She was sitting on an old wheelchair next to a traffic signal near a large local Moscow market. It was winter. The snow ran down her face bruised by the cold. she trembled slightly from time to time.
Her ragged clothes did not protect her from the onslaught of the particularly rough wind that blew through the trees until they crashed against the windshields.
Her body unable to resist the privations was collapsing when I managed to pass by her side. Her fingers were stiffening inside the old gloves. Her eyes widened in a sad expression of fear and helplessness.
I went to help her. She hugged me while was shaken by violent spasms. Stammered words that I did not understand, while her tears crystallized forming tiny icicles on her sunken cheeks.
I asked for help from those who passed while I held her in my arms. But they only watched. They continued long without changing the indifferent grimace of their tired faces.
Little by little, it calmed down. Meanwhile I caressed her hair that was once reddish. I smiled at her as I spoke to her. I knew she did not understand me yet I tried to comfort her as long as I could.
I had called the emergency room. They delayed arriving.
The weather deteriorated rapidly. I felt my hands cramped by the inclemency of time. The temperature had dropped so much that my body was clogged under the fur coat.
Over the course of the minutes some people had gathered around us. They showed an insane curiosity. None came to offer support.
I pressed it on my heart. A growing tenderness for that helpless being made its way into my being. I joined my tears to her, deploring in the soul the insensitivity of the people around us.
The expression on her face became serene, she smiled. I noticed the ocean of calm that filled her blue eyes. For a moment I thought it was okay but a second later it was gone
The passers-by were still there with a sullen look. Without a hint of feeling in their faces of rare beauty. As without a perpetual winter, he would lodge in their lives, trapping their heart between the ice, the snow and the hooting of the blizzard.
That was the first time I saw Moscow. The golden towers of the churches rose up to the sky. The images of a glorious past had left traces of grandeur in the avenues of bare trees.
I met people who say to be touched by beggars in the streets, with families that have lost their homes. However they have not extended their hand to alleviate the poverty of these pariahs of fate, despite knowing that many of them will not survive the harsh Russian winter.
Generosity is just a myth on the wall. For most of the people I tried everything has its price even friendship or love.
It is as if the city breathed and injected poison to the people who live in it. Beautiful and cold city of white violence of forgotten dawns.
I walked through its avenues. I sat in their parks where only the youngest have fun without the weight of what will happen tomorrow. I returned home sad.
I remembered my city of sun and sea. The warm people who love and fight even though they live hard moments. Although they do not know what will happen to their lives every morning.
I missed the cries of the neighbors inviting the morning coffee from the open balconies. The outstretched hands to make others’ pain their own. Hope in the eyes.
Yes. There are bad people like everywhere. But they are the least. Not like in this proud and virulent city that today welcomes me with proud eyes. That sees me pass like a rest of the breeze laughing at my humanity on the skin. Hoping to change me forever.
From its throne of ice the city exudes bitterness over its own children. They get lost in the vortex of their empty lives. Encased in their unattainable world as machines of bones and blood. Without love, without future.
The snow falls but it does not affect me. Jack Frost has drawn a magical world with snowflakes in my window. He has looked at me with his gray eyes. He smiled while drawing.
The snow falls on my black hair. I wonder. Can they see the god of winter when he glides on the wind with his dresses woven of glass? Everything falls asleep in his wake. But my heart will keep beating under the frost.