I’ve never been one to become attached to inanimate objects. I’ve lost all jewelry my loved ones have given me. I unintentionally destroyed my birth certificate. Close to 20 broken, lost or damaged phones have been sacrificed over my lifetime. And for those that know me very well, my car needs tender love and care, to put it lightly.
This clock has been near and dear to me for 16 years. It’s even been my sister’s and has come back around to me. I can’t imagine it cost more than $10 at Target and the alarm now goes off an hour and change later than the desired set time (which is ironically in line with my rather relaxed views on time.)
I will always remember my first night in America. Freshest in my mind is my surprise at the first sense of Atlanta humidity walking out of the airport. Literally and metaphorically, my body and soul began its gradual thaw, slowly melting away memories of bitter Russian winters and trying times. To this day, I treasure coming back from a summer trip and walking out of the airport to bask for a moment in that intoxicating, steamy Georgia air.
On the ride home, I recall thinking my new city was really a forest because I’d never seen so many trees in a major metropolitan area. Were we going to our new house on a farm? (We were going to Brookhaven, but compared to our Russian high rise apartment in the heart of the city, it may as well have been a forest.)
Upon arrival at the new digs, a beautiful white modern block house designed by a friend of my mother’s, I opened the bright red front door and naturally gravitated toward the kitchen first. My first meal was plain rice Chex with 2% milk and sliced bananas. It’s hard not to smile recalling that milk in a carton was a compelling concept at the time, Russian milk was sold in bags or bottles. You have to understand that any and everything I knew about America came from repeatedly watching Home Alone 1 and 2: milk in cartons, everyone lived in a big house, and you could use credit card imaginary money instead of fiat fun coupons to buy things like pizza.
After exchanging a few words in broken English and Russian with my family, I ran upstairs to check out my new fun zone. I opened the first door on the right to find a beautiful light blue room with a bed covered in a flowery comforter, a blonde wood desk with three drawers, a matching chair and the clock in the photo above.
I immediately started fiddling with the nobs to set the alarm. It seemed pointless because I couldn’t catch my breath, let alone sleep, knowing the next day would mark the next chapter of my life.
False, I fell asleep right away and woke up at 6 AM the next morning with the help of little blue. I ran downstairs, calculating that it would be hours before my parents woke up. After taking a casual stroll down the driveway to the mailbox for the newspaper, I turned on the TV and flipped the channels until I found something interesting. I landed on MTV as Eminem’s video, “The Way I Am” had just started. This was the beautiful beginning to my gorgeous journey through life in the beautiful, filthy, nasty, dirty south Princess: Atlanta. I’ve loved hip hop/rap and despised boy bands/ John Mayer types ever since.