The electricity will be on in one hour, says my landlady. She tells me that it is dark out all over town (ignoring the glittering chrome bridge over the Mtkvari River, ignoring the casino that casts neon shadows on the banks at night). She calls me ‘daughter’ and evades specifics. Won’t I come upstairs for dinner at eight, or perhaps nine? (She is so busy; she works so hard; she’ll ring when dinner is ready.) The call never comes.
So I eat out, in restaurants, but often I cannot seem to leave my neighbourhood. Whenever I think I’ve found the way, I am turned back on myself again. A street is closed off for reconstruction, a nameless alleyway is rerouted, crumbling buildings are bulldozed to make new paths. In their absence I discover more: abandoned observatories, synagogues hidden in courtyards, balconies with wrought-iron mermaids, angels and griffins carved into stone.