February 17, 2011

Winter Story

During the winter, some very distant memories about one story  can come to mind. Oftentimes, they are the ones you’d rather forget about, because they don’t bring up anything other than a feeling of slight bewilderment. You’re not even sure why this story keeps spinning around in your head, refusing to leave you in please.

I was 13 years old, it was the winter holidays, and I was going to indulge in my favourite cold-weather activity – sitting with a cup of tea, wrapped in a blanket, reading a book, and listening to my favourite music. However, my aunt, who was a paediatrician, decided to ruin my idyllic moment by asking me to deliver a prescription to a patient, who forgot it at her office. My aunt was doing a night shift that time, and couldn’t deliver it herself. Also, trying to argue with my aunt was sort of like taking part in bullfighting.

However, I thought I’d at least ask what seemed like a logical question – would it be possible to do it tomorrow instead? My aunt told me that the person needed the prescription to get some medicine for their sick child as soon as possible.

My dad was going to drive me to the address. It wasn’t so much that they didn’t trust me to find it; it was just located in a sketchy neighborhood.

When my dad and I reached the address, it was dark, though it wasn’t so late at night. Since it was freezing outside, my dad couldn’t turn off the car to come to the house with me. Russian cars of that era often couldn’t get started in really cold weather, so he stayed inside the car with the motor running.

The address that I had to make my delivery to was a two-storey apartment building. I found some mailboxes on the first floor. I had an idea to just slip the prescription into the mailbox. However, I was rather upset to find out that the doors of the appartments didn’t have numbers on them. What was even spookier was that the only source of light was a window at the end of the corridor. Through that window, you could see the moonlight breaking through the clouds outside. This was both beautiful and kind of terrifying.

The moon was out, my father was waiting for me, and I had no idea behind which door was the person I was looking for. I proceeded down the corridor. I figured that I had two options. The first one was to listen closely to the sounds behind the doors. Maybe I could figure out where the sick child was. The other option was to knock on the nearest door, and ask where those people lived. The noises I heard through the doors were so chaotic, and the smells that welled up in the corridor were so repulsive that I decided against knocking on most of them.

Finally, I found what seemed to be a quiet apartment. I knocked on the door. A woman wrapped in a shawl opened it for me. Behind her, I could see a tiny apartment, where there was only one bed and one chair. On the bed, I saw a small person. I explained the situation, and gave her the prescription. Without saying a word, she took it and closed the door.

My adventure didn’t end here. When I went back towards the exit, I noticed two guys standing there. One of them grabbed me by the sleeve, and said “What the hell are you doing here?”. I’m not sure why, but at that moment, instead of getting scared, I got really angry. I said “First of all, don’t pull on my sleeve. My coat is very expensive. Second of all, I just delivered a prescription for a sick child. And finally, why don’t you have numbers on your doors?”

The guys let go of me, and mumbled something like “Get out of here, with your expensive coat.”

I left the building, and hurried towards our warm car. My dad asked me “Did you do everything alright?” I said “Yep, I did.”


  1. Oh Olga, I hope by telling this you experience a sort of peace. It is so interesting the childhood memories that remain with us. What a brave and good girl you were. I think the qualities you showed as a child in this story are still a part of you, I think we can all see them shine through in your blog. Bless you girl.

  2. Mukavat muistot - hieno kuva...
    Lapsenmielisenä olen itsekin blogissani.
    Koillismaan pakkas-terveisin...

  3. I agree with Dolly. That was a courageous thing to do and many little girls would have got really scared and run away, but you had a duty to do and went right ahead until it was mission accomplished.

    Love the way you snapped at the dodgy guy.

    I imagine your husband knows not to take you on if you're wearing an expensive coat! ;)

  4. What a great story and you were so brave. I would have been terrified if it had been me. Fantastic post. I hope you got to have your tea and read wrapped up in a big blanket while listening to music when you got back. You deserved it!

  5. Hi Wong,
    Thank you for your feedback regarding my composition.

    Hi Dolly,
    The adults in my family, for some reason, always supposed that I could manage the situation, whatever it may be. I keep wondering if my childhood would have been less stressful if they didn't trust me so much :)

    Hi Eko,
    I'd love to hear about your childhood memories. Maybe in another post? :)

    Hi Sarah,
    In those days, it was a real problem to obtain almost any item. Perhaps I could make a separate post about this. To have a beautiful coat in Soviet Russia was something like having a status symbol car today :)

    Hi Happy Frog and I,
    When I got back, that was exactly what I did. I remember it was all the more wonderful after my stressful night.

  6. I think you should be writing a book, such a well told tale.

  7. Fantastic! This could be a snippet from a novel. I was captivated from beginning to end. It is an amazing story made more amazing in the way in which you have told it.

  8. Great story and one that shows that you were a very brave child. I love that you told the man to let go of your expensive coat! - Bravo.

    Is that a purple house? Because I LOVE purples houses.

  9. You are one brave gal! That story was amazing, and well told. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Reading your story was like watching a Hitchcock movie! The incident must have made a very big impression on you for you to remember it so vividly and telling it on your blog. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Brave!!! Even at 13!
    It felt as if I was reading a book. You are such a good narrator.
    I wish you a beautiful weekend.


  12. Wow! Fearless! I love how you protected your coat. :) Great story, Olga.

  13. Wow, what a story, thanks for sharing! You were very brave :)

  14. Hi Lindy,
    Perhaps in the future, I will forget what I was doing yesterday, but I will retain vivid memories of the distant past :)

    Hi aguja,
    Life has given me a few interesting experiences. To be told that they could be in a book is definitely a compliment, and it makes me feel validated as a storyteller :)

    Hi lifeshighway,
    I have to admit, this house is the result of my playing games with Photoshop. I'm planning to print out this photo and submit it to the owners of the house, to see if they can consider painting it.

    Hi Lydia,
    When I get a compliment from a writer, I cut myself an extra-large piece of chocolate cake :)

    Hi ladybird,
    I'm glad I reached a point when my Hitchcock-like memories of my Russian life just amuse me instead of making me want to curl up under my blanket with the lights on.

  15. Hi tywo,
    I'm glad you got such a positive impression. I hope you're having a wonderful weekend too.

    Hi Talli,
    Thank you. I feel like I deserve a second piece of cake now :)

    Hi M@risa,
    Thank you. Considering my age at the time, I feel like that was my only means of defense - the element of surprise.

  16. I have just joined the numerous lot of your gfriends. I have got a look at your paintings through the Arts on King Gallery page. They are so good. Your abstract snow patterns too, and your writing.

  17. Hi Pet,
    Thank you and welcome to my blog! I am very proud that I have such talented people as my followers.
    It is always a delight when I get a comment. As long as I have my followers I am inspired to do more posts :)

  18. Olga:

    Very compelling story it had a gripping hold on me while I was reading I was so glad you said what you did in that moment, I shudder to think otherwise. Perhaps your family it was a way of teaching you self reliance and strength of character. Like your Auntie you rose to the occasion for trust was placed on you to do the right thing and it seems it worked. Here in this generation we do not teach our children well and give them a chance to practice while they are still under our wings like your father waiting in the background. Unfortunately bad things occur far to frequently in our society.

    Beautiful photo by the way, I love that blue building and the blue to the tree branches


  19. Hi Joanny,
    I hope you had a nice weekend. I think about my childhood adventures often. The truth is all of them ended happily. But my daughter asks me frequently - How did I survive :)

  20. What a powerful memory. In it, you solve so many problems right on the spot, and it must have left you with a sense that you could find your way through anything you might face. You are such a good and courageous human. I am so glad to know you. Thank you for sharing this story.

  21. Hi Angella,
    I guess I've never been afraid of being myself. What is really awesome that I have a chance to know you and other wonderful bloggers!

  22. Fascinating! That must have been scary though. Love the colour of this house!

  23. Hi Lynda,
    Thank you for your comment. I really appreciate your visit.
    I have to agree with you-it was a little scary.