I went with Vartan to the Russian store on Santa Monica Boulevard. An old man was eating sunflower seeds like he once did in old Odessa, from a newspaper shaped like a cone. He was like a child again, hearing the man with the mustache yelling “Sunflower seeds, Sunflower seeds,” by the Potemkin Steps.
“I also come from a faraway land,” I told the elderly man. “I’d hear the bell on summer days and run outside for ice cream.”
He didn’t answer. He was watching a beautiful Indian woman standing on the street, draped in a sari of crepe-de-chine.
Vartan ordered blini. The old man ate his seeds. I caught a glimpse of the naked shoulder of the the woman in the sari, and then she disappeared.