Tengo and I are finally bonding. He speaks far less english than Temo, but that means we can relate on a more human, stupid level. Last cold, rainy friday afternoon, he walked me out to the concrete burned-out gas station on the highway to wait for the marshutka.
“After school I am wrestle. I am strong.”
“Yes. I am busli.”
‘You have a nickname yet?”
“Like datvi.” (Datvi is ‘bear’.)
“Tengo the tiger.”
“Tengo the tiger…”
“Or tevsi. Tengo tevsi.” (Tevsi is ‘fish.’)
“No you! You fish!”
Then we kicked some trees and made cow noises and pointed at poop and laughed. Upon reaching the burned-out gas station, it became apparent that I had missed the last marshutka of the day for Kutaisi. We walked back.
As it turned out, that was the last marshutka for the whole weekend. It DUMPED overnight. I woke up in the middle of the night to pee and everything was covered in a heavy blanket of snow. Which meant, as anyone familiar with Alaska winter knows, at least two days of purposeless cabin fever. Jamal made it clear: small snow here, big snow in mountains. No marshutka to Kutaisi. Temo and Iamze had left for Iamze’s mom’s village the previous night, so it was me, Tengo, Jamali, Babua and Bebua. ALL LOCKED TOGETHER FOR A WINTER OF PURE TERROR BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Besides eating and sleeping and ukelele and House, Temo and I played ping pong with hand-whittled wooden paddles and sang Kesha. (Or I sang kesha. He danced with me.) We did trick shots and did stupid dance moves. Friends forever.