Crows in Fur Coats

I took the metro everyday past Tula and the station, South, from the farthest point within Moscow's transport limits. It's where the Germans stopped in 1942, and where the buses brought in people from the outskirts, and where the old grandmothers sold flowers when the weather felt nice. Forget-me-nots, like tiny blue khokhlomas sitting in bouquets along the street.
I had two stops above ground. I always was first onto the last car, where I took to my corner, watching the commuters make for their seats.
It's a skirmish. And I ready myself against the walls, toes turned inwards, shielded by the poor leather of an artisan's messenger bag and its green canvas interior, and a thermos. Cold coffee.
There's a melee between a round city worker with brown stains on his tie and an absent minded babushka. They're unaware of their colliding course, or perhaps they're daring a retreat. But civility still exists. When they seem close to percussion the man gives way, grasping at the bars to stop his path and play the chevalier. He stands straight and saves face as a gentleman, gesturing towards the empty chair to which she gladly takes. There is no exchange of words, there never is. The Moscow metro line is a taciturn transit, that much I know.
I think that's because of the free WiFi and I soon took to standing for sixty-seven minutes and watching the unusual passengers go about their lives, to mind my own.
I've watched half of a Game of Thrones episode off someone's phone. I knew there was a scene of dishabille coming up, because she paused, looked up, as if thinking upon her actions and pressed play. I've seen cabbages roll down the car, chased by younglings. There has been the riding of scooters along the aisle and the drinking of champagne at the far end and the dancing of a household of three by the window.
Every Saturday, a man would enter the car trying to sell something. I didn't know what it was, but it looked like coupons or lottery tickets or the stamps my sister would sell in seventh grade to fund her field trips. He had a handlebar moustache and a red cap and always counted his money when he got off.
Ksenia told me that people sometimes played music, though I had yet to hear any.
The last time I saw the metro station was at midnight. It was lit green and bright, beckoning forth lost wayfarers. Those pedestrians who still wandered the streets as the mechanical echoes of the rail reverberated through the trees. The sodium lamps ignited the neighborhood in patches of yellow light.

There was a park just beyond with a pond and there were always children. Tatianna complained that all the little ones had up and gone, but they seemed plentiful. They played on the dirt mound, and rode their scooters, and hid in the thrush. I visited this park on my first day in Moscow. That was the day in which we walked to the little cafe, Pekarnya. Croissants and americanos and lattes in footed Irish coffee mugs.
On Fridays, I would sit on the docks that beetled out onto the reservoir. The planks would shake under my feet and bend to my weight. The bows in the lath created shadowy eyes of some marshy nether where the grass twisted and twirled and the ducklings played. There was always an elderly man along the banks. From what I can recall, he wore sunglasses and a white fedora, and played a quiet, fanciful tune on his keyboard.
When it came twilight, the sun set just beyond the cluster of apartment buildings, and the birch tree leaves rustled in the Russian night to the couples by the shore, but they didn't seem to mind.
Weeks before, a storm had made its way over the south of Moscow. I saw the edges of it at Biblioteka Imeni Lenina and saw its wake with the passengers along the metro. When our rail line finally emerged just above the treetops, I saw the somber haze that spoiled the welkin. The rain had already started, and the commuters had pooled into the metro station to watch and wait. I don't know why I didn't.

I remember running through the rain with Volvo.

Days before, I had gotten lost amongst the residences of my neighborhood. Each block apartment seemed to have the same tattered and faded swing sets, pale variegated benches, and yellow brick school buildings. I was in search of church bells.
I went through alleys and side streets, across roads and playgrounds as the eventide rolled in. I passed strollers, and joggers, and stray cats and a 1976 Lada. Bright orange. I stopped to admire the car and wondered what it would be like to drive through the Moscovian suburbs. I had only ever taken the footpath.
I'm convinced my path is the way of the drunkards. Everyday, I always find myself trailing the tottering tracks of another carouser and eyeing their brown bags and morning attire.

My building is a humdrum edifice in scene and sight. There's a magnetic sensor that hangs next to a skeleton key for the front door. There's a green light and I'm unsure of whether to hold the door behind me for oncoming tenement dwellers, or to say "hi" to the man checking the mouse traps, or wait to ride the elevator up by myself.
It's a ghastly thing, the elevator. With one pale, sour colored fluorescent to illuminate the chard painted interior. There is a spray of some yellow fluid along the back wall and a mirror cut into three near the door. The lights would occasionally flicker and the wayward confine would then pause. We'd hesitate and wait, and the rumpus from below would launch the box skyward.
I never saw my neighbors, but I had sufficient evidence of their existence. They have their bicycles leaning against their shelves of shoes and playthings. There is always a perambulator at the end of the corridor and it always seems to be in a different place. I've heard muffled conversations from behind one of the doors at the end of the hall. It always sounds like yelling.
I once saw two girls, aged seven or so, through the judas. They stood waiting outside another's residence, but I don't think they lived within the occupancy. I could hear them from the kitchen. They stayed there for over an hour and were gone when I looked again.

And then there were the crows. I've heard they're called hooded crows, but methinks they wear fur coats. I see them on my walk, roosted beneath the elevated railway, stealing breakfast crumbs from hurried suburbanites. Dima likes to follow them as they walk, careful not to get too close, less they fly away. Tatiana says they're called серая ворона, she doesn't like them very much.
They're everywhere, seemingly attracted to Moscow's transportation system. I see them throughout my walk towards the center. I find them especially at Hunter's Row. They love Lenin's mausoleum, and the fountains at МГУ, and the grouping of trees near Hotel Nikitskaya. I think a few of them even waited in line for the Tretchikoff Gallery, perhaps they're fans of Pushkin, maybe Ivan Aivazovsky, or even the gift shop with the glimmering brooches and the "ladies in crinolines." Perhaps, so.