It is near dusk and soon it will get dark. My train will not arrive till 9:30 pm and stop in Perm for about 20 minutes. “Listen, Olga, as much as I’d love your company until it’s time for me to leave, I am also conscious of your precious time, and if you can’t stay for an early dinner, perhaps we could have a quick coffee and call it a day?” She considers briefly, and then demurely suggests, “Or early dinner, and THEN coffee” with a grin.
Her friend, Yelena, who works at the A‐Corner, tries to camouflage her befuddlement on seeing a brown American; Olga had only mentioned to her that I was American. I try to explain the concept of a naturalized citizen. She cackles and chortles with a blush and offers me tea or coffee. I graciously accept her offer for coffee. “American coffee”, she asks with a sneaky grin? “Brown American coffee”, I submit… “make that naturalized brown American, will ya”.