Monday, January 12, 2009

Of Children and Peasants – Part IV

Excerpt from “Anna Karenina Comes to America” by Leia Tolstaya*, Millerskaya Ltd., New York, 2009. For earlier installments please click on the keyword phrase “Of Children and Peasants”.

Levina was scrubbing potatoes at the kitchen sink, looking out the window at the family of deer in the woods, when she saw someone. She looked for the orange marks of a hunter. None. Could it be he? She studied his posture as he came closer.

“Grandpapa!” she exclaimed.

Levin was Levina’s great-grandfather several times over, but she simplified it with this tender term. He and his scientific friends had together invented a time machine, and he often paid visits to his heirs to see how they were doing in their own times and places. He had a particular fondness for Levina, his namesake. She was like him in so many ways.

At one point in time (his own, to be exact), he had thought he might find a better time and place in the future in which to bring up his own family. However, he had soon found that each time and place has both its advantages and drawbacks; and God had placed him in his for good reason. He did not see anything amiss in his curiosity, however, and continued to travel as time allowed. Now, he definitely would not have been in Europe for the Plague; but, apart from that, he could not see why a family could not be happy in any particular time.

He had not given up on his book devoted to Russian worker and his relationship to the land. Originally he had been traveling about Europe to prove no one had come up with a system that worked better than his. The time travel experiment had begun as a mission to see if anyone in the future had come up with a workable system. So far, no one had solved the problem. This was greatly pleasing to his ego.

Levina quickly dried her hands, put on a kettle for tea, and opened up the back door as he strutted across the yard and onto her back deck. They embraced and he nonchalantly sat down at the kitchen table, ready for a chat with his great-great-great-granddaughter. (As I have said, they long ago lost track of how many “greats” that was.)

“I have so many things I want to discuss with you,” he said, his mind obviously bursting with thoughts.

“And I have been storing up many questions I have for you,” said Levina, grateful that her little one was sleeping and the older ones in school.

“But the little ones – how I longed to see them!” he said, looking around for signs of young life.

“Oh, they’ll be soon be stomping through the front door – they’ll be so excited to see you – but now we have time to talk alone – so what is on your mind, Grandpapa?”

To be continued…

*Leia Tolstaya is a pen name for Elizabeth K. Miller, and as such her works fall under the same copyright.

1 comment:

Loren Christie said...

You took a creative risk, having Levin drop by, and I like this direction. I think he would actually be your great, great, great grandfather. I think the book was written in 1875 and Levin's character is in his late twenties. Can't wait to read your conversations! Please ask grandpapa to send his brother-in-law and Vronsky to my house so I can punch them out. Personally, I'm grateful for some (not all) aspects of the feminist movement that happened before my lifetime in this country.