The cards were much more than flat carton things between my fingers; they were gateways. Possibilities. Russian words didn't stand out, were not music, just everyday gray, the surface of the river in September; Russian words were the kind of sky you walk under, unknowing. But the new words, the ones my grandfather gave me, they were made of real sound they made my lips come together, bunch up and blow the air out in strange new ways. "Repeat after me," my grandfather said, holding up the card the color of sharp Siberian sky in the summer, "repeat after me," he said, the naming card, and I did, I still do the sound a gift back to the world, from my brand new throat, "blue."
Katia Raina emigrated from the former Soviet Union in 1993 at the age of 15. Her fiction and non-fiction appeared in Faces, Calliope, Skipping Stones and other publications for young readers. She is a former award-winning newspaper journalist and currently an intern with a literary agency, with plans to continue her career on the other side of the publishing desk as well.
- Girl in the Window