Stranded in Svobodny (loose translation: Free). Average population decline from 1989 to 2010: 1010.8 per year; at 58,778 the trail goes cold. A bewildering array of mechanical, electrical and emotional ailments, I take to wandering the streets looking for a sign. How to regain momentum?
The oppressive air of inescapable poverty deepens my fug. Dark wooden houses return to the earth, Hammer House portraits drag listless bodies, their flickering eyes adding paranoia to a growing collection of upstairs squatters.
I spotted the big Yellow Dog slipping through a shaft of light, briefly gorgeously Golden, a winning ticket. Glancing in both directions he crossed the busy road towards me without breaking stride. Tail aloft, oozing control and purpose. As he passed I fell in behind happily, nothing against. I had to trot to keep up, my breasts bouncing in time with his dangling ball bag. Now we were a team, on the beat, doing the rounds, important, how about you? Down railway cuttings, across littered playgrounds, through the half occupied market place, not once slowing, not once running. Just Solid Gold.
My new partner disappeared around a corner, Solid Gone. Lunging forward, peering into doorways and ditches, loss growing like a cold chair, I finally stopped and turned back. The big Yellow Dog sat calmly staring at me.
Please go away now.
16th September 2014