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The International Writers Magazine: A Snapshot

FOLLY, or Do you follow me.
• Valery Petrovskiy
I just took a snapshot of her. Sure, there were many people about but she was the only one with such an anticipating air. This I’d also had on New Year's Eve when a child. I went to bed looking forward to a miracle. I just thought: I'll get up in the morning and then a miracle would come. Then in the morning it happened - New Year’s Day: snow turned a new white in the street, Mom looked somewhat younger, and a stove warmed up the house particularly well.


The girl was waiting for a miracle just then, not in winter, for New Year’s Day was months away. It all occurred at the “The Golden Autumn” fest in Echegnadzor, Armenia and she was in a hurry to catch a miracle before others could snatch it away. There were many little girls around, and as for a miracle, who knows how much it was left there. Her mother had made the girl ready beforehand, all the evening two of them had prepared a costume naming “Golden Autumn” I guessed. She stood there lonely with some motley autumn leaves sewn onto her pleated skirt, with frills. They were sewn very neatly, not a leaf fell down or tore off, bright as if painted though the trees were still green. And the girl was quite a greenhorn, a little one, but she was ready for a miracle, for it doesn’t depend on age.

Many grown ups walked about needing no miracle : what can one do with it? How one was to keep it, maybe on a balcony like the last Christmas tree. So I took a snap of her, and she wasn’t surprised at all. I took her out of the crowd, the only one, and she looked at me quietly. Certainly, I was not looking like a miracle myself, just a stranger to amaze everybody, a visiting photographer in an American baseball cap. And she looked at me with dignity as if she had known beforehand that one was to notice her: a stranger not of these parts just to single her out, a little lady hurrying to the fest.

Possibly when the photographer was gone, no one would pay heed to her any more; she'd walk along the intricate streets of Echegnadzor as she did before. After my departure all the trees would turn orange and yellow as the leaflets on her festive dress “Golden Autumn”. And she would go to school and shine as if framed by bright leaves, because she knew that she was special. She knew that a wonder was possible and nobody would make her lose the faith. So, if the leaves were lost on her dress it wouldn’t matter much because she knows something others don't.

In winter all the leaves fall down, even the most beautiful, and it is fatal, but not deadly. Everything comes back, and all comes true, I hope you know that too. …When she was going home I caught her glance in the street once more. It was a casual glance, for one can meet you twice a day even in a big city, and Echegnadzor was just a small town. Then she gave me a smile, a very adult one, with a mild eye. You wouldn’t think it expressed gratitude; women never thank men, what for? Folly. And would you like to see the picture now? Have a look; it’s just a little girl in a costume with foolish leaflets. By the way, I had seen picture of yours just like this: a photo with you, where you are so, so… Do you follow me?

© V Petrovskiy Jan 2013

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