It was hard to be alone, so far away from her son. Could she bear to deny him this one thing?

It is almost 7 a.m., four in the afternoon in Tbilisi. Maia has been up
most of the night, dialing her sister, waiting for Lela to pick up the phone.
Lela should have called her, hours ago. She can think of only one reason why she
hasn’t: Gogi didn’t pass his interview at the embassy.

At her own interview, Maia had tried to stay calm when the consulate
officer asked her about her salary. She’d told him she was an accountant at the
poultry plant in Dusheti, but didn’t mention that the plant had closed down and
that she’d been sitting without work for three years. Asked about her family,
she started almost breathlessly to spread out the photos she’d brought along: of
Gogi, then 9, and of her husband, Temuri. The idea was to convince the man that
you had something to return to. And so, with all the other facts she’d omitted,
it didn’t panic her to leave out that Temuri had been dead for five months. This
was September 1996.

Full Text: Maia in Yonkers (2007).pdf


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