This is a brief excerpt:
Upon leaving the company of Volga Petrovych, one would always feel as one did when leaving a dog shelter empty-handed. You wanted to feel compassion and provide companionship, be able to save her, but you just couldn’t find the room. She was a 42-year-old, tall and frumpy, hair-dyed-from-a-box blonde whose St. Petersburg accent had not diminished one iota after twenty-four years of living in America.
Words were heavy and dark as motor oil, dripping with anguish from her mouth, all running together in a monotonously rapid prattle falling off her tongue, so much so that the listener caught about half of what she ever said. A lucky thing for most on the receiving end of Volga, as she was a bit of a crisis-monger. She was an oppressively pathos-ridden character best suited for Turgenev. Or Tolstoy. Maybe a Dostoevsky novel, even.
She was terribly suited for the pace of modern-day Americana and certainly way off the beat of the individualistic, narcissistic nature of Los Angeles, California. A portrait artist, Volga lived hand-to-mouth despite her immense talent. Her ultra-sensitive treatment of a fingernail or strand of hair on her subject in a watercolor painting was exquisite, though she was supremely low functioning in the matters of daily life.
. . .
© 2020, Mary Corbin.
Cerulean Blue is from the “The Tenants” collection due for future publication. Featured artwork: “In Part of the Mystery” – painting by Mary Corbin. No reprints without permission.
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