The day the border was crossed he drank sweet coffee. He had been waiting to hear a cuckoo. His father railed “Let them in!” and waved his handkerchief. The fields were yellow with rape. Vasily had his toys all over the carpet. His mother made soup. Later he would meet friends at the corner bar but make sure he returned home before dusk. The main roads were all busy with heavily laden cars and trucks. They were all headed in one direction. How quick things move, he thought. And how predictable this unpredictability. Oh she danced so well last night.
He spent an hour removing pictures from the bedroom wall. Images of icons, cars, animals, slogans, pin-ups, friends. He saved the blu-tack from the corners of each piece of paper and combined them into a ball. He put the pictures into a black bin liner, then he took the ball of blu-tack and dabbed it across the wall, removing any stubborn sticky debris. But the wall was pock-marked. Stains remained; blemishes that would never disappear. It was like a desert terrain, marked for ever by the craters of missiles and bombs once used to hold up some culture, some ethos.