Monthly Archives: April 2013

Cranes and wishes

I was heading to visit my mom on a quiet and unusually warm November evening when I first heard and then saw a large V-shaped group of cranes heading towards south. My husband and I were wishing and working on becoming a family of three for the previous six years. I was in the middle of fertility treatment during this time, so I made a wish to become pregnant and to have a baby by the following November.

The whole treatment meant a great physical and emotional rollercoaster for me. Apart from that, it didn’t work and when I heard the next group of cranes in the warm December that year heading towards warmer lands, I started blaming them for not making my wish come true.

There was a possibility to do the whole fertility procedure again and again, but the six years of constant coordination of our intimate life and our life in general towards the wish of our own child has worn me down.

On the day the eggs were taken and on the day of the insemination we could see the other couples in the waiting and recovery rooms doing the same thing, following their dream to have a child. And I was extremely shocked to see a couple who did the treatment several times and who were doing the current one like robots. They were so estranged from each other and appeared so depressed, that I suddenly knew that I didn’t want this to happen to us. I was already feeling reluctance in all that “you must do this and that, otherwise you will not get what you wish” in respect to having a child. I loved my husband and I didn’t want the baby wish to bring us apart. And I somehow felt that we had to stop.

Wishing me and us only the best, my husband supported me in my wish to stop trying in getting me pregnant with medical help. We didn’t exclude to change our minds later, but we decided not to follow the “fertilization path” at least for a while. We decided to take another way to become a family. We decided to apply for adoption.

Adoption is a special topic in my family. My father was an orphan of the World War II and spent all his conscious childhood in orphanages and boarding schools. Shortly after the war, there was a wave of adoptions and along with other children, my father was desperate to be adopted and become a member of a real family. He borrowed newer clothes from other kids to look better and smarter, but he was too skinny and too small and many potential parents were afraid to adopt a weak child during those hard times.

Long after his death, my mother, my sister, my niece and I used to visit orphanages and bring sweets to children there on the anniversaries of my father’s birthday and death.

So, adoption for us was meant not only to give us a family but to bring a child and us, both needing it badly, together and give us all a gift of a family. My husband and I craved for two things: to see and to witness a child growing and to give to him or her all the knowledge and love and humanity that were given to us by our families, friends and role models.

Before going for adoption, we went for a two-week vacation on La Palma, a Canary Island, where six years earlier we spent our honeymoon. We had an absolutely great and recharging time. And we were to find out later how good this time and place was for and to us.

We came back home, and just before getting the latest versions of the forms for applying for adoption I felt strangely sick. Strangely because I had suddenly aversion against my favorite drink and one of my favorite meals of all time: coffee and chicken. So without actually believing in a positive outcome I made a pregnancy test. I came with a shocked expression on my face out of our bathroom. My husband, Michael, who bought the test for me, has misinterpreted it as disappointment, which happened many times before, and said with sympathy and warmth in his eyes: “It’s negative, isn’t it?”

“No, it’s positive”, I whispered incredulously. I threw the test away, but ran to the bin several times to check whether it was really positive. I even took a picture of it and asked Michael whether he has also seen it as being positive. I think Michael was the first of us two to realize that this was really happening. Even though I called our families and reported the good news, I was still somehow afraid that this was just a dream.

Nine months later, in November, sitting in our living room and rocking my few-weeks old son into sleep I heard the cranes again. In that moment, I remembered how a year before I have been angry with them and sworn not to make wishes anymore, should I hear them again. Of course, none of this was serious and I can prove neither the working nor the nonsense of such wishes and beliefs. But I still felt somehow guilty, because my wish to have my baby until November in that year did come true exactly as I have wished it. I apologized to all crane groups I happened to see or hear that year. I thanked them from all my heart for making my biggest wish come true.

An afterward by the author:

This story triggered me researching a bit about cranes, and it looks like that they are indeed migrating from Russia, Finland and other Scandinavian countries to warmer places in November and sometimes even stay longer or over winter in some regions. I found the following page very interesting:

On superstitions

I was born and grew up in a country full of superstitions. Almost every aspect of life is featured by a superstition. You could say it is a tradition to follow all kinds of superstitions in Moldova. Earlier I thought these were the rules you had to follow. Now I rather think that they show the sense of humor of the nation or the person they were invented by. The crazier the superstition sounds the funnier and the more intelligent the inventor is; especially because he or she knows that there will be at least one soul following it.

Here are some examples of superstitions we used to adhere to in my family:

“Don’t put knives with sharp edge up; otherwise you will have trouble or argument with your boss.”

“Don’t give things to another person, and especially don’t kiss another person, over a doorsill, otherwise you will have a bad and maybe even irreparable fight with that person.”

Or the international one is also cared for in my motherland: a cat cutting your way. Once going to school many years ago I watched a colonel, I knew was living in the block of flats next to ours, spitting over his left shoulder after he saw a cat – not being black,  by the way – cross the road in front of him. The spitting was supposedly protecting you from trouble or bad day that you could get because of this cat.

While the “cat-caused” superstition might seem quite irrational, there is certain logic to many superstitions practices in the culture I grew in, and in my family in particular. For example,  the one with knives makes sense, since if a knife is stored with it sharp edge up, then you might injure yourself while taking it out. As consequence you hurt yourself and you cannot work as good as you did before the accident. And because of this, your boss might be angry because you are not doing your job as you were supposed to. Well, I agree, today bosses have more understanding than in old days, but still …

Also the one with kissing or giving things over a threshold makes or rather made sense to me. I guess in ancient times the authors of this wisdom thought of a doorsill symbolizing a line separating two humans and that you had to step over this line in order to interact with the person you meant to. On the other hand thinking of today, it is always a sign of being in a hurry when you give something or kiss someone over a doorsill. And when you are in a hurry, you are not paying enough attention to the person you interact with in the current moment. And when being neglected, people do tend to get angry. From here you can easily see how this can lead to a fight.

Ok, ok, I agree with you and confess that it does not have to happen and I can see that you might have given a lot of things over a doorsill without getting into a fight. But I adhered fiercely to this for a long time. And the solution to this is that you step on the doorsill before giving something over it. By this, you are almost in the same room with the person you interact. So, my husband, my friends or anyone leaving after a visit and saying “Oh sorry, I forgot that one thing lying over there. Could you throw it to me, please?” were not getting this thing right away but had to wait until I reached the threshold and put my foot onto it. Otherwise, they wouldn’t get this d… thing. Today, I don’t follow this superstition anymore, but I notice every time when I give something over a doorsill. I guess this is my spell.

My grandmother is told to have invented some superstitions of her own. I know of at least one invented by her. She died when I was two and a half years old, so all I know of her comes from stories about her. And these do sound fascinating. I am really proud of being told that I resemble her a little. So here is the superstition invented by her. In order to make her children, my mother and my uncle, to help her cleaning around the house, she claimed that you had to wipe the kitchen table with a wet cloth as many times as high the school grade you wished to get on that day or for that test or exam. Now, before you start thinking whether this is logical or not, depending what country you come from and what grade system you might have grown up with (in case one is the best, then the whole thing does not make sense, I agree) I must say that the highest grade in Soviet Union, where my parents, my sister and I went to school, was five and the worst was one. So, before each test or exam, having inherited this tradition from my mother, I was wiping our kitchen table five times after breakfast and before going to school. I did the same when I was going later to the University.

I was seriously appalled when, after Republic of Moldova proclaimed itself as independent, which I greeted very much, the Moldovan Government has changed the grade system from “five-to-one” to “ten” being the best and “one” for the worst. TEN! After counseling my mother, I found out that I didn’t have a choice: if I wanted to get a “ten” then I had to clean the table TEN times before each exam. And even when my mom told me that her advice was a joke and revealed that this superstition was invented by her own mother, and even the fact that this whole grading system change happened when I was in my late teens going to the University, this still didn’t convince me to stop wiping the kitchen table ten times before each exam. And please note that the superstition dictated that you had to rinse the cloth between each wiping! Fortunately for me and unfortunately for the table (or vice versa, I don’t know), I grew tired of this wiping after some time and for my graduation exams I wiped the table just once, but thoroughly and I insisted that I do it. I was still afraid that I could get a bad grade if I didn’t wipe it at all.

And then there are superstitions or beliefs supposing that when you witness something and make a wish while witnessing this something, then your wish comes true. Like a falling star, seeing a bride and a groom in their wedding robes or watching cranes heading to warmer countries in fall or coming back in spring. The latter one has definitely worked for the most special wish in my life. But more about it in another story.

A love trap

A short story; fiction

“Don’t look too deep into those angel eyes”. She knew this ABBA song very well and she agreed with this statement. But she still did it. She looked much too deep into … a married man’s eyes. Into a happily married man’s eyes.

Could a happily married man be classified as an angel? She definitely thought that of him back then. And not only because of his very blue eyes. And in spite of his black mustache not matching his hair.

It happened at a conference. She was alone there, representing her department. And she was bored walking alone around the exhibition hall during a break between the sessions. She saw some interestingly looking diagrams and put some stupid, as it came out, questions to the man at the booth. They both chuckled at her questions, especially as she realized that the answer was written in big letters above the diagrams.

A small talk ignited. Then they happened to sit side by side at lunch. And when another exhibitor suggested driving those to their hotels who hadn’t had a car with them, she found herself sitting with the blue-eyed mustached angel in the same car. They discussed the importance of years spent in research for the quality of the research. He said something. She turned to face him to say that she totally agreed and looked him in the eye. But longer than she should have done. Much, much longer than it would have been safe. For the whole nanosecond longer. Long enough for her heart to make a leap.

It would probably not be that important if he wouldn’t have been trapped by her eyes. They were dangerously green and much too big to escape them.

Unbeknownst to them they started saying everything that could interest the other. They were so genuinely interested in each other, that they didn’t quite noticed how they were getting their hearts entangled in one another.

He told her about his wonderful wife and his five children. She told him where she came from and about her family.

They agreed to meet for breakfast next day in her hotel.

In the morning, she put on her best clothes she had with her and she was almost ten minutes too early when she stepped into the elevator that headed down. She was so pleasantly excited and couldn’t wait to see him. She was picturing him happily smiling at her.

And then she heard a voice. A voice in hear head. “What on earth are you doing? He is married! He has five children! Five! He definitely sounds like a happily married man! And now you meet him alone for breakfast! Why don’t you have breakfast at the conference premises as on the other days? Is it a date? Is it?!”

But it was too late. The elevator’s door opened and there he was. Also too early. Also with a troubled face and pacing there and back in front of the elevator and stopping to look at her as soon as she looked at him.

They went into the breakfast room without exchanging as little as a “hello”.

After having their meals set in front of them and after a few timid sips and bites, he started the heavy talk:

“I talked to my wife yesterday on the phone and told her about my day and about you. I should have sounded quite excited about you because after a while she said: ‘Be careful, you sound like someone falling in love’.” After a little pause, he added: “She is right; you’ve ignited a sparkle of a feeling similar to one when I first started dating my wife.”

She couldn’t say anything. She was shocked. She was overwhelmed. And she was a tiny bit happy. No. She was very happy to have fallen for a man who has fallen for her.

But she shouldn’t have. She knew it. As in confirmation of her thoughts he said: “I love my wife and I will never leave her and my children. You should know that. But after that look yesterday I feel that if we part, then I will betray you.”

She could not look at him. She felt as someone accused of causing irreparable injury. And she knew that she was both innocent and guilty.

Then he said: “Let’s skip the conference today and go into the city”. She nodded. They had a pizza together, chatted away avoiding mentioning in any way him not being free. They held hands.

And then they came back to her hotel. He stepped into the elevator with her and accompanied her to her room. She didn’t stop him when he entered the room. She didn’t stop him when he kissed her. It was a bitter-sweet kiss. And before he said it she knew the exact words: “I want you so much! If you want it, I will sleep with you. This one time.”

But before they were destroyed by this fire, a helpful hand in form of her own voice came and saved them both: “No. That must never happen. Please, go.”

He kissed her again, more gently this time and by that more painfully so. He looked the last time into her eyes and left.

It was still quite early in the afternoon. So she pulled the curtains closed, set on her bed, hugged a pillow, tasted her own lips and remembered the touch of his tongue on hers.

And then she cried for many hours until she has fallen asleep. But it was not a heavy sleep as she expected. In the morning she knew that she has barely escaped a dangerous trap.

Thank you for bringing me there!

A short novel


She looked at her watch.

“I’ll order a taxi today”, she thought. “It’s a special day today and we deserve a little luxury, don’t we?” She smiled at the thought of what was going to happen later that day.

She ordered a taxi right away, even though it meant that she would be there much earlier than if she would have taken a bus instead, which would still be on time. She wanted to be sure to be there early.

“Are you sure you want to go there by taxi?” asked the taxi-service operator when hearing her where she was heading to. “It will be quite expensive”.

“I know”, she said smiling. “But today it feels right.”

“Ok, if you are sure”, said the operator with an unsure tone in her voice. “The taxi will pick you up in five to ten minutes”.


“Hi”, she said to the taxi driver. “I would like to go to the hospital in D.”

He looked at her strangely and nodded without saying a word. It looked like he already knew the destination.

She asked if she could pay with her debit card. The answer was a grim “yes”. She gave him her card for scanning and decided not to start a small talk today. Sometimes the taxi drivers were curious in a little conversation with her, but sometimes they weren’t and she decided this time to follow an advice from a good old friend: “There are times when it is better to keep your joys to yourself and enjoy them alone. Because by sharing it with others you might put salt on a deep wound unknown to you”.

Something told her that this taxi driver had a bad day, or a month, or a year. Not life though, because she believed that the whole life cannot be filled with only bad moments. There is always a glimpse of light or smile or happiness at some and mostly unexpected moments.

So she took a book out of her handbag and started to read.


When the car stopped, she released her seat belt, put her book into her bag and raised her head to look at the driver from whom she expected to get the bill for signing.

Only then she noticed that something was wrong.

“But this is not the hospital”, she said unsure what she felt.

“No”, said the taxi driver looking at her with mad eyes in the rearview mirror.

He opened his door and suddenly jumped to her side of the car. Then he opened the car door, grabbed her by her legs and pulled strongly and without mercy, so that she slid with her back on the sit and banged her head on its leather cover.

The sun was shining brightly, as though someone intentionally lit light to film this terrible scene. Nothing could be heard except heavy breathing of the man in this empty piece of landscape.

“First, you will pay for what you’ve done, and after that they can heal you at your hospital”, he growled.

“But what have I done?” she gasped while trying to get her legs free and to find a grip on the smooth leather seats of the taxi.

“You took my boy and yourself away from me!” he shouted and got a better hold of her by putting his hands on her thighs dressed in black jeans.

“No!” she cried out loud without quite understanding what he said. “I was going to get my babies into my belly!”


His incredulous look gave her a second to take a small gulp of air and continue. “I was going to the fertility clinic to get two embryos implanted into me today.” She felt his grip loosen a bit, so that she could rise a bit and hold up on her elbows to face him. “My husband and I are trying to get a child since more than five years”, she pleaded, “and since I am over thirty-six, I can get two embryos implanted at once.  Three of the five eggs got fertilized, and I can get two of the embryos implanted today. The other one will be frozen and implanted later if it won’t work this time.” She was talking fast and wasn’t sure if what she was saying could help her or not.

He let her go and said: “Get back into the car. I’ll bring you to the hospital.”

She got herself clumsily and trembling back onto her seat, and put on her seat belt while the driver got back to his seat behind the wheel. They drove without a word for a few minutes.

“I’ll bring you there”, he said, “but if you’ll tell anyone of what happened, I’ll kill you.”

“I know”, she said with anger growing inside her. “And if you don’t bring me there, I’ll kill you!”

Their eyes met in the rearview mirror and for a brief moment it seemed that they would burst into laughter. But then awkward silence between them returned.


They arrived at the hospital. “Still in time”, she thought looking at the taxi’s clock. “What a strange thought to come in such a moment.”

“Go,” he said, interrupting her from her displaced thoughts. “You don’t have to pay,” and after a pause he added “after what happened.”

“I want to”, she said looking openly in his sad eyes in the mirror. It was strange, but what she felt, was gratitude. Not fear. She was appalled by that, but did not want to fight this feeling after all. “Thank you for bringing me here“, she said after paying and opening the door.

“Good luck”, he said and turned away from her, but she didn’t fail to notice tears in his eyes ready to start running down his face.


A week has passed. There was a knock on the door. “The postman didn’t find the doorbell again”, she thought expecting to find a postman behind the door standing and waiting impatiently with one of the many packages with Christmas presents she recently ordered.

But it wasn’t a postman. I was the taxi driver from the last week. Again this strange unsure feeling overran her. What was that: shock, fear, anger? She was not sure. And still this time everything was different. She was at home and as they say where she grew up: “Even walls can help you at home!”

Also the taxi driver was different today. He was blushing and looked at his shoes like a boy who brought a bad grade from school.

“Did it work?” he asked with a shaky voice without saying hello.

“It went well”, she answered understanding immediately what he meant. “But it’s too early for the results. First in a week or two.”

He nodded blushing even more, realizing how stupid it was to come. He turned to go, but then he turned back and blurted suddenly: “I am not a rapist, you know. I’ve never done or thought of doing something like this, ever in my life. But when I saw you last week, I was shocked. You resemble my wife so much. … My late wife, that is”, he corrected himself. “Even gestures are the same. The way you said so little at the beginning, and the way you read your book without noticing the bumpy road. You even dress the same sporty style. The hair is a bit different. But it looked like she escaped and moved further leaving me with nothing.”

He sighed and continued: “She killed my son and then herself. They said she was mentally ill. But she never behaved like that before this happened.” He drew a deep breath, “When I saw and watched you in the mirror while driving, I started seeing her, not you. I got totally mad, absolutely insane.” His face changed expression from bitter to sad and warm. “But then you told me your story … and it was so totally unlike her. You were trying to get a baby, while she killed our child… He was only nine.”

“What was his name?” she now asked shaken but somehow not surprised by the story after all that happened.

“David”, he answered. “He was supposed to grow strong and happy and help and protect others. But his life was stolen from him by the very person who gave him birth.”

“This was so unfair”, he added.

She nodded, thinking he meant the destiny of his child.

“No”, he said, “this was so unfair to you. To take revenge on you for what she has done. Or to try to take revenge. You’re so different … in the end”, he finished smiling awkwardly.

“Your wife had also had other, different sides of her person of which she didn’t know herself” she said and added hastily “probably”, fearing that she again made a conclusion on something or someone without being asked.

“Probably”, he nodded feeling grateful for the warmth that was coming from this stranger who appeared being at the same time so familiar and who seemed not to hate him for what he’s done.

“Forget of what I said, that you shouldn’t tell anyone of last week. You can go to the police and tell them of all. I’ll confirm. Or maybe I should go myself”, he concluded.

“Please, don’t”, she started to reach for his arm but then withdrew. “Don’t”, she repeated, “nothing really happened. Except maybe that you reminded me how fragile and precious the life is, how fragile and precious we are, how fragile and precious humanity is and that what really matters is infinite and unconditional love.”

He looked at her with big eyes full of wonder and full of tears, but this time, happy tears.

“Would you like to come in?” she smiled at him warmly.

“No, thank you. I’d better be going. Thank you for all you said.”

“Wait”, this time she put her hand on his arm. “Please, give me your mobile number. I will let you know, if it worked.”

He nodded, waited until she returned with a pen and a piece of paper, and scribbled his number without writing his name.

“Good luck”, he said as he did a week ago. But this time he could feel a small glimpse of joy in his chest that was full of heavy clouds with sorrow up to this very day.

“Thank you!” she said and smiled again and watched him descending the stairs of the house she lived in.


“Beep!” a text message from a number he never saw before: “It worked. Thank you, for bringing me there safely.”


Almost a year later, he was driving a young woman to the same hospital as the one where he brought her one year ago. This woman was different, but he couldn’t help thinking of this unusual but familiar stranger. It was all so long time ago, but yet so close.

A sudden “beep” of a text message drew his gaze to display of his mobile. He only had one message from her up till now and never saved her number, but he immediately knew it was her.

He looked in the mirror at his passenger. “Excuse me, are you in hurry? Do you mind if I stop for a moment?” He paused awkwardly and then added: “I mean… I got a message from a close friend, from whom I haven’t heard for a while.” He lingered after hearing himself saying that. Yes, she was his closest friend, although still a stranger of whom he knew only her and her husband’s initials and last name engraved on a small shield on her door. She saw, understood and forgiven him something that he himself couldn’t understand or forgive.

“Sure, no problem”, the young woman in the passenger seat behind him interrupted his thoughts. “I have a lot of time. I’ve ordered the taxi quite early to have enough time in case of traffic jams”.

While he was parking in the nearest parking lot he found on their way, a second text message from her arrived. A long message. With trembling hands and full of anticipation he read: “David came first. Amie, his twin sister, came less than half an hour later. Both are doing well. David was 3.5 kg strong when he was born. Amie won’t sleep without David at her side, and he is always happy when we put her in their bed near him. Thank you for bringing me there!”

He reread the message several times and answered simply: “Thank you!”

“Good news?”, again an interruption from his current passenger. But he didn’t mind. “Yes, the best!” he answered smiling brightly and putting his mobile in its holder.


“She refuses to raise a claim on you”, the young inspector looked at him curiously. “She says nothing happened, except that you brought her safely to the clinic. And why do you come now, one year after this has supposedly happened?”

“I don’t know, maybe because I was waiting for good news”, he said not knowing what to think. He came to police to confess, but they refused to blame him without a victim, as they have put it.

“I heard what happened to your family. Many would break in your place. You stopped before the worst could happen”, inspector said calmly looking openly into his eyes.

“But only because she told me her story. Otherwise, I don’t know what could have happened”, he tried to insist.

“You’ve been given the second chance, so take it!” said the inspector with some persistence.

He had to leave. There was not much further to say.

“We’ll keep an eye on you. So, be careful not to do anything stupid!” said the inspector cheerfully.

“Thank you!” he said with endless gratitude for so much human generosity. The inspector shook his head in disbelief, smiling.


The first person, to whom he told about his sin, was, besides the police inspector, a barman. There was no catholic church around within the next several hundred kilometers. And he wasn’t a great churchgoer anyway. He did happen to talk to God, Supreme Being, Angel, the Mother Nature, Universe or whatever he or she or it was behind all the beauty and craziness of life. But what he needed was an unbiased person. And this young and pleasant man had something very comforting about him, in addition to the fact that the two of them were alone in this bar at such an early hour. He recalled reading somewhere that good barristers could make good priests because you can always tell them your story and trust that they’ll keep it to themselves.

He asked for a cup of tea. He decided he’ll get himself a drink after the story is told. “Do you mind me telling you my story?” he wanted a double check.

“Not at all”, said the young man getting a coffee for himself and taking a bar stool to face him. This bartender was indeed going to pay him his full attention.

He cleared his throat and started with a quiet voice and his face lit with a happy smile as he got to the end of his first sentence: “One year ago, I almost raped a woman, but what followed turned to be the biggest blessing and gave me inner peace for the first time after my son died.”

Afterword by the author:

This is my very first piece of fiction, if my school essays are not taken into account. I have written it almost four years ago on a bus trip to the fertility clinic. Before taking the bus I had an idea to take a taxi to the clinic and this story has started taking shape in my head. So I was looking forward to the bus trip in order to have enough time to put it into words. I finished it in the bus on my way back home on that day. Differently from the heroine, the fertilization procedure didn’t work for my husband and me. But what followed shortly after was even better. About three months later I became pregnant and have a sweet two and a half years old son now. But this is another story which will be posted soon.

Are you lost, kid? Your parents are over there

This happened on the way from Clearwater Beach to Tampa Airport while being on the way home after an international conference. Ian and Mildred, an English-Irish couple, offered to take me with them from the conference hotel to the airport since our flights were almost at the same time. We started early from Clearwater Beach, in the car they rented for their stay, so that we had some time to spend in one of the big malls in Tampa. We watched some skaters skating gracefully with music and later decided to go and do some shopping. But we thought that we were looking for different things, so we decided to split and meet later at some point. Mildred and Ian went in the direction they’ve chosen and I wondered about thinking where I should go next. I must have looked quite lost because a shop assistant approached me and said: “If you are looking for your parents, they are over there”, pointing towards Mildred and Ian. We all three loved this very much and didn’t separate anymore until we said our goodbyes at the airport. Since that day Ian and Mildred are my surrogate parents and our friendship received a special and sweet parents-daughter flavor to it.