Chapter 1. Failure

Last year after suffering coronavirus, my husband Alexey had a massive stroke. He was lucky. He hasn’t become bedridden. All parts of the brain are functioning but his working memory and his spatial and temporal orientation are impaired. Doctors say that this is temporary but crawling out of this torpor is long and hard. I didn’t recognize him when I entered the hospital ward after the surgery. He changed dramatically. His voice, his character, and his gaze had changed. All the senses felt heightened. The only thing that remained the same was the way he treated me. This was my husband and a stranger at the same time. Following the psychologists’ recommendation and examining Reshetnikov’s painting ‘Low Marks Again’ and answering the question: ‘What do you see here? ’, Lesha enthusiastically said that the dog’s posture, its selfless love for the boy is the only solution to the whole situation. And the animal acts wiser than a human — the boy’s mother, who does not understand what to do with her son. At that moment I, as a random observer, suddenly realized that the whole situation with a stroke is reflected in the picture! I am the mother in the picture, who wonders how we will live with this ‘low mark’, and that the only one way out is to be like the dog: not to ask questions, but to be next to him and to observe… And I’m observing, remembering, and shooting.

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