. Like the first couple, these kids are very, very drunk. And the backyard is even more slippery than Khreshchatyk. They walk away unsteadily, still cursing at one another. The boy, quite traditionally, carries the girl's tiny, very feminine handbag - but since there's no longer any use pretending he's a gentleman, he's swinging that handbag madly as he walks.