Love Happens, Actually…
That was the name of the film which we were shown on the TV screen at our Volgograd to Moscow train on October the 15th this year. The departure time was 15:28 and the number of the carriage was the 15th, of course. That was not so obvious from the beginning though; when we arrived with my sister and brother and the youngest niece and nephew there were carriages No 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, a carriage without the number, 16, 17, 18, 19. A half an hour before this train departure the number of the carriage 15th was lit. By that time my sister with her children had left for their car; my brother helped me with my bag and had left as well. I was standing on the platform, saying good bye to my home city.
I was brought to Volgograd from Kharkov at the age of 3 months? Can not say for sure. Do not remember. What I do remember is the Sky full of Stars, The sky with hundred stars…
They were talking among themselves; talking about me, really…
– Look, look, – said one of them to the other stars around, – here she is, sitting on the balcony, watching us, – all the stars of the constellation were very pleased and smiling.
– What a wonderful life is going to happen to her, – added another star. And the stars burst into their brightest sparkling and shinings as their signs of approval.
– Oh yes, she will go to school, and the university, she will travel a lot…
– And then she will write a book, where she is going to mention us, – and the Stars have burst into the new portion of laughings, shinings and sparkling. They were so actually – really pleased.
And one little girl on the balcony saw the stars, heard their talks, realised that she was the girl, a person, a human being they were talking about. That girl was me 🙂
Since that moment my real interaction with this Life has began.
I remember a grandmother sitting on the balcony next to me, watching. Remember a room with some people, guests? I guess, and my parents, of course. The room was on the last floor in a 3 room flat with 3 owners and one kitchen and a bathroom to share. The apartment block was built by the prisoners German soldiers after the Stalingrad battle, I have learnt about it long afterwards; the building is still there. With the same and different sky, the stars and people; and the market place not far from it, and the kindergarten, and the school, and the musical school. All these are still at their places. There is no more The instrumental plant, where I had my school workshops practice, The Tractor building plant neither exists anymore. There I have started my career, working as a turner first, then as the Komsomol group leader at the House staff production department.
There was study at the local State University in 1988-93, the Stars were right. It happened 30-25 years ago: The English and Russian languages, Linguistics and Teaching.
And yes, there were lots of travelling: with my parents, and classmates, with Volgograd Club of International Friendship, and working for different national and international projects.
There were romances too, even two marriages: the first “Russian” one lasted 3 years, ending with the divorce while getting the Uni Diploma. The second one – International -ended 8 months ago with the death of Mr Ian Lawson, with whom we met here in Volgograd in 1997 at the seminar of Moscow School of Political Studies which took place at the Hotel Tourist near the Volga river at the footsteps of the Mamaev Hill.
It was Mr Lawson’s dream to visit Volgograd, the place of the greatest battle in history of this mankind. He came, he saw… had he conquer my heart? Not that time… I was “hunting” the representative of the Council of Europe. For developing democracy in Russia and international projects, of course. that is my real passion. Russia was just accepted to that European Institution that year. As for the three British businessmen, who were the last speakers at the event, I just needed their autographs. The programme with all the autographs from that event is still alive. While Mr Lawson has become a a very special friend, person, love, life partner, husband, mentor, memory, The Star. Yes, he has taught me to laugh and to love unconditionally. He has turned me into LOVe; just as soon as I have learnt to love him, to accept all his peculiarities, the new lesson appeared – to learn how to deal with the moment of his death, how to cope with the death of someone very special, how to love this life without The Loved One.
So here am I, at Volgograd railway station, starting my journey back home to England.
The train is ready to leave for Moscow. I am coming back to my compartment. A tall big man is greeting me there:
– Are you travelling here? How do you do? Nice to meet you! I am Michael.
-Good afternoon, Michael, nice to meet you too. I am Olga.
And the journey has begun.
After some greeting announcements on the telly or radio, do not remember (I was taking the pictures of the Mamaev Hill and the The Pobeda Arena, where England has won both over Tunisia and the mosquitoes),
the TV appeared on the screen. The Universal Studious… should be something really nice. “Love Happens” announced the screen… oh dear. At least not the war. The train stuard entered the compartment to check the tickets again and to explain “the house/train rules”. The TV was switched off for a while and for the whole journey.
After the train stuard exit Michael noted that according to the way of taking pictures I should be a tourist in Volgograd or had left the city long time ago, after finishing school.
– I have graduated from local University and worked here until 2006, – was my answer.
It occurred then that we met with Michael excactly 30 years ago at the same Roman – Germanic Languages Department. He graduated from it 3 years earlier than me, in 1990.
That was the journey… while Michael was surprised by the level of the services on modern Russian trains, I was amazed by the “perfect journey’ partner: the person who knows Russian regions and Volgograd, loves Russian and Foreign literatures, understands the peculiarities of the translations, has the wife Lena from the same UNI department, travels the world and the UK, and works in the production industry. The best of the Russian Man, who does exist only in the books or the screens. It was an exquisite communication experience. We had nice talks, drinking teas and eating pies and pancakes. It was the really dream team Russian train journey (those who do travel by Russian railways do understand). What is more, Michael has presented to me his book with The Autograph and the story about his experience at the Uni – the reminder from the stars???
I read the story sitting at Mama Russia cafe at Paveletzky Railway station before travelling to Domodedovo Airport for the very comfortable flight by Boing 787 (have enjoyed the flight experience for the first time in my life probably).
And I did watch Love Happens film last night at our English home in Manningtree. It’s a miracle it did not happen on the train. I could be in tears for the whole journey . The film is about coping with the death of our loved ones.
This morning Ian’s favourite butterfly has landed on the window of his office.
Yes, the symbol of Eternity. Mr L is an Angel, The Swan, The Butterfly, The Cloud, The Feather, The Cat’s Smile from Alice in Wonderland Tale… Everything which gives you that special feeling of Joy of Life and caring attention, which makes a positive difference to your? my low mood. And Mr L is The Star which is going to highlight to his grandchildren their life paths one day.
Love Happens film has the happy ending. Just. And. Like Mr L would say: ours is a different story; come on, give us A Smile, Girl… Our story is A Happy Love Happens…