I go out with several sweaters and a very old scarf wrapped around my neck. The errand is short, but with the temperature so low every step I take is a great sacrifice. People beside me in the street are equally “disguised” and I even see someone who appears to have a bed blanket wrapped around his shoulders. Although in the short trip from home to the bakery I don’t see anyone wearing a nice coat, I see that popular inventiveness does not end when the thermometers fall. The Soviet-era raincoats have been dusted off, with their enormous buttons and now faded colors. Others, those who don’t even have something to cover themselves, have simply stayed home.
I go to a place where they sell bread outside the rationed market and a baguette costs a whole day’s wages. Curiously, many of those I have seen on the road, with their peculiar and improvised costumes, are headed in the same direction I am. As we get nearer I confirm that everyone is going after the little food that has kept us in suspense for several weeks now. A few feet from the place, someone ahead of us raises the cry, “There isn’t any more!”, throwing a real bucket of cold water on us. I turn around and go home. Tomorrow will be another day without breakfast.
The arrival of these winds from the north has coincided not only with the disappearance of bread, but also with the flight of the milk. As if winter had affected the ovens and frozen the cows’ udders. Although on TV they announce that the production targets for the precious milk have been exceeded, they deny us the solitary cup of coffee or the insipid tea every morning. These are times to jerk yourself awake without looking at the table, to tell the kids not to ask questions, and to put aside work, the blog, friends, life, to devote yourself entirely to the pursuit of a piece of bread and a glass of milk. Time to drag ourselves through the dust of shortages and lines and because to break this contemptible cycle and fly we need—more than wings—the fuel of food.