Russians love their superstitions. My mom says it all began when her "herring under a fur coat" dish didn't turn out well on New Year's Eve. January and February soon passed. Under the eye of the storm, I had gotten my first office job, I went out with my boyfriend a lot. On Valentine's Day, he got me an orchid which, if taken care of properly, can live up to two years. Others give roses that turn brown after a week but he gave me an orchid, not aware of what it would later teach me.
Before I knew it, I had to find a way to keep a mask from falling off my tiny baby face. Even going to the store became a dangerous mission, everything you touch a possible landmine for disease. But somehow, someway COVID-19 came through our doorstep. I didn't even know I had it until I got an antibody test in May. The day I found out, I heard on the news that Nick Cordero, a young actor with no preexisting health conditions, had to get his leg amputated because of coronavirus complications. I turned to my mom and said "we were given a second chance."
If March and April were bittersweet, May and June were just plain sour. My grandmother, who lived in Israel, fell into a coma. We couldn't fly to visit her, as the doctors would not even allow us to enter the hospital. Looking back at that time, it seemed to have rained every single day. My mom sat by the window tearfully. We went to the beach shore together and watched the waves. Even though the petals of my orchid have been long gone by that time, we continued to put the ice cubes in it. We soon noticed new baby sprouts coming in.
One morning, my mom told me that my grandma's doctors were officially giving up. I didn't know what else to do besides hold her tightly. Just then, she began to hiccup and my mother never hiccups. It would not go away the whole day and it was the funniest thing. Hiccuping is another Russian superstition. It means someone is thinking of you.
It had to be my grandma because that evening, she passed away.
Amidst the shock and numbness, we found solidarity. We found the poems and letters that she wrote. Maybe I got my love of writing from her. She wrote about how she wanted peace in her home country as well for us to be happy. It was difficult to be happy but soon I began to smile at the beautiful things, whether it was kids in the park or a bird on my fire-escape...or even an orchid in bloom.