The View From Here
by Darragh Savage
Out his window is Texas.
Red earth. The location of Houston where he had once owned a percentage of an oil refinery (did he still?). This refinery he had only seen once, from the window of his chauffeured car as he drove past it on his way to somewhere else, a collection of monstrous pipes and scaffold and fences and oil drums, which as it scrolled by looked as if it were on fire because the light as well as the earth is red there.
The location of Dallas where the American president was shot dead. Mikhail had watched the film and it made his neck itch like a wool shirt. He would never ride in open cars.
He had often told people that one of his oldest memories is of his mother and father discussing the assassination of the American President. His mother when she was alive said that this was foolish and impossible, as he had only been three years old and barely even speaking at that, to the degree that they had worried he might perhaps be a little slow or troubled developmentally. He thinks of his mother and eats a meal of grey mash that tastes almost like peas.
Out his window is the Atlantic.
On the dock of an island near Cyprus with blinding white buildings and scenic peasants he had christened a yacht with a bottle of champagne and the name of his second wife, and then presented it to the woman herself with a magician's bow. Two years later they divorced. They had a single daughter whose eyes were a different color than either of their own.
Mikhail had another daughter also, older, but no sons, which he pretended to but did not regret.
He used to put his first daughter on a yellow school bus in New Jersey on cold mornings, in the final years he was poor: Ronald Reagan had just become president and the customers at his gas station would call him Ivan as they bought his gas, which was special because it had the tax removed, making it unusually profitable. The room he is in now is about the size and shape of the interior of one such school bus, perhaps a little smaller.
Out his window is the Russian Federation.