Sure, it would be cloudy and raining today wouldn't it, when I have stuff to do. I head down the city block looking toward the sky pass the sky scrappers. I wear a long black trench coat and black
sunglasses to hide my eyes in addition to wearing a glove over my right hand. In this city of Moscow I can't believe that I'm going to see them again, after all this time. We were going to have
this little get together at new york but it's all the way overseas in America which is a little while away, so this will have to do, I don't really care where we meet, I just look forward to seeing
them again. I got the letter in the mail a few days ago and I can't get the words out of my mind, basically they said they were coming today. Your probably wondering who 'they' are, aren't you.
Well, they're my family, the group who took me in. It's a bit of a story but here goes.
A little over fifty years ago I just woke up one day, opened my eyes and looked to the sky. The sky was bright red and had lots of burning rocks raining down. I must had been in my late teens or early twenties, can't remember, in fact I had no memory whatsoever.
A few days after running around I was sitting in an alleyway with a towel wrapped around me. As I sat there I looked up and saw this Roma girl in her teens with long dark hair down to her lower back, wearing a long red bohemian looking skirt and pale colored top. She wore dangling earrings and a pendant around her neck. She was holding a bag of groceries looking down on me saying how sad I looked. She asked me if I wanted something to eat and at the time I just shook my head yes. Before I got up I looked into her eyes and saw that they were dark in color, but comforting to look into, very comforting.
She then took me back with her to her home, which was actually a traveling caravan. All the people there, who were of the Roma people, saw me and initially didn't trust me, actually scolded the girl for bringing me back as I was a stranger. The girl's mother said that her daughter did a good thing by wanting to help someone in need. The girl's mother helped me take a bath. I got cleaned up and lived with her family for a while. It took a little while but the family eventually warmed up to me and accepted me. Soon the whole caravan grew to see me as one of their own. One day, the girl asked me what my name was but I couldn't answer. She decided to give me a name, christening me 'Staff', which I accepted, (don't ask, she just thought of it real quick but I liked it).
The girl, her name is 'Ria'. Pretty much she and her family, a younger sister, her parents and her aunt and uncle along with a few cousins both boys and girls, were traveling performers, singer and musicians. As I traveled with them I watched both from the crowd and backstage their performances. I was pretty captivated by Ria's voice, I've never heard anyone sing before but I just could tell normal people don't have voices like this. It wasn't always peaceful however as there were Roma haters/racist who wanted all the Roma people to leave. I remember we went to restaurants and there were people who made us get out, screaming at us to leave, throwing stuff at Ria's dad, just terrible. This kind of stuff happened quite often really, more often then it should had. I didn't understand why other people hated them, then again, who really does.
One night a group of haters eventually found the caravan we traveled in, the whole caravan and not just Ria's family. I was out going through a nearby forest down below a hilly area as I like to walk about at night. I was going to pick a special type of mushroom that Ria's mother was going to add in a soup we'd have for tomorrow. While I was out, the mod of haters captured Ria and many of her family members. I was far away but I could still hear the screams, I went to investigate quickly navigating toward some tall hills that overlooked a town I heard the noises come from. From a distance I looked onto a town where they took Ria and the others. They tied Ria to a pole in the center of town and were saying all kinds of mess like "all gypsies are bad, they steal and create hexes, we need to get rid of them all for they are witches", and all this other mess. I remember feeling helpless as I stood there watching, it's not like I could just go down there and save her. A few men appeared with spear and Ria was begging for her life and for that of her family. So tell me, do you think they let her go, what do you think? People will be people, what they do not understand they hate it. They took two spears and stabbed her on each of her sides, near her stomach and close to her liver. I could feel my eyes widen as I saw her lean her head down, tears dripping from her eyes. Her family screamed out her name, her mother wept. I couldn't watch anymore. I took off into the woods as fast as I could. I could still hear the voices of her family call out for her. with that sight stuck in my mind.
I spent three years afterwards living by myself, going to towns I came across stealing food to eat. I eventually tracked down Ria's killers and in a blind rage I attacked them. They struck me down, shot me in my chest, my right arm taking it off and right in the face. For awhile I guess I sort of died. They tossed me over a waterfall we happened to be over and I think I sunk to the bottom (though I was unconscious, I could still sense it, don't ask me how). I can't really explain how I came back to life, all I know is I heard 'it's' voice call out from the darkness, course what 'it' is, will have to wait till another day for me to tell you. Anyway I came back, finding that my arm is now reattached. I found the people who murdered me, who were still near the waterfall and murdered them, the same people who caused Ria that pain. Not long afterwards I noticed that my skin is now pale and my eyes are yellow. There's also these weird markings all over my right arm that goes from the hand to my right bicep, like ancient writings of sorts, like Egyptian/Mayan looking things all over. I just thought "whatever", as I continued onward afterwards. I also felt a lot stronger, don't want to go into too much detail but let's just say I could do things I couldn't do before. In addition I seem to be immortal now, it's been over fifty years and I'm probably in my seventies but I look like and feel like I'm still in my early twenties.
Over time, I befriended other Roma families and groups and I have been working to bring them together. With my new found strength after my...(ahem) 'rebirth', I take down anyone who brings any kind of disrespect or harm to them. I eventually learned that Ria's younger sister, Angie, survived that night. It wasn't until after years later when she became an adult that I was finally able to meet her again. She recognized and hated me, slapped me across my face and blamed me for Ria's death. Think after all this time she wanted to blame someone for her death and really she was mad at me for running out on Ria that night, so I don't blame Angie. I deserved any resentment she has towards me. She eventually meet other Roma families and assimilated to them. She even became one of the gypsy queens.
Now let me explain how that works, you see the gypsy queens are similar to an actual ruling monarch queen. They are the grand matriarchs of the Roma families and groups as they make the big decisions and allows outsiders to come and go through their communities, though outsiders have to get permission from the queens. The gypsy queens are more like female elders of a village, course the queens can be young and they are elected by the community. Those who are considered strong women and make good decisions and are highly respected by the community are elected. Now there are gypsy kings in some communities as well who actually have more authority than the queens, but the queens stand out more.
It took some time but eventually Angie came to realize that at the time there was nothing I could do for Ria and came to trust me again. I also find that Angie has a daughter in her late teens named Rada. When I first saw her I though for sure it was Ria. Anyway, I spoke with her for awhile and she came to like me more then Angie, similar to Ria. We spend time together, speaking of good times I use to have with her late aunt and I listen to what she has to say. She tells me "you know I'd like to be a singer as well. Mother said that my aunt use to love singing. Lately I do sing in places that we visit but I'd like to do more with it". "Good", I responded, "you can become a great singer if you stick to it. Don't let bad things hold you back now".
Enough of the flashbacks, I head down the street, banking a curve going downward where the road goes down a hill. There's a club of sorts that one of the families rented out temporarily. I head there and go inside. There are red glowing lights around creating a surreal atmosphere, which I like. 'Hey', I think to myself, 'there they are, well some of them anyways, they're inside waiting on me'.
"Hey, hey now", an older gentleman calls out. This is Nickolas, Angie's husband, the gypsy king of this community if you may, though he doesn't like to be called that. He's either in his late fifties or sixties, I can't keep track. I greet him and the rest of the family members. Me and Nickolas sit down for a second and we share cigars reflecting on good times. "So where's Angie", I ask him. "Oh, she's in back", he responds. "Alright I'm going to go see her", I say to Nickolas, "I'll be back in a few". So I get up and head off to the back room.
So I go back and pass a curtain blocking the doorway. Pushing it aside I find Angie sitting in a large soft chair with Rada siting on a carpet on the floor curled up. The two were apparently talking before I walked in. "Hey", I greet them. "Hey, it's Staff", Rada responds, "hi Staff". "How ya doing Rada", I say to her. "Pretty good", she responds, "how are you doing, what are you up to these days". "Just...some business, ya know", I respond. Rada sees that me and Angie want to be alone, "I'll step out for a little while". "Alright, speak to you in a few", I tell her as she stands up and heads out the door. Now it's just me and Angie.
"How are you", I ask her noticing her pale sad face.
"So...you still doing dangerous things",
"Well...work has to be done",
"You remember Malenkaya, don't you",
I gasp in shock and freeze, "of course I remember her".
Let me say this real quick, Malenkaya is a special little girl. She is related to Angie's family but I'm not sure how, she may be a grandniece or distant cousin. Anyway, I meet this little girl three years ago when she was a toddler and I fell in love with her, sort of saw her like a little daughter or little sister. Such a pretty young child, long brown hair. When I meet her she was wearing the cutest outfit, a long red bohemian type skirt and red wrap around top and long beaded necklaces and decorated head bands across her forehead. She dances with her family on stage when they have performances, they participate in parades and festivals. Now she has an older sister named Carla who I also get along well with. When ever they perform I still like to sit back stage and watch them, or on a support beam on the ceiling, so no one can bother the hell out of me so I can enjoy watching them in peace. But that little girl, she's one of the few people who doesn't think I'm a monstrosity, well the other Roma groups accept me as family now but she in particular accepted me at first glance. Once she kissed me on the cheek and she gives me flowers she picks and boxes with special stuff inside (I had to agree that I wouldn't say what's in it to anyone, so I can't tell you what she gave me). I also like to listen to her about how she plays and has fun which I find entertaining.
"Yeah, I remember little Malenkaya", I say to Angie, "is she coming",
"No, not this time, neither is Carla. The family had business to take care of so they couldn't come",
"Oh, I see...alright",
"I know, I know you and her have developed a close friendship",
"Yeah, I was looking forward to seeing that child again",
"I know. I was going to make arrangements for her and Carla to come but the family declined and wanted them both to stay. I believe they have performances to do",
"Yeah, busy schedule and all",
"Well maybe next time", I reach into my pocket and pull out a round music box, "could you give this to her, next time you see her", as I had it to Angie.
"Of course, a present you had for her",
"Yes, I wanted to give it to her in person",
"Mm, that's sweet of you. You know she's been asking about you",
"...hey, on a different note how has the families been doing",
"Same old mess, new era but still people give us a hard time",
"More things change the more they stay the same eh. I noticed that as well. Don't let haters get you down I guess",
"I understand, for [she] taught us that didn't' she",
"Yes, forgive me but I haven't been to her grave lately. I know what your thinking, but I've been busy lately",
"You really need to visit all of us more often. Our family as well and her grave regardless of your work",
"I know...I will do that more, you have my word",
"Staff...whatever you do, just be careful alright",
"Yes, I will", I begin to head for the door, "I'm go see what the others are doing",
"I will be there shortly, just need a moment", Angie then curls up as she sits on the bed.
"About Malenkaya. In addition, next time you see her, tell her...Staff says...Hi",
"Yes, of course",
I head back out and rejoin the others to find that they are in the ballroom-like floor singing together. Something I forgot to mention earlier, Angie has other kids as well, a son and another daughter as well. They are both older then Rada. They, with Rada and Nickolas are singing together along with Rada's uncle, Nickolas's brother. They are singing a sad sounding song but it's a bright and happy one at the same time (I CAN'T DESCRIBE IT ALRIGHT, IT JUST SOUNDS THAT WAY, here listen to some romani music sometime and you'll know what I'm talking about). So I sit to a table to myself watching them sing together. Rada really stands out. There's lots of food at this get together, though I don't need to eat food anymore, so I just neglect it. I hear the music all around, I see the children playing inside, people talking, playing cards, enjoying the gathering. All in all, I have never felt more comfortable anywhere then in this place.
Alright, so it's getting late in the evening and everyone seems to be having a good time. I feel myself make a smirk. I decide to head off departing for now. I get up and head for the door. As I make it there I stopped when I hear a voice, "wait!" it calls out. I turn around to see Rada coming up from behind. "Hey, what's up", I ask. "Where are you going", she ask. "It's about time I head off", I say to her, "I kinda feel like I'm in the way right now as everyone seems to be having a good time and I don't want to be the elephant in the room. Besides, this is a family thing anyway". "What are you talking about Staff, you are family", she says softly. "Thanks Rada", I say to her. I look behind her to see everyone else coming to me as well with a smile. "Hey Staff", Nickolas calls out from behind, "stick around, we have more to celebration. We want you here". Everyone else smiles and shakes their heads. I even see Angie who's come from the back. As I don't have much else to do right now anyways I slowly take a few steps back. I don't get many good moments like this as often as I'd like, spending time with my family like this so I better enjoy it as much as possible hu. With a smile I say in a low tone, "well, maybe a few more minutes".
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