The Performance (2)


A true story from Russia.

Moscow graffiti

Photo: Evgenia Kapitonihina


rush  >  rushed 

hurry  >  hurried

watch  >  watched

drink  >  drank

work  >  worked

stop  >  stopped

hear  >  heard

see  >  saw

listen  >  listened

give  >  gave 

arrive  >  arrived

November 2000

IT WAS a cold evening. The light in the sky was almost gone. The warmth in the air was almost gone. People rushed here, there and everywhere. They hurried home to rest and to eat. It was noisy in the metro. It was noisy on the street. It was even noisy on the top of the buildings where the birds sat and watched the noisy people. 

     Nikolai was very hungry. For breakfast he drank two cups of tea. For lunch he drank two cups of tea. But he was happy. There was now money in his pocket after a week of hard work. He worked hard every week. But sometimes he was not paid. This week he was paid.

     A market was not far away. He hurried on his way to buy some bread and meat. But suddenly he stopped.  He stopped because a young man was singing*. His voice was beautiful. His voice was more beautiful than any voice Nikolai had ever heard. People rushed by the singer. No one stopped to listen but Nikolai.  No one even saw the performer. But it seemed to Nikolai that the performer was giving* people a reason to live and not just exist. Nikolai listened a long time. Before he left, he gave the young blind man all the money in his pocket. [blind: someone who cannot see.]

     When Nikolai arrived home his neighbor saw him. “Eh, Nikolai! You’re late tonight! You must be hungry. My wife made pelmini for dinner. Come have some!”

Original in Russian. Reprinted with permission from Six Inches to England.

*an action that is not finished [ <—  . . .]

was singing [ < . . . ] past, but not finished  

was giving< . . . ] past, but not finished

 ©InterestEng. July 2013 - April 2022 §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff photos or used with permission.  §  To contact us: