Summertime records. Untitled album.

Helen Vechurko
6 min readJul 22, 2021

I’m walking the streets I don’t have memories of. There is only here and now. No expectations, no regrets. It feels like freedom.

Sur les pages lues

Sur toutes les pages blanches

Pierre sang papier ou cendre

J’écris ton nom

Paul Eluard, Liberté

Belle Dommage, Photo by the author, Helen Vechurko

Tape 1, Side A

Checking the mailbox became my recent times' obsession. If someone ever told me, I would be checking these graves to pizza discounts and political brochures every time I go out, I would laugh in his face.

There was nothing exciting about this ancestor of an email unless a few years back directing professor asked us to pass the scripts via his mailbox. He was in his mid-70s. A monument to Soviet cinema living in the monument of Ukrainian regal architecture. I still remember that shaky feeling walking through the hallway of the 19th-century building to feed my struggled scribble to the slit mouth of a green box.

Then I moved to Lisbon. No one to send me a postcard signed with “P.S. I love u.” How little I knew of what can touch one’s heart. The first envelope with my name contained my social security number. I didn’t expect a legal letter could make you that happy. It felt better than finding coins between perfumed sheets in the letters from my Canadian pen pal back in the 90s.

Last week I’ve been checking the mailbox every time I was passing by: going to groceries, on the way back, leaving to cycle, and before putting the bicycle on my shoulder to carry it to the 4th floor.

I have this gut feeling, you know. Today didn’t feel like anything special, though. Except I made a scandal. It was the first time in Portugal I raised my voice in a phone conversation (in any other as well). Even more, I was so furious that limited vocabulary didn’t impede me to express my rage. To calm down, I left to grab something sweet. The mechanical movement to open the mailbox and boom, I’m sitting in my baggy Indian-style pajama pants on the concrete stairs with an envelope on my lap. I’ve been waiting for this day more than for my birthday. Because I never had to wait for two years for an anniversary, as I did for my residence permit. You call it a plastic card, I…

Helen Vechurko

Creative director. Writing fiction