Days turned into weeks as Kolya slept fitfully on his small straw bale. He spoke furtively with the natives as people hopped on at their small villages and off at the larger cities like Omsk. He learned what he could about local opinion of the new government. In the villages it seemed as though nothing had changed. The peasants got along well enough, but were disgruntled with the war. Few in the countryside had been untouched by the war. There were rumors of the government taking food, and of forced conscription. Even now with the new government the peasants bled themselves dry, and the promises for the reconstitution of land were unfulfilled.
But what was more disconcerting to Kolya was the fact that the workers seemed to hate the new government. Every single worker he talked to complained about the shortage of supplies in cities and how food and manpower were being requisitioned to the front to support the troops, in a war they had all thought would be over by now. There was a rumor of mass agitation and frustration with the government at large. Revolution had carried the promise of self-government, but everyone had soon found this to be nothing but empty promises.
Kolya was disturbed by the news. The more and more he heard of the reception of the revolution the more he realized it seemed to be the foreshock. The earthquake had yet to come. Not enough had changed. The proletariat had yet to take complete control.
After weeks of travel he heard the final whistle of the train. They were approaching the central station in Moscow. He was home. The door slid open, and Kolya slid nimbly out onto the platform below. He looked around at the familiar old train station. But it was empty this time. No one was there to greet his return to Russia. After years of travel and exile for the cause he would die for, he found himself alone again. He looked forward at the long black smokestack in the train that had carried him across the country, and he realized he was no longer an outlaw. He was back in Moscow. He was a leader again, a writer, and inciter. The big old leaders of the Bolsheviks: Lenin, Stalin, Kamenev, they were all in Petrograd. Moscow was his playground now, and with any luck at finding his old school buddies, his generation would lead the party in Moscow.
He straightened his coat jacket and began walking out of the station. A hardened, veteran, Bolshevik exile had finally reached his threshold of opportunity.
© A River Runs Through It Photography