The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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One late night in the suburbs of Moscow with his friends, my father Georgiy made the mistake of staying out too late and missing the last passenger train home. He believes this to be the moment in his life he felt most afraid and it certainly helped him keep track of time in the future.

Tonight was no normal night in the suburbs. Tonight, George could barely stop shaking at the thought of what was coming next.

“I told you guys we should have left earlier!” Alexander says to everyone, pacing back and forth in the train car, unable to settle down enough to sit down like the others since they’d jumped on.

“Relax, Alexander, this isn’t a big deal and we’ll be home soon anyway,” Dimitri says as he reclines against the wall, clearly not at all bothered by the current situation. George and his friends Alexander, Dimitri, Nikolia, and Sasha were currently on a non-passenger train traveling from the suburbs to the city. Why were they on a non-passenger train? Well simply because they lost track of time fooling around and missed the last train home. So Nikolia had this brilliant idea of hopping on a nearby non-passenger train. And while getting onto the train wasn’t too difficult, these trains move fairly slowly, George is getting queasy.

“I wouldn’t say this isn’t a big deal… we’re gonna jump out of a moving train!” George says, much more shakily than he meant to.  

“Come on, it’s just as easy getting off as on,” Sasha says trying to calm them down, “and we should be getting ready to just that shortly.” Sasha gets up and moves towards the opening of the train car along with Nikolia and Dimitri. George watches as the three of them try to figure out the best place to jump. George had never done anything like this before. Sure, he’s done some stupid things here and there, but nothing like this. Nothing that made him so unstable on his feet as he tried to force himself up. George exchanged a glance with Alexander, the only other one in the car at all bothered by this situation, but Alexander just shrugged and moved closer to the rest of the guys.

“Alright, it’s time,” said Sasha, “I’ll go first but don’t wait long, we don’t know how long this stretch of grass is.” Sasha leaps off immediately after that, with no hesitation. George is stunned as he watches Nikolia, Dimitri, and even Alexander follow swiftly after. It’s his turn now, but even though he’s trying, it feels like he’s moving blocks of ice each time he takes a step closer to the opening. He can hear the other yelling from the ground for him to jump, but then it becomes muted and everything is silent, frozen. George’s heart beats even faster as he grabs on to the edge of the opening and braces himself. He finally jumps, his thoughts racing. Will he get through this unscathed? Are his friends laughing at him? He just knows he’s going to get a talking to about being late from his mother once he gets home. Yet, when his feet finally touch the ground, he is left with just one single thought in his head. 

“I am never losing track of time again.”

The Tracks of Lost Time

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Early 1980s
Suburbs of Moscow

One late night in the suburbs of Moscow with his friends, my father Georgiy made the mistake of staying out too late and missing the last passenger train home. He believes this to be the moment in his life he felt most afraid and it certainly helped him keep track of time in the future.

Tags: russia, scary, time, train
Decade: 1980s
Rating:
Recorded by Anna Minasyan on December 7, 2020
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