Sana Krasikov | Five Things Right Now

Nothing about him struck me as ironic, so I wondered maybe the costume wasn’t either. The tutor had told her: your mother is very conscientious, and white too. Fashion
The neighborhood where I lived in Moscow is called Preobrazhenskaya Ploshchad.  
3. Hiking through the forest, I met a college boy who had the   Urkel look down. It was once a village (I’ve been told) where Peter the Great spent his childhood, though now it is mostly a thoroughfare. The older people all seemed to be dressed for church. Her second book,   The Patriots, is out from Granta Books this month,   and you can read the first chapter   here. The kind of superstition that requires you to call a child ugly when what you want to say is: he’s beautiful. She laughed evasively.  
1. I’d hired him to help my nanny’s daughter, Lavi –   who was staying with us –   pass her college entrance exams. Or rather it had been dyed from blonde to blue and was now fading to a kind of silver. From the back his haircut looked like a lacrosse player’s. Jogging
I had a friend in Moscow –   an old friend of my mother’s –   for whom this confusion of generations was highly disturbing. Why didn’t you correct him?  
Photograph   ©   Engineering at Cambridge  
5. Sana Krasikov was born in Ukraine, and grew up in Georgia and the United States. Superstition
My parents are atheists, more or less. Generations
Lately I’ve been having a harder time telling apart generations. The younger ones looked like they were taking their fashion tips from Vice. She said, Americans think they’re teenagers their entire lives. But my mother is a deeply superstitious person. I did not see this kind of generational divide in dress code again until I moved to Kenya. When they turned around I saw that this was in fact a father with his teenage daughter. He was gangly and wearing shorts to his knee. But you’re right here all the time, I said –   doesn’t he see you? Let him see what he sees, she said. They jog right into their graves. I am exaggerating, but only a little. When I moved to Nairobi, I discovered an outdoor restaurant where I could take my son. They’ve spent their lives in the engineering fields.  
2. ‘Executive’, they called it. It’s an old trick to confuse the devil. It was Ethiopian. Occasionally, I’d check in with the tutor on her progress. I looked at Pamela, my nanny. When I was there everyone over forty-five wore lumpy coats and mohair berets. The girl’s hair was gray. I was told this divide was between people born before the end of the Moi dictatorship, and those born after. There was rampant cheating on the test by kids from fancier schools, who had the exams leaked to them beforehand. Her   debut short story collection,   One More Year,   was named a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Hemingway Award   and received a 5 Under 35 award from the National Book Foundation. Can’t he see that Lavi looks like you? The mistake made me question myself. She’d gone to a rural boarding school and had the wrong last name. They believe in statistics. Yesterday, at a coffee shop, a mother in her fifties walked in with her son. The world is teeming with demons who are always looking for ways to screw with your good fortune. Sana shares five things she’s reading, watching and thinking about right now. I thought this kind of caution, this hedging against your own happiness was a thing only I lived with, a Russian Jewish thing. Nothing in their body language had given them away. Then he spat over his shoulder. When she came to the US she could not tell people apart by age. If you express delight with anything in your life, you have to spit over your shoulder three times. It felt like home. What an ugly baby, the owner said when he saw us. From the rear I assumed she was one of those spritely older women who did a lot of yoga. They canter through life untroubled, like they’re jogging.  
4. The younger girls wore jeans low enough to show off their appendicitis scars. Family
A math and physics tutor came to my house every day for several weeks. One day I found her and her mother laughing.