His accent was heavier than I’d expected, voice gravelly from endless Asmoloff cigarettes, the buzzing line making him sound distant. ‘Meet me at the cathedral.’
I crossed the glittering Moskva towards the Kremlin hunched on the other bank – a red brick play fort on a grand scale. Broken down Ladas and Volgas zipped like grounded wasps along the bridge, the occasional Mercedes and Bentley, windows blacked out.
The biting cold made me feel my foreignness most – how my movements stiffened, my cheeks turned to drum skins – while the locals negotiated the ice slicked streets with quiet doggedness.
Standing in the cathedral’s shadow, I craned to see the onion domes, let the golds and reds, the zigzags and swirls warm me, distract me from my jangling nerves.
A hand gripped my elbow. Jutting eyebrows, a jaw to match. That familiar, guarded look in the coal grey eyes.
‘Hi Dad,’ I said.
Written for What pegman saw, a writing prompt based on Google Streetview. This week, a stunning shot of St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow … and a hint of Cold War mystery. See here to join in and to read the other stories.