Alikhan Uzakov @alikhan_uzakov

Short stories

Unusual neighbours.

I was always fascinated by my granddad’s gift as a storyteller. Very often when guests were sitting relaxed and digesting after the meal, he hemmed, clearing his throat, and everybody knew that he was preparing to tell another story from his life. He once told me about a tree, not just a tree, but The Tree, that grew at a short distance from the crossroads of the streets Furmanov and Shevchenko in Almaty, where he was born and spent his childhood. Granddad remembers it since that time, they were growing together, and it was and still is a very unusual tree. Actually, there are two trees in one trunk, growing and living in symbiosis, a fur tree, and maple, that splits into two stems at a height of maybe 8 meters. I decided to look at it. When I came there, I couldn’t find it at first, but then, gazing into the tree crown, I saw an amazing picture of two trees, swaying in the wind and watching surroundings silently. And people were standing under it or rushing on their businesses in different directions not knowing that trees can tell them a story lasting of life. They didn’t notice that wonderful view, a peaceful scene of the two unusual neighbours - witnesses of my granddad’s childhood time.

A good match.

Recently I bought a box of matches, not that I needed them, I just liked its sticker. Later on, sitting in a train on my way to the office I was pondering how many different usages have this simple thing like matches apart from it’s main purpose of lighting up a flame. And I remembered so many ways of using them! It once again proved how little we pay attention to simple things because we consider them small, usual, unimportant and worthless.

We can use them to light up a gas stove to cook, fire-place or bonfire when we are cold and only God knows how many people are happy to find them in a pocket when being lost. If we moisten them, we can write using the colored end. At school, we used them as a legs and neck to make figures of animals made of acorns and cones. I even saw people making models of houses out of matches! If you don’t have a plastic anchor you may fill tightly the hole in the wall with matches without their colored ends and screw in. There are some entertaining puzzles when you need to change the layout of matches to fulfill the task. Mum said when she was small, she sprained a finger and the local doctor used several matches as a fixing splint as he didn’t have at hand anything suitable for a small child’s finger. I saw mum using a match putting it between a button and a coat to create some space when she sewed it on. Not a recommended idea, but we made a kind of firework using a big box of matches. We can use them to cast lots. What else? There was something else…