“Soldier! Let me cradle your head and caress your face, let me kiss your dear sweet lips and cry across the seas and whisper through the icy Russian grass how I feel for you… Luga, Ladoga, Leningrad, Lazarevo… Alexander, once you carried me and now I carry you, into my eternity, now I carry you.
Through Finland, through Sweden, to America, hand outstretched, I stand and limp forward, the galloping steed black and riderless in my wake. Your heart, your rifle, they will comfort me, they’ll be my cradle and my grave.”
“”Do you hear the stellar winds, carrying from the heavens a whisper, straight from antiquity… into eternity…”
“What are they whispering?”
“Tatiana… Tatiana… Ta… tiana…”
“Will you remember that? Anywhere you are, if you can look up and find Persus in the sky, find that smile, and hear the galactic wind whisper your name, you’ll know it’s me, calling for you… calling you back to Lazarevo.”
Tatiana wiped her face on Alexander’s arm and said, “You won’t have to call me back, soldier. I’m not ever leaving here.””
The brave soldier, the tender lover, the father, the friend, the best among men.
The king and the Hero.
You’re father and mother’s only child.
Anthony, Pasha, Harry and Jane’s only father.
We loved you through America, back in Barrington with Teddy and Belinda.
We loved you through Russia, through Red Army and Winter War. Through Yuri Stepanov whom you gave up your America for.
We loved you through your wandering days.
And we loved you on June 22, 1941. When you made your way to Ulitsa Saltykov-Schedrin, all tired after only one hour of sleep. And on that day, you heard her delicate sweet voice carried by the wind; carried only for you. “We’ll Meet Again In Lvov, My Love And I.” She sang and you became paralyzed by her. And on that day you crossed the street for Tatiana Metanova, and we loved you for that.
“Love is to be loved, in return.” You said, as she couldn’t take her eyes off Peterhof, as Dasha and Dimitri were there. You said so once, when everything was still ahead of you. When war, famine, passion, love, Lazarevo, separation, Orbeli, they all were ahead of you.
We loved you through World War II, through the blockade and starvation, through raveling passion and impossible choices, through Dasha and Dimitri and your Tania.
We loved you even more through Lazarevo, through the magical days on the banks of the mighty Kama and on the foot of the magnificent Urals. The Kama and the Urals saw it all, smelled it all, and so did we.
We loved you for scarifying your own life just to give her hope, and loved you for leaving her with the one right word: Orbeli.
We loved you through Slonko and the NKVD, through interrogations and through the too small cell.
We loved you through separation. Through penal battalion and Ouspensky. Through Pasha and his death, through Russia, Poland, Germany and finally, America.
And we continued to love you through your America life, with your beloved wife and your sweet boy.
And every year we will remember our most loved hero, our brave brash knight, who once, many years ago crossed the street for a young girl on a bench, in a white dress adorned with the most beautiful blood-red roses and smiling green leaves, and made us believe in eternal love and destiny.
Happy May 29th.