Two Debuts

My mother went into labor on a night of a new moon in April 1990. Then-president Mikhail Gorbachev was making a speech at the “Palace of Youth” – a recreation centre – a block away from the hospital. When I was born there were 30 or more medical students watching my “debut to the word.” I was born before an audience and to the sound of applause.

Now, I must live up to that.

When I was 8 years old, I made my official debut on stage at that same Palace of Youth, this time in April 1998.

On the same stage where Gorbachev was giving his speech in 1990 and where the best of Russia’s singers had displayed their mastery over decades. The organisers of the concert were looking for a child to come onstage and wow the audience “with cuteness.” They thought that I was “cute enough”…They called me up on stage twice; first to award me a gift of French perfume, and I barely refrained from asking, “Why isn’t this chocolate?!”

I decided that mom could like the perfume. Her sparkling eyes from the audience confirmed it.

The second time I went on stage, they requested for me to sing a song. I chose to sing in English: “Jingle Bells”. Though my voice was horrible and nasal after a cold (of which I had dozens), the entire hall applauded keeping rhythm with the song.

All they could think was, “What a cute child and WOW she’s singing in English!”

All I thought was, “You are ALL MINE, Muahahaha!!!”

Sometime later, I learned that the concert was a spring-welcoming one, and that Jingle Bells in April wasn’t the best repertoire.


My mom loved the French perfume.

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