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writing for godot

Max Polyakov Meets Murka in St. Petersburg

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Written by techyburton   
Thursday, 03 May 2018 23:35


Max Polyakov's Murka

Twenty-year-old Max Polyakov sat and thought to himself in Atlanta, Georgia, where he grew up with his parents, about the best way to celebrate his upcoming birthday. Being born in the United States, all that he really knew about his home country was what his parents told him. Mr. and Mrs. Polyakov, who were still very Russian in their dealings, schooled him through and through about the Russian culture and how he should never forget where he came from. It is a bit hard to do that when you have only been to your home country five times in twenty years.

Not that he did not love the United States. Quite the contrary. Being of Russian descent gave him something, an identity that was not very much like those of the others around him. It gave him a name, a place to belong, and it made him happy not to fit in. He was not a typical American. He was Russian-American, meaning he had the best of both worlds. There was absolutely no way he was going to let that go. Russia was and always would be dear to his heart, and America would always be where he grew up.

One of Max Polyakov's most favourite parts of his culture was the beauty of Russian art. The millennial simply could not get over his rich heritage and his grandparents' contribution to the artistic world. Being the grandson of a famous artist, his parents made sure to instil in him the love for the arts from a very young age. By the time Max Polyakov was 15, he had begun collecting his own pieces. Art and literature became his life. He was studying classical literature at the university, and much to his parents' joy, he began doing an in-depth study of classical Russian literature. Music, writing, and art seemed to be what he was made for, much like the way his brother was a mathematician.

It was a no-brainer by the time his parents interrupted his thought process and asked him how he wanted to celebrate his birthday. Twenty-one was the prime of his life and the year he would come into adulthood. To him, going to visit his aunt in Russia seemed like the best idea. Max Polyakov wasted no time in letting his parents know of his plans to go. His parents were delighted and decided to allow him to go on his own this time, provided he had an itinerary and knew exactly how he was going to spend his time there. Max Polyakov proposed four weeks, within which he would have enough time with his family, the chance to visit all the art museums in Russia as well as catch up with a few of the old friends he had made on his past few visits. There was absolutely nothing that could possibly go wrong.

Max Polyakov was set to leave within the next month, by June 21st, before his birthday on the 24th. He expected to be met and hosted by his ever loving very Russian aunt who loved him to bits, aunt Katalina, and her strict husband, Peter.

The Trip to St.Petersburg

Max Polyakov chose this aunt over several others because of where she lived, in St. Petersburg, where everything happened. Life was rumored to be tough there but his family, being born into old money in addition to the fame of his grandfather, was well to do. The Polyakov’s did what they could for society at every given moment. They donated to orphanages, schools, and even hospitals. A lot of money had been made from his grandfather's literary pieces, and they were one of the most respected families in the country. Somehow, having all these riches, Max had developed a soft heart, uncharacteristic for someone who has been raised in such affluence.

Taking off on the 21st of June was in no way an emotional goodbye from his parents. Max Polyakov honestly did not want all that airport drama. He needed to save his strength and emotions for the thirteen-hour plane ride that he was about to experience. He was not a fan of plane rides. At least not as much as he was a fan of cats and literature. The several hours of doing nothing was more of a chore to him rather than a moment of respite. Max calmed himself down by picking up one of the classic literature pieces by Vasily Grossman and took his time to sink into the world of Russian literature.

Several chapters, a few naps here and there, and a few hours of listening to jazz music later, the voice-over finally announced that the plane had entered Russia. It took 2 more hours to land, however, there was a small dance in Max's heart. Max Polyakov began to smile to himself. He had absolutely no idea what this summer holiday had for him but he was so ready. He looked forward to his adventure and the fuss that his aunt would make on his upcoming birthday.

aunt Katalina was already in the airport at St. Petersburg waiting for Max Polyakov, and by the time the plane landed, she was smiling to herself. This young American was full of life and the American accent. He made fun of the way she spoke English but aunt Katalina did not care. All that was important to her was the way he spoke Russian. She had told Max Polyakov's parents over and over again not to ‘americanise' the boys. It was very important that they knew their heritage, respected it and practiced it. Max could speak American English for all she cared but certainly not American Russian.

Max got down from the plane and met his aunt at the arrival hall. He knew she would be on time. Russians were always on time. He chuckled to himself. aunt Katalina wasted no time in getting to know his Russian proficiency level. By the time they had gotten home, aunt Katalina had tidied up his old bedroom where he used to sleep while in town and allowed him to have a cool shower. It was already 27 degrees Celsius in Russia. Summer was in full swing.

Max and Literature

 

Max's aunt and her husband already planned out his four-week trip. There were visits to the Kremlin in Moscow, the Pushkin House, the Winter Palace, Hermitage Museum, just to name a few. His aunt had really spent herself. The truth is, aunt Katalina, following the advice of her brother, wanted to do all that was necessary to wear the boy out so he had a full experience of the country and no time to gallivant and get himself in trouble. He was Russian alright but she was not quite sure of his street smarts.

For whatever reason his aunt was managing his itinerary for the next few weeks, Max Polyakov was okay with it. In truth, he only knew in part about the country. He trusted his well-connected and well-traveled aunt to know where to take him to experience the Russian culture in all of its entirety.

Of all the places he visited, it was the Pushkin House that melted his heart. Learning all about these beautiful pieces of art and literature simply made Max’s heart explode. Russia had a beautiful history and he was right to have come all the way to spend his birthday here.

An Unexpected Twist

It was on one of his visits touring the streets of St. Petersburg that Max noticed a tiny black and white creature just by the side of the road. The creature, as Max came closer, looked like a kitten. A very small kitten. Most probably an abandoned one. Max looked around to see if there were any vindictive mother cats around, but to his surprise, he found none. None of the other stray cats in the area paid any attention to him. Max Polyakov looked with pity at the little creature and all of a sudden an idea came to him. With the same spontaneity that made him decide to spend weeks in Russia to experience his culture, he picked the cat and placed it inside his jacket.

Max Polyakov knew, by all means, that his aunt would have a mouthful when she saw the kitten, nevertheless, Max was determined. He had absolutely no idea what was awaiting him. He had already spent close to a month in Russia and his parents were eager for his return.

His aunt shouting was the least of his worries when it came to Murka, his newfound kitten. When the time drew near for him to travel, Max began to feel sentimentally attached to the kitten and refused to let it go. aunt Katalina began to ask around about what was necessary to transport an animal between countries.

When it was already becoming obvious Max would have to stay in Russia for a few more weeks, he called his parents to break the news to them. Upon hearing about Murka, his parents were all but worried. Max’s Aunt Katalina seemed to know what to do about the situation so there was no need to worry too much.

What Max did not anticipate were the protocols he had to follow and the time needed to get it done. Since Max Polyakov's Murka was not bought from a store and she was found on the streets, she had to undergo several vaccinations.

Murka had to have a microchip inserted in her. This was necessary for documentation. In addition to that, Murka needed to be vaccinated against rabies, panleukemia, and dermatophytosis. Unfortunately, Murka also had to be quarantined and watched for six months to be sure she had no rabies prior to the vaccination.

Max Polyakov was determined to stay with Murka through this arduous process.

Back to Atlanta

After the 6-month observatory period was over, in the dead of winter, Murka, now no longer a tiny kitten, was given her passport which meant Max could travel home with her. In the course of six months, Max Polyakov had bonded with the cat and the duo became inseparable. Max felt like this was the best decision of his life and devoted all his time and energy to take good care of the cat.

Murka repaid his kindness by staying with him at every moment and snuggling in to sleep with him every night. Aunt Katalina, finally happy that the worst was over, bought Max and Murka's ticket back. After inquiries, Max Polyakov was told that all he needed to do to take Murka was to tell the airline company about her. Since all her documents were complete, Max Polyakov gladly boarded the plane a few days to the New Year with Murka in a special cage. Six months and good counsel was enough to get Max all that he needed and more to carry Murka to her new home.

Max Polyakov was met at the airport by his parents who were eager to see the new friend who had kept Max Polyakov in Russia for half a year. Upon meeting Murka, his parents understood why he made such a drastic decision. The black and white cat with blue eyes was all they needed to see to fall in love with Max’s new pet and be appreciative of their New Year present. In no time, Max Polyakov's Murka was taken home to meet the rest of Max’s American family. They loved and cared for her as their own, and Max never regretted the day he found her on the streets of St. Petersburg.


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