Tbilisi

Don't go breaking my heart

You take the weight off me

Oh, honey, when you knock on my door

Ooh, I gave you my key

Ooh-hoo, nobody knows it

When I was down

I was your clown

That bruise on your thigh… how did you get it? Looks like teeth marks to me. You say you’d forgotten something and turned quickly to re-enter the courtyard and bumped into the metal gate. It was dark as it could be in that part of the city, like in those days with the power cuts, when you all huddled around the kerosene heater, your faces blackened by the smoke.

Yes, yes, I admit it, I’ve done it myself, after too much chacha with the boys, and then some more, head-spinning over the cobblestones and into the gutter. Plausible. But where do you go some nights after work wearing those red shoes? The heels are worn. You need to take them back to that damn cobbler if you’re going to promenade through Vake Park.

You think you’ll end up in one of those villas in the hills, decorating the interior by yourself, adding small but important details to create an illusion of home and cosiness. Shoes and books, you say that’s your passion, but that writer you hang out with, he’s a loser. He even has the same yellow dusty wall-paper as in Raskolnikov’s room, peeling off the walls, looking a century old. Let’s be honest, he’ll buy you those flowers with the little white petals from the market nearby, mutter some mea culpa, rub his chin as if deep in thought, but his thoughts are muddled. You know he’d rather spend his diminishing lari on vinyl records by Deep Purple and Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd. Only they will keep away the emptiness. They say people start learning from the day they are born, but I think we’re travelling back in time, unlearning. And you, with your red shoes which have seen better days, dancing to Elton John and Kiki Dee, stuck in 1976. It was a year to be cheerful after all, Dinamo Tbilisi crushing Ararat Yerevan 3-0 in the Soviet Cup Final, the beginning of our greatest run, before the fall into despondency, before our dreams turned to dust and ashes.

Photograph by Adrian Scoffham. Thank you!

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