We had spent the day in the cold wandering around a new city, Voronezh. Down by the river is a small yellow cathedral, the paint chipping and the walls cracking but the surrounding benches and park kept up well. Right next to it is a monument, something to do with Peter the Great and the navy he built on the river here. Behind that flows the river made four times wider by a dam downstream. Off on the opposite side of the church, to the left of the monument, a pre-fab café, Café Europe. The skies were overcast, and our faces were getting cold. We stepped into the café to get some tea.
In the spring or summer the café must have more people, but in November it’s empty along with the rest of the grounds. We sat and sipped our tea and I felt the warmth returning to my face. I looked at the TV, it was playing French cartoons with the sound off. The music in the café was in English – Duran Duran, Joan Osborne, and then some Sting. A Sting song I actually love – “Fragile”. My face tingled as the nerves regained consciousness out of the cold. I looked out the window at the huge waterway, the clouds moving in and obscuring the sunset, making the world look darker than it should be, the sky and the water showing nearly ten different shades of blue. Across the waterway, the mid-rise Khrushchevian suburbs started to light up, and the cars slowly driving across the bridge in the distance turned on their lights. “Lest we forget how fragile we are…”