“A man without a woman
Is like an engine without steam
Valves missing from a clarinet
Or a pistol you can’t aim...”
The young Kolya stopped as her mom started shouting at his father Ivan. “Stop that nonsense, what foolishness you try to teach your son Vanya!” Kolya turned to run but not before he caught that befuddled sheepish look in his father’s eyes as his wife bore down on him.
Kolya didn’t care, he hated his father. Emblazoned on his memory like a hot iron were all those times his father had pulled down his pants and whipped him like a common animal, until he, bleeding and screaming had run out behind the house pulling his hands up and weeping in the smallest corner he could find.
It was there deep in those incandescent corners, where he discovered the colonies of larva. It was there that he became infatuated with the dark crawling motions of the lowliest worm and caterpillar. From the earth he looked to the sky, and his infatuation grew daily. He read book after book on birds and biology. And even though his parents were both school teachers, in his own haughty words, “he learned to read virtually by himself.” And perhaps it was among those quiet animals that he learned to control his hate. Perhaps if he had pursued this course of study longer, the Soviets would have had a different master of biology than Lysenko.
But regardless, when he ran outside that day, he didn’t cry. Sorrow had been replaced in his heart. What was left was hate.