Monday, February 05, 2007

Conversation - XV


How do you plan to live in future?

"It's still quite hard for me to say. For him, life was in Tolya and in me. And now I have to do for Tolya what Sasha wanted. Sasha was very proud when Tolya began to speak English, was always asking him to say things in English. Then Tolya got into a very good school. Sasha was very fond of giving Tolya presents, he spoiled him more than I did. When Tolya realized he wasn't going to get something from me, he'd run to his father. They really liked going shopping, going round the stores together. They'd go to museums together. Sasha was a very good athlete - he did the pentathlon, and also horse-riding, shooting, fencing, running and swimming. That year Tolya took up fencing - Sasha had dreamed about it. He used to go to those lessons with Tolya, and he was totally happy. He said: 'When I retire on my pension I'm going to open a fencing school.' They went to the swimming pool, talked about when they'd start running. Sasha couldn't live without running. Even when he was already in hospital, no one was able to explain to me how a completely healthy person, even if he did have a rare gastrointestinal disorder, could look that bad. He looked twice his age, and no one could explain it to me. He himself said: 'Up until November I could run 10 kilometres in a very short tie. And look at me now - well, is that food poisoning?'"

They're saying that someone in Hollywood has acquired the film rights to one of his books.

"This issue began to blow up only a few days ago. I don't know what that film will be like, it obviously won't be about Sasha, just some kind of story. Perhaps to some extent it's right that this story which has shaken the whole world shouldn't just vanish without trace. And if my participation is required, I'm ready, though I never had any plans to for that. Perhaps Sasha's new book will be published, with some sort of participation on my part. If I can preserve Sasha's memory in some way, write that book - I will do that, though I've have never had a wish to be famous. When Sasha was on show, I always kept in the shadow, tried not to be photographed. The first photograph appeared by chance, six years ago, when we'd only just arrived, and for a long time that was the only photograph that appeared in the British newspapers, because there weren't any others."

How is your son coping?

"Tolya has this amazing ability, it's not so much that he tries not to dramatize the situtaion, he just tries to behave naturally. For example, in the hospital he didn't sit looking at Sasha in shock and horror, but behaved normally, asked questions now and then. And now, of course, he has a lot of questions, but he doesn't put them to me. And every time he finds me in tears, he makes an effort and says: "Mum, is everything all right?' He thinks he doesn't give me enough support. I really feel awkward just now, making this problem for people, because it's very difficult to find words in cases like this. Last year a little girl died of heart failure at a dancing lesson - I looked at her mother at the time and was surprised - my God, how much strength and courage one needs, having lost one's daughter, to try not to create awkward situations for the people around one. Now I understand her well - I see how much people loved Sasha, how much they valued him - and I'm so grateful to them... Both in England and in Russia - even the people who seemed to break off contact with us. I don't accuse them, because for some people after we left Russia it turned out to be not without danger, some people had their business... It only underlines once again how people in Russia lack freedom, even in the choice of who to make friends with."

See also:
Conversation - II
Conversation - III
Conversation - IV
Conversation - V
Conversation - VI
Conversation - VII
Conversation - VIII
Conversation - IX
Conversation - X
Conversation - XI
Conversation - XII
Conversation - XIII
Conversation - XIV
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