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Samed Aydin


Samed Aydin

Aydin was born in 1987 in Agdam, Azerbaijan. At the moment he is a student at Moscow Academy of Fine Chemical Technology in Moscow, Russia. He writes fiction, non-fiction and does translations. He has been published in Azerbaijan, Russia and the USA. He is also a journalist and works for Azerbaijani newspaper “525-ci gazet” in Moscow.



Cofee took money from the pocket of his old trousers and left the room. There was nobody in the corridor. The walls and floor of this corridor were painted by yellowish paint, and he suddenly remembered photos of the savanna, which had seen on websites that morning. For the first time in three years, Cofee noticed that this corridor resembled a savanna. He imagined his father was a high tree in this corridor-savanna, and saw some small bushes. On the ceiling the bright sun was sparkling. On the left, a huge giraffe was coming out from the stairs. The savanna always reminded him of his motherland; therefore he liked looking its photos. Even pictures of his country or of his native city did not excite him as much as pictures of endless savannas with their wild inhabitants. However, he had never been to a savanna. He was not a person of the savanna at all. But when his mother was tired of his naughtiness as a child, she used to threaten that she would take him to the savanna at night and leave him there.  He did not know how close the savannah was then.  Later, he learned that it was just beyond was just the wide wood that lay outside the city where he lived.
Going towards the stairs, the feeling that he was deep in the savanna remained.  He had on a black shirt that had a picture of a tiger head, its mouth open, and thinking of the picture he imagined himself not a human being anymore, but a tiger, ready to attack the giraffe coming out of the stairs.


… Dear Cofee, how are you? How are your studies going? Do you speak in Russian well now? We are fine. Your father works, and I stay at home, cook and wait for his arrival. In the evenings we often think of you, we discuss your letters... We miss you very much. When you left, you were so small. And, now looking at your photos, I think, how quickly you have grown up in three years.  Yesterday Grandmother was at us. She asked if there was any news from you. I gave her your last letter, which your father printed a couple of days ago. She started reading.  Just a few moments passed before she kissed the letter burst into tears. I wanted to console her, but I began to cry, too.  We cried together a long time.  Three years without you. Sometimes I think I should not have sent you to study to Russia. I know I am not right to think this.  You passed the difficult examination, which nobody else from our city could pass, and it was your full right to go to study there. But you know how fragile my heart is. When I hear on TV that a student from Africa has been killed, I become afraid, thinking they will say your name.


He came down to the second floor and entered the shop. Inside there was a blue-eyed and fair-haired saleswoman - Sveta. He had always admired her beauty and liked talking to her. "She is probably 25 years old. Not less, not more" - he thought. Sometimes, he had seen her with her boyfriend in front of student’s hostel, and each time thought how lucky this guy was.  Sometimes he wished he was her boyfriend instead. Their very first meeting, three years ago, was not successful. When Cofee came into the shop, he did not know how to tell Sveta what he wanted to buy.  He spoke the names of the products in English, but Sveta did not know English and spoke in Russian in reply.  Eventually, they managed to understand each other. But she was angry at him complaining because students from Africa come to Russia without knowing a single word of Russian.

Today when Cofee entered the shop, Sveta was listening to “Never let you go” by Dima Bilan, who sang that in Eurovision 2006.

She smiled when she saw him.

  -How are you?” he asked, smiling in return.

- Fine, Cofee What about you?

- I am super You like Dima Bilan?

- Yes. You don’t?

- I’m not keen on such songs. Hip-hop is the best.

- Ohhh. Ok. And what would you like?

 - As always.

- Ten eggs and five pieces of bread?

- Yeah.

- You will be sick one day. How can one eat so many eggs?

- We – Africans can do everything.

 - Ah! Ok, be it as you want. But there are some rumors have reached me.

- And what rumors are they?

- You know well.

- Hmm. Don’t worry. Everything will be OK.

- Ok...

Sveta put ten eggs and five bread on table. Cofee paid, took his groceries.  Thanking her, he left the shop.  On his way back to his room, he thought how was fed up with everything.


Sonny, how are you? We are excellent. Work is good, too. As I already informed you, our manager has been replaced. The day before yesterday the new manager learned from someone that you study in Russia, and so called me to his office. He asked about you, and said that youth like you are the future of our country. Ernest has opened an editorial office. He has left the capital to publish a newspaper in our city. To tell the truth, I do not know how what to think his behavior.  There is no interest in a newspaper here. But, Ernest assures me that everything will be fine.   He also told me that, he wants to have an interview with you, to acquaint our townspeople with you.  He tells everyone that you are the pride of our city.  You know he is an emotional man.  Let God help me, whatever he does. On Saturday, our neighbor Patrick’s younger son will be married. Sonny, I miss you so much. You are the only one we have. Sometimes even I feel guilty that I cannot help you with money. I should have earned enough to be able to send you to Moscow and bring you home to visit us sometimes.


Cofee put the bread and eggs on the table. Turned on the electric furnace. Took the knife and started to cut bread to three parts. Suddenly, he remembered the e-mail from his parents which he read that morning, and felt the sadness that had been pursuing him for a long time.  He thought about his mother.  About his father.  About his home city.  About how his life had changed after the plane bringing him to Moscow landed at the Domodedova airport.

He had gotten acquainted with lots of foreign students at the university. Most of them studied there on government scholarships and received grants and free-of-charge air tickets two times in a year. But, his country, as well as some other African countries, could not provide its students with state grants or free-of-charge air tickets. Because of this, they often had difficulties with money. 

If he wanted to go home, it would cost about $424.  But this amount must be multiplied two times, as he would have to return. He learned recently that an air-ticket from Moscow to Cairo cost $296.  But to get home from Cairo, he would have to take a train to the capital of the neighboring country and then a bus to the capital of his country.  From there, he would have to go by bus to his own city.  All of this would take $128 and 8 days. There is an airline that flies from Cairo to the capital to his city, too.  That was the option he used when he came to Russia.  But the ticket would cost $218. 


 My dear parents, I am glad to hear that you all are well. I am also well … … Mum, I miss you, too. Give my regards to Grandmother and everyone you see. It is not necessary to cry for me. I am alive, whole and safe … do not speak about such things. Here in Moscow it is snowing very beautifully. I know that you always wished to touch snow. When I return, I shall start to work and earn money.  One day, I shall bring you to Moscow and you will see what snow is like.  
     Father, why are you ashamed?  Not all people are rich. I am very satisfied with you. Three years have passed, and in two years and half more I will be home. Do not worry. I'm fine. Give my regards to my cousin and say that I support him and will give an interview with pleasure.. I am glad for Paa’s wedding. Give him my regards.
This summer I will have a surprise for you, I will not say anything more now. [We will live and see]. I embrace you and send a kiss…


It was twenty minutes past midnight. He was sitting and waiting, constantly watching the hours go by on the clock on the wall.  There was a terrible silence, as though the four walls were had sworn to keep words out of the room.  He could not even hear the music his roommate was listening to through his headphones.

He did not love silence. Sometimes he was even afraid of it.  In his opinion, silence had a voice, though it was mute.  Noise was different.  It had a voice, too, but it was deaf.  Even, sometimes he was afraid of it. To his opinion, the silence has a voice though it is mute. But for noise everything is different. It has a voice, but it is deaf. Silence can hear the most inaudible sounds, and that is why it frightens people.  But he never speaks about this. 

From time to time, the silence was interrupted by the sound of voices passing through the corridor.  He heard the Arab’s voice, speaking on his telephone.  He heard the Vietnamese singing a calming song in her language, and the Chinese people, arguing loudly.

Suddenly, there was a knock. Cofee quietly whispered - "Yes!" He approached the door and opened it.

- Hi, man! How are you? – a tall boy cried.

 - Oooo, Sergei, well. What about you?

- Not bad… Is there any hamburger?

- Of course! How many?
- Two hamburgers and one cola.

- Ok. Wait a little, man.

Cofee returned to the room. Pulled out two pieces of an egg and one can of "Coca-Cola" from the refrigerator. He broke two eggs into a pan on the furnace and fried them.  Then, removing them, perfectly, he put them on two pieces of unleavened bread and took them to Sergei. 

- Thanks, Cofee. What would we do without you? At twelve o’clock the shop closes and we’re not allowed to leave the hostel.  It is good that you do this work.  He paid Cofee forty-five rubles, thanked him again, and left.  Cofee went into his room, opened a small bag that he kept under his mattress and put the money in it.  He had 350 dollars and 4480 rubles now. If all went - Cofee thought - by the end of that academic year he would have enough money to go home and visit his parents at last.

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