Let’s go back to the 1990ies in Russia to continue with chronology of the events, not just influencing me and my life after, but also the fate of Russia and the rest of the world.
When I talk about witches, and apologies to all nice white witches, who wish no harm (I am one of them), I talk about bad witches, and in order to ban you from telling me what I am deranged, I will present you a picture of Moscow on one day in June in 1991.
It was a beautiful day, as far as I remember, and I was strolling the lovely streets of the Moscow city, together with my cousin, Olga, who came to see me from Donbas, an area where I spent two entire years of my life (from one to three years old) and spent a considerable time each summer after.
Olga and me were then really young, fourteen, fifteen, care-free, and very independent. I, for instance, due to the fact that I was constantly moving from the house of my dad and step-mother to the house of my grandma, and back, had lots of freedom. I really could do anything I wanted, and once I came back home at seven o’clock in the morning from a party of my boyfriend, and no one even noticed.
I was proud of my city then, because Moscow still stood as it was meant to be: large streets with scare construction, old beautiful buildings, the view of the Kremlin, undisturbed, amazing museums, and not than many shops. I was slightly boasting to my cousin, even if I also actually envied her, with her nice, simple, very friendly life in an old mining town in Donbas, where she could visit our grandparents, proud Cossacks, just across the border, in the South of Russia, whenever she wanted. I had to wait till the summer.
We walked for a long time, stopping at different places, to admire the view. We didn’t go inside the Kremlin that time, but stared at it from the bridge, taking in the breathtaking view of that amazing establishment. Kremlin is indeed breath-taking, encompassing beautiful imposing building, the most beautiful cathedral in the whole world, and the Kremlin tower itself, as well as the canon, and park and river around. All Kremlins in Russia were built on the river, surrounded by it, to protect themselves from the enemies.
And then we reached the old Arbat, a famous street in the center, forbidden for cars, where so many Russian writers created their stories, and where artists and vagabonds loved to assemble: to play guitar, to have a laugh, to share artistic ideas, to fall in love and to experience magic. Old Arbat was magical.
But no anymore. In the summer of 1991 I got for the first time a definite feeling that something wrong was going on in my native country. We entered the street, and there it was: witches parlors on almost every corner. At each corner, they were sitting, the witches. One was saying on a poster in front that she could read your fortune and make it better. The other had an announcement that she could ban certain people out of your life, and one man claimed to be a hypnotizer, looking similar to Kashpirovsky, promising to hypnotize one to good health or death, depending on your wishes (he didn’t mention ‘death’, but he looked like he could do it).
Ah, all that is innocent, and doesn’t mean anything, you might say at this point, especially if you are an atheist, or a psychiatrist.
Well, it does, of course it does. Queues of people were assembling next to each witch, wishing, hoping to get something that would make their lives better. It was indeed a desperate moment for my country: there was nothing to eat, nothing to buy, with uncertain future and total turmoil in politics and economics.
I didn’t like any of them, and I kind of felt a sort of despair myself when I saw these crowds of people, and because I was curious by nature, I joined the queue of a palm reader, a woman who didn’t look kind, and who started to give me weird looks before I even approached her. My cousin was standing next to me, but I told her I had money only to pay for my reading, not for hers. Something protective was always in me, in regards to my one year older than me cousin. She was vulnerable, fragile, thinking that she had lost on points, because my father had made a life in Moscow, while her dad, my uncle, worked in a mine. We both didn’t understand then, yet, that the life of her parents, in a small mining town, was the one that was full of beauty and wonder, and nice, kind people, who earned their bread with honesty and integrity.
By the time I approached the palm reader, I wasn’t feeling that well, I think it was probably due to the fact that all people who had a reading with her, had sad, desolate faces when they departed after receiving their reading. She was piercing me, with her unkind, calculating eyes all the way through, and I assumed it was due to my quite sexy, revealing top, that my mum had brought me from Italy. I was standing out in terms of my clothes, and the woman probably didn’t like it, was my guess.
When I sat in front of her, I had a massive headache, not helped by the fact that what she was telling me, a fourteen years old, was beyond being disturbing, it was pure bad madness.
“You will soon have an operation and you might survive, but it is all in the hands of the fate. You should never work as a teacher, or become a doctor. You will be unlucky in love.”
There was nothing nice coming out the mouth of the woman, and I don’t even know where I found the strength to contradict her, but I did. When she finally revealed her trick, such as asking to pay her lots of money to correct my outrageous fortune, I put a hand on top of hers, looked into her eyes and said:
“You are a liar.”
I then stood up and took my cousin firmly by the hand. I stopped for a good measure as well, looking at the crowd still waiting for their reading, really wishing for them to never approach that monster psychic, to never deal with her madness, greediness and ill-will.
Something unexpected happened then. The bad psychic stood up and started to assemble her chair and her tools (cards or whatever), and then she said:
“No more reading today, I am going home.”
I experienced enormous relief then.
The next day, I took my cousin Olga, and my other cousin from Moscow, my sisters really, I don’t like the term ‘cousin’ to the Zamoskvorechye, a district full of churches, right outside of Moscow (now, a part of it), to baptize all three of us together with a very good friend, Nastya.
We received baptism, someone stole my best hat on the train back to Moscow, and I did feel something. Something really good entering my life.
It wasn’t enough though to fight with the negative energy my native town was dealing with then, but we will come back to it in due term. I saw that palm reader twice, you will read about it in more details in my upcoming book, The Russian Patient. And I talk about the events in Russia from the end of the 1990ies in my book: Elena: a Love Story for Humankind.’