14 April 2011


From: ‘Mina Bayless’
Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2011 11:05 PM
To: ‘Elle Wakefield’
Subject: Arrived


My love from Russia.  🙂  Allow me one stupid joke.  More specifically, I’m here in St. Petersburg; the flight from Stockholm was no problem.  So far all of M. Cassel’s recommendations have worked out.  The hostel is clean & plain.  “Economical”  would be the word some people would use; it’s 4 walls, & flat surfaces: bed desk, window.

The view is actually a small luxury.  From that floor, the lights of the city stretch on & on.  They block out the stars, just like in Uppsala, just like at home.  There is that old cliché about sleeping under the same stars.  Is there still comfort if you can see them?  Is artificial light a comfort too?

St. P is so different, even if I’m in a somewhat familiar place.  Taking advantage of cafe wi-fi like other customers here.  The coffee is like gunpowder, but they have honey cake with some sort of nuts on top, almond, I think.  Are you jealous?  Very nervous.  Saw the colored spires & the Neva on the flight in & I couldn’t believe I was here.  Much less to claim my father’s body.

You can’t tell from this, but I keep staring at that phrase.  “To claim my father’s body.”  I don’t feel sad yet, or frantic or angry, or some normal feeling.  Just disconnected, between destinations.  The connections that place me in the world have been reduced.  One fewer person who can get me out of a jam, one less name to put on a form as an emergency contact, one less person expecting me to call & check in.  When we landed, I forgot for a second & thought, “Once I get to the hostel, I should call Dad.”

God, what am I doing here?

Things should be clearer tomorrow, I hope.  Called M. Cassel once I checked in.  He’s in contact with the photog that will travel with me to the village.  He’s supposed to be a guide/translator & will help me claim Dad’s body.  Once he’s done, he’ll be back on assignment & I’ll have to figure out how to get back.

Till then, I’ll eat a piece of honey cake & think of you.