Travel to the Soviet Union

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Chapter 1

Back to the past

The weather in August was hot, and the summer was stuffy, without rain. And I can hardly stand this heat, I try to sit closer to the water. So we decided with my older brother today, to go to the river to swim, and if possible, then catch a fish, fishermen say that there are big breams here.

— Well, hello, Chertanovka River! I said happily and raised my hands in the air.

— You’re happy early, it’s going to rain today, I looked at the weather on the Internet in the morning, and then you see the rain for the whole summer and it will recoup. I’m not going to get wet here,» Artyom replied, taking off his jeans.

— Oh, the Soviet-era nerd,» I said.

Sometimes I like to annoy my older brother, let him ask less. And then he always tells me that everything was real there: childhood, food, things. He means real, but what does it turn out for me?

— Yes, what do you even know about the Soviet Union? my brother asked me and smiled maliciously.

— Well, what kind of country is so incomprehensible, the Soviet Union? Show me where it is on the map? — I said and went into the river up to my waist.

A gray-haired old man with a fishing rod was passing not far from us, and it even seemed to me that he had a halo glowing above his head.

«It seemed and it seemed, so the sun probably baked my head that devils with mermaids will soon begin to imagine,» I thought.

The old man stopped in front of me and does not take his eyes off me. I pretended not to notice him. And he says:

— And what, young man, do you really want to see the Soviet Union?

«Of course,» I said, and I didn’t even understand why I told him that.

The old man took off his hat from his head waved it in front of him like a fan and said:

— Well, be it your way, Egor, when you dive into the water with your head, then you will see everything, and when you come up, you will tell everything about everything yourself.

— Here you give an old man, and how do you know my name? I asked in surprise.

And the old man was gone. I turned around in different directions, he is nowhere, as if he had never been.

«Maybe I really overheated in the sun, I should dive into the river now,» I thought.

— Who were you talking to just now? my brother asked me, wading through the water closer and closer to me.

— The old man came up to me just now, and did you see him?

— No, I was talking on the phone, I was very tired of work, they call and call, this Mikhail Grigoryevich is not on time yet with his conversations, he says…

— Now, wait, tell me when I come up, otherwise my head is very hot, — I said to my brother and dived under the water.

Under the water I swam away from the place where Artem was standing, when I surfaced, for some reason he was not there. And not far from me, two teenagers were splashing.

I looked in one direction, in the other, at the shore, Artyom is nowhere. Did he really go home? And also a brother is called. He said something about Mikhail Grigoryevich, maybe it’s all somehow connected with him. I did a few more laps on the river, and decided to talk to the boys.

— Boys, tell me, what is the nearest settlement here, otherwise I’m left without a car?

— We are from the former village of Chertanovo, it will be a couple of kilometers from the river.

— And why the ex?

— So it is now considered Moscow, three years ago the Chertanovskaya metro station was opened. «Secretary General Chernenko himself was also present at the opening,» the blond kid said cheerfully.

— What are you saying, man? Metro Chertanovskoe, so it’s been open for a hundred years.

The boys looked at each other, laughed, but said nothing more.

— Come on, — I waved my hand at them and went ashore.

I looked around, there was no car and no clothes. «Damn, and the things where mine are, it looks like they were left in the car, and Artem drove off in it. Well, he’s going to get it from me now. I also found a joker, how many years old is he, already under fifty, and everything is like a boy playing games»

Without hesitating for a long time, I grabbed someone else’s shorts and shirt and disappeared behind the bushes. There I quickly got dressed, oddly enough, the clothes fit.

When I got out of the bushes, I immediately went across the field, walked for a long time for two hours, then I found myself in the city, then took a bus and drove to the subway.

About an hour passed, and I got out of the subway, slowly walked home, realizing with every step that the city had completely changed. Soon I got to the place where the house in which my wife and I took an apartment on a mortgage should stand, but instead there was a kiosk with the inscription «Union Seal» and soda machines lined up next to it.

— Yes, how to understand all this? — from the horror of what I saw, I said these words out loud, and decided to approach the newspaper seller, find out everything definitively.

— Hello, — I said, through the open window of the kiosk.

The woman sat and did not move, like a statue, she lowered her eyes and knitted something long, pink, like a scarf.

— Madam, — I say, — could you pay attention to me.

— Young man, shame on you, you’re a Komsomol member. What kind of madam am I to you?

Now I was absolutely sure that I was either hallucinating or I was in the real past. And to confirm my thoughts, I said:

— Sorry, auntie, the guys and I played so much today that I started talking. Could you sell me a newspaper?

— Smart boy, I look at the newspapers, you read. «Which one to submit?» — the seller said in a warm voice.

— And the one with the medals, — and pointed to the newspaper with his finger.

— Komsomolskaya Pravda is called, it costs three kopecks.

— Can I take a closer look at it, and then take it? I asked plaintively.

— Take a look at this,» and she handed me the newspaper.

I immediately looked at the date, it said June 14, 1988.

«I can’t take it, I’m sorry, there’s not enough money,» I said slurring my tongue.

— Take the boy for free, read to your health, grow up kind and obedient. We need such smart young people!

I took the Komsomolskaya Pravda from the kiosk with trembling hands, rolled it into a tube, and wandered off wherever my eyes looked. There were thoughts in my head, like a swarm of bees, they were spinning, spinning, but nothing worthwhile settled there, and there were a lot of questions about how to be and what to do next.

How did I get into the past? So the old man waved his hat and sent me here? Artyom and I swam in the Chertanovka river, the name speaks for itself, apparently sorcerers live next to it. Well, wizard, you’ve done a cruel joke to me!

My gloomy thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a guy who was passing by.

— Do you have a light? He asked politely.

— I have no money, no gold, nothing, there is only one newspaper, and the things that I’m wearing now are not mine either, — and I began to turn out empty pockets in front of him.

— Boy, why are you, I didn’t mean anything bad, I just asked for a light. «Can I help you with something?» a young man in a plaid shirt asked excitedly.

— To be honest, I really need help. There’s no money at all, and I need to get home. All my things were lost on the river, so I’m wandering around the city,» I answered him with a sour look.

— Here, take this, — and he handed out a coin on which one ruble is written, — here you have more than enough for the subway.

— Thank you, I’m not comfortable somehow in front of you. «I’ve never asked for money from passers — by,» I said and squeezed the coin tightly in my hand, so that it pierced me with a sharp pain, like an electric discharge.

— Come on. I’m going to go to BAM this week.

— And why do you go there? «And what is BAM?» — I asked with interest.

— What an ignoramus, you don’t know what BAM is. Yes BAM it’s great, it’s a lottery ticket in life. I was recently given a Komsomol permit, and I’m going along it, I’m going to build a railway to Baikal.

— Great, you’re very lucky, — I decided to play along with him, so long as I didn’t notice anything suspicious about me.

— Of course I was lucky. And you, too, come to BAM, my name is Kostya,» the guy said cheerfully.

— My name is Egor, thank you, I will try, — I replied and quickly decided to get away from this strange, but kind type.

«Some kind of BAM, and why did he need it, people can’t sit at home,» I thought, walking along the sidewalk to the nearest metro station.

I was already beginning to understand a little what I should do next. I had to go home to my parents urgently. «So stop, in 1988, they lived… they lived with their grandmother in a three-room apartment near the Chistye Prudy metro station.»

When I entered the subway, I immediately drew attention to the subway map, there was no Chistye Prudy station, but I realized that in 1988 it was called Kirovskaya.


I got out of the subway and I was pleased with the thought that I remember my grandmother’s address well, because after her death in 2000, I personally was engaged in the sale of my grandmother’s apartment.

Soon I turned the corner of the deli and went into the entrance of the same house. My heart was beating hard with excitement, with every step that brought me closer to my grandmother’s apartment. Already standing at the door, I caught my breath a little, calmed down and pressed the bell.

Once again I pressed the bell to be sure, and the beautiful melody «Moscow Evenings» began to play. I heard the shuffle of slippers under it, and my heart began to beat in anticipation of the meeting.

The next minute, the door to the apartment opened, my beloved grandmother was standing on the threshold, alive, outwardly she even looked prettier and looked much younger than the years that I remembered her.

«Come in, granddaughter,» she said as if nothing had happened, wiping her hands on a light blue bell — shaped apron.

— Hi Gran, did you recognize me right away like that? I asked in surprise.

— Well, are you holding me completely out of my mind, or are you joking like that? She asked with a smile on her face.

— What are you, don’t be offended, I just asked. I love you very much,» and I came closer to hug her and kiss her. After all, in fact, I haven’t hugged her for so long and I really missed her.

— Oh, Artemka, touched me to the depths of my soul, — grandma wiped her tears with a handkerchief, which rolled down her cheek in a thin trickle, — well, go, dear, I’ll feed you dinner now.

«Artemka, it didn’t seem to me, my grandmother called me Artemka,» and then I almost sat down from surprise, now I understand whose body I am in now.

While Grandma was busy in the kitchen with my lunch, I decided to take a walk around the apartment. It was spacious, clean and bright, like a museum from my distant childhood and my memories. And I must say, everything that happened to me was very pleasant.

— Go Artyom, dinner is ready for the table, — grandmother shouted.

When I went into the kitchen, there was a large plate of homemade dumplings on the table in front of me, a glass of milk, and a piece was cut from a loaf on a saucer, with butter and apricot jam spread on top.

The lunch turned out to be very tasty, maybe it was me who was so hungry or the truth, as my brother told me, the products at that time were completely different. And while I was eating, Grandma looked at me without taking her eyes off me.

— Granddaughter,» she said, after a few minutes of silence reigned around us.

— What’s ba?

— Have you forgotten that tomorrow you have entrance exams at the institute?

— No, I haven’t forgotten,» I replied, and I began to sort out in my memory which institute Artem had applied to.

Evening came, and I lay down on the bed, and fell asleep unnoticed. In my sleep, I heard the doorbell ring. First, it occurred to me that it was my parents who came home from work and I went to tear off the door for them, but to my surprise, it wasn’t them. There were several guys standing outside the door, they were Artem’s friends.

— Well, Leshii, are you coming with us? — said one of them, who, as it turned out, was later called Maxim.

«Why, Leshii, Artyom didn’t say anything about this nickname. Maybe some more surprises are waiting for me,» I thought.

— Where are we going? I asked the guys.

— I’m gathering everyone in the dorm, we’ll sing songs to the guitar. I want to celebrate my birthday.

— Well, congratulations then! I said.

— Thank you, but you’ve already congratulated me. I turned twenty last week, have you forgotten? It didn’t work out, so I moved it.

— Yes, with whom it does not happen, I forgot and forgot. Well, why are you coming with us? another guy from this company said.

— I’ll be right out, wait. I can’t let you in, Grandma is at home, resting.

I closed the door to the apartment, and went to the closet to put on whatever was from Artemka’s wardrobe.

Being in the past, I began to understand that this whole unusual story that happened to me was already becoming a part of my life and I was gradually getting used to the role of a Soviet person.

I came out of the entrance, in jeans and a white T-shirt, the guys were waiting for me. And we walked slowly through the yards.

— Guys, let’s look for soda machines now, it’s stuffy and I want to drink what I want, — said one of the company, his name I remember right away, his name was Alexander.

The guys agreed, and after passing a couple of houses, several vending machines with the inscription «Carbonated water» lined up in front of us. I noticed that there is only one faceted glass in the niche.

They took turns pressing it, washing a glass in a niche with a sink and drinking.

«That’s what kind of nonsense it turns out, they drink from one faceted glass with the whole of Moscow and don’t get sick with anything?»

It was my turn to drink soda, I winced a little and took a big sip. But the extraordinarily delicious, sweet taste immediately conquered me, and I was already greedily finishing the rest of the lemonade.

— Magic soda,» I said.

— Yes, it’s very tasty, — Alexander agreed with me.

Soon we all got drunk and the whole company went on to the student dormitory to Maxim.

When we approached the front door of the hostel, Maxim turned to face us and said:

— Guys, and now I’m going to ask you to be quieter than water, lower than grass, do you understand?

We went into the dorm and waited.

— Good evening, Aunt Lyuba, may I go to my room with my friends? Maxim said cheerfully.

The janitor examined our company with her hard, scanning gaze from under her wide glasses and said:

— Well, Sinitsyn, come in, but only if there is at least one complaint from the neighbors, then there will be no trust in you anymore.

— We will be quiet, I promise Aunt Lyubochka, — Maxim added and waved his hand, we should follow him.

We climbed the stairs to the second floor, and walked down a long, gray corridor.

— Come in, — Maxim said hospitably, and stood in front of the door of his room.


There were four iron-backed beds in the room, and a small table with two chairs. Posters with movie and pop stars hung on the walls. Everything around me looked like I was looking at the childhood photos of my older brother Artem.

Maxim pulled the table up to the bed so that there was enough room for everyone and began to seat the guests.

— Well, friends, I want to start our evening with a song, — said a young man from our company, his name was Anton, he sat down next to me and picked up a guitar. Anton began deftly fingering the strings and sang a song by Viktor Tsoi. I have already heard it once in my time.

When Anton finished the song, Maxim came up to us, and two young ladies were standing next to him.

— Irina, if you don’t know anyone, — one of the girls said briskly and sat down opposite me.

— And what is your name? I asked the girl who was standing, modestly lowering her eyes.

— Hope,» her voice rang like a bell.

— And my name is Artem. Sit down, next to me,» I said to the girl, realizing from every minute that I was losing my head from her innocent beauty.

Her unforgettable eyes and hair did something incredible to me.

— Do you live in this hostel? — she asked, sitting down next to me.

— No, I came to Maxim. «And you?» — I asked, switching to you.

— I also came to a classmate, Irina. I don’t live at home in a hostel. Soon I want to apply to the Acting Faculty, to GITIS,» Nadia said, and a spark of joy appeared in her eyes. Where do you study?

— You want to be an actress, well, that’s great, — I said with admiration, — And I’m from the future.

— From the future? she asked softly, peering into my eyes as if looking for confirmation in them.

— It’s all hard to explain, but I know only one thing, I don’t want to deceive you, because every word I say about your time will not be true, — I lowered my eyes and whispered.

«I understand the absurdity of this situation,» she replied in the same whisper, «but I believe you.

— Do you believe? I was surprised.

— Yes I do, tell me about your future, what is it? It’s probably nice there. All people are friendly with each other, beautiful cities, clean air, maybe people are no longer working, but robots are doing everything instead? Is it probably better there than here?

— Everything is fine, — I said, — each person will have a personal smartphone, it will be a multifunctional device, there will also be Internet and computers.

«Great, I really like it,» she said and looked at me again in a way that no one had ever looked at.

At that moment, I just couldn’t resist and kissed Nadia. Our lips merged in a long kiss. He was a magical and the best kiss of my life.

Suddenly the door to the room opened, and a tall, dark woman in strict clothes entered. I realized that it was the commandant of the hostel and she said in a ringing voice.

— I’ll ask all the guests to come out. And soon.

The guys began to gather.


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