Good night, travel well

Tanya Lokshina drives a knife through your heart:

Natasha takes a last sip of tea: “Yes, it would be good to leave – for a year, say. I so want to write a book. But there is always so much to do and no time left for anything. But if I did go somewhere… Not now, of course, I just can’t at the moment…” She gets up from the kitchen sofa, and staggering from tiredness, heads for the bedroom.

“Come on, do it now!” I laugh as she leaves. “Just think how awful it’ll be if you get bumped off, and haven’t even written the book which your friends and colleagues can bring out with great fanfare after your death. You’re not going to have a book, like proper people, just a pathetic posthumous collection of articles. The shame of it! Those posthumous collections of articles are the pits. If you’ve got a shred of conscience and self-respect left, you’ll get out of here and not come back ‘til you’ve written the book!” I move the mouse to wake the sleeping computer, and hear Natasha chuckling sleepily as she pulls the blanket over herself.

She was killed two days later, on 15 July.

She was pushed into a car while running to catch a shuttle taxi early in the morning. They took her from Chechnya into Ingushetia, and shot her by the forest.

At the funeral Lana tagged at my sleeve: “You will publish a collection of Mum’s articles now, won’t you? Mum didn’t write a book… You said that if a person is killed and hasn’t written a book, then they publish a collection of articles…” We like to think that children sleep at night, but they listen to our midnight conversations with great attention.

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2 thoughts on “Good night, travel well

  1. makes blogging about voluntoursim or aid-worker honesty seem lightweight… :S

    Keep reminding us of the gritty reality in those places we too-often overlook.

    • One of things that really stands out to me about Tanya Lokshina’s writing is the almost timeless quality to it. She could be describing any number of places, at any time over the last half century –until she inserts a subtle line like “I move the mouse to wake the sleeping computer” that snaps me back to the present with the idea that, oh shit, right, this is happening NOW, reinforced in my mind.

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