Тонкая СРЕДА-2020-1(14) К СОДЕРЖАНИЮ
* * * Spirit of memory, tempted by pride, by a display of medals on an old man’s jacket - we saw, we died, we won - not exactly the old “veni vidi vici”; no need to tempt mortality with tales of heroic feats, as you, too, are mortal, and your time shall come. My father, a veteran, never showed off his medals. I saw them only once, when I was six or seven, “Show me!” I insisted. He showed me an old cardboard box with several dusty medals, two or three or four, I don’t remember exactly; he never took them out of that box, and when we left our Soviet motherland forever, it remained on a windowsill of our Moscow apartment, together with my mother’s PhD dissertation, (there were only so many – or so few-- things you could take with you in those days, and I, a silly child, refused to leave without my childhood paintings, so they took my paintings and books and photographs, all of these were given to a Dutch consul, as you couldn’t take certain things with you in those early days when Soviet Jews were exchanged for American grain), that's how my childhood paintings won over the medals. ("What use is pride after twenty members of your family are slaughtered like cattle?") Pride of a survivor is fiction, my father said, and he agreed with Primo Levy, maybe that’s why he never showed his medals, never even mentioned he was a veteran, never joined any parade or a veterans’ group; he didn’t kill himself like Primo Levy, he didn't talk about the war, yet his thoughts were passed on to me like a silent memory, and maybe that’s why sometimes I remember things I never lived through myself.