It was lunchtime at Chorsu Bazaar, and the wooden benches of the choykhona were filling up with hungry families. The room was dark from the smoke of cigarettes and shashlyk. I took a space opposite an older middle-aged couple, sitting with a boy of about six.
As I started my bread and coffee, the woman began chatting with me. When she learned where I am from, she switched from Russian to perfect English; she explained that she used to work at a railway institute, teaching English to Uzbek engineers. Between the woman and her husband, the boy was playing with a toy helicopter, too shy to look at me.
“How old is your grandson?”, I asked them.
“He isn’t our grandson – he’s our son”, the woman replied. “In my fifty-fourth year, Allah gave us a miracle.”
We kept talking. The boy relaxed when I took some photos of him, and showed me his helicopter.
As I said goodbye to the family, he said, in Russian: “When you see Steven Seagal, say hi from me!” I promised I would.