Rain. Do you ever just listen to its clandestine canter? Most of us probably think of rain as a bad thing. Something that ruins festivals and parties, makes you stay inside and change your plans. But there’s something calming about that soft pitter-patter. There’s something hopeful in its touch. Rain carries the promise of change. The promise that the old will be washed away or even just renewed. There’s something about it that seems to say that today’s miseries, but soon it will be replaced with something better, with a new day, with a new world. Rain signals that opportunities are just on the horizon, and there is something new to be hoped for.
That’s why I imagine that day in 1911 to be a rainy day. The day when the two greatest visionaries of Russian Marxist thought met. I don’t picture Bukharin walking through the park on a sunny day to meet with Lenin on a park bench. I don’t see them playful or happy to be stuck in Krakow far far away from the country they loved. No, it took some grit to be a revolutionary, to believe in a cause especially when living in exile.
No, indeed, I see a dark rainy day, a day where the rain poured down in sheets. I see Bukharin walking through the wet cobblestone streets in his large black trench coat holding a small newspaper over his head for some protection. He’d be walking with purpose but also slowly as if dejected. I see him walking towards an old shaky wooden building. Even from the outside you could tell there were leaks in the roofing.
I can see the door shake from even the soft rap of his hand. And then I see the door open, a man inside with a nicely combed mustache recognizes him and yells for him to be allowed in. Bukharin smiles as he enters, he hasn’t realized so many escaped. There in the distance he can make out a small press. “So this is how they’ve done it.” He grins to himself before being welcomed by his comrade. Everyone grows quiet as they realize a newcomer has entered. And then a man stands up from the corner. Bukharin hadn’t noticed him as he had been stooped over a piece of parchment. Lenin, the great Lenin walks up to Bukharin looks him dead square in the face and grips his hand tightly.
“This is Nikolai Bukharin, sir. I worked with him in Moscow, he was chief organizer…” Kolya’s friend stopped dead as Lenin’s firm quiet, voice rang out.
“Yes, I know who you are. I am very impressed by your work in Moscow, and we will need you more than ever here. Now is not the time, but we’ll talk tomorrow.” Bukharin swallowed.
“Yes, here. We don’t have much, so we must make what we smuggle back to Russia,” he paused as the last word came out with all sincerity, “count.”
“Yes sir, I’ll do what I can.”
“Oh and remember Kolya, my name is Volodya or comrade, never sir.”
“Ach, yes comrade, sir.” Lenin smiled as did Bukharin albeit a bit more sheepishly. But for a moment of silence, they both heard it, the pour of the rain outside. With a twirl Lenin spun on his heel and started to stunt back to his desk.
“The industrialized streets of Poland are being cleansed comrades. Soon it will be our turn. Soon!” And with that he sat back at his desk and the place seemed to jump back into chaos. But through all the noise Bukharin could hear it. The soft drip, drip, drip.