The Tooth

tooth necklace

The tooth has been on shaky ground for a couple of days now. I could feel it move back and forth when I pushed on it with my tongue. I was excited about this. Grandma said that children have baby teeth and when those fall out, newer, stronger, better adult teeth would come in. The adult teeth would stay forever. The idea of forever felt good and comforting.

We were in writing class. I was sharing the front desk with Sasha. Sasha’s dad was an international pilot. Sasha had a cool shirt that had buttons at the elbows, so he could button his sleeves in place when he rolled them up. He smoked Kosmos cigarettes and wore high tops from Lida. The teacher sat us at the front desk together because he was bad and I was good. I was to exert my positive influence on him and improve his behavior. Or at least distract him from wanting to behave badly. I had an imaginary arrangement with him where I would tell him when he made spelling errors and he would beat up other boys that tried to give me a hard time by stealing my books, or whatever.

Sasha was busy drawing Fiat logos in his notebook. I was wiggling the tooth back and forth. I pondered how I couldn’t wait to start a new life with new forever-teeth. It was getting closer now, the tooth was barely hanging by its meaty little pendulum. I grabbed hold and pulled slowly feeling it detach and separate with some pain, but total triumph. I lay the bloody prize between Sasha and me, still tasting the faint flavor of iron on my tongue.  Sasha’s eyes widened:

Is that a tooth?


Did you just pull it out?



His face lit up with respect. I beamed with self satisfaction, just as the teacher called his name catching us whispering, but oblivious to my feat. He was to read a sentence he just wrote. He got up to speak:

Julie is a cool girl.

The tooth had powers. No self respecting nine year old would voluntarily submit to the humiliation of admitting to like a member of the opposite sex. That was like suicide by getting teased to death. Life of permanence was off to a good start. Me and my future husband Sasha. Things didn’t seem too different at the moment, but at the end of school, I knew we’d be married and be together forever. We’d kiss like grown-ups by mushing our closed lips together, and it would be magical, even though the rest of the future outside our mushed faces looked like a gray blur.

Then, disaster. She was a transfer student from Borisov. She was small with olive skin, big brown eyes and short black hair cut in a bowl shape. Olive skin – that was an exotic coloration we did not see often. It was like seeing an abominable snowman, or accidentally finding a new specie of something, or seeing an exchange student from Africa on a trolley. The classroom was short on desks, so she got seated at ours, facing us. I knew I was in trouble.

Sasha didn’t have to tell me I’d been dumped. He was now drawing Fiat logos for her, and she reciprocated with a shy smile. I felt my heart break into a million little pieces. What a sham. She was not shy. She was a thief. He was now her future husband Sasha.

They are still married now, living in their gray, blurry world, mushing their closed lips together.




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Hi!  Welcome to the blog!  My name is Juliya.  Nice to meet you!
I have spent a lot of time trying to decide what the focus of this space should be, and had a lot of trouble making the choice.  You see, I have a number of interests that I indulge in when time allows.  My foremost passion has always been style and fashion, but cooking and writing are also on the list.  Original – no? 😉 I have chosen to call this blog Something Else because it is a space where I am doing something different from my usual daily routine – sharing things I love!

My first memory involving fashion is, cracking open my mom’s sewing magazine from the late 70s at the age of three, and feeling very strongly that I hated platforms and flared pants (I have since reconsidered my stance on flared pants, but platforms remain on the ‘no’ list 🙂 ).  I also remember throwing a tantrum at the same age because the dress my mom put on me did not meet my aesthetic criteria.  It was aqua and red plaid (darling in retrospect – sorry mom!).  In the early days of  the blogs, having discovered Agathe Molvik’s Stylebytes, I tried starting my own blog a couple of times, but stopped because it felt wrong to be saying ‘look at all my fancy stuff’.  Getting started again in 2015, older and wiser, I have learned to focus on what feels like ‘me’.  I’m a uniform girl where the only things I put on are what is functional and essential, with a focus on beauty and quality.

Cooking came to me relatively late in life, when I met my husband.  When we were dating, I explicitly told him ‘I don’t cook’.  He said he didn’t mind (what a guy! – I fell in love 🙂 ).  I moved to California where he lived, and we got married.  Not knowing anyone and looking for work under a great deal of stress and financial pressure, I started frequenting the Latin market across the street because it was cheaper than all the other stores for food, and cooking at home.  That daily ritual became a lifeline to relieve anxiety and a way to save money.  I also started becoming a better cook!  My cooking philosophy to this day remains to see what we have that is in need of rescue (will go bad if not cooked), and build a menu around it.  The result is we have zero food waste, and an interesting, varied diet.

Finally, writing.  Ah, writing – you are a tough nut to crack.  Every now and again, I get inspired to write something creatively, and occasionally, I succeed.  However, writing something creative on a regular basis has been really difficult if not insurmountable.  I have come across a few blogs where girls successfully blend writing with style, most notably Clothes Cameras and Coffee, run by the beautiful Roz.  Her observations are intelligent and insightful, and she manages to talk about style without making it sound trite.  She has my utmost admiration, and I cannot do what she does.  So, after feeling bad and beating myself up continually, I have decided to let it go, lighten up, and only write something when the inspiration struck.  To that end, I am going to put any such writing under the category of Story Time.

I will do my best to make this space an authentic, and engaging place for my readers.  Please stay a while, and feel free to comment and critique on what I can do to make the blog better.