AnaStasia Lived Two Lives
AnaStasia Lived Two Lives
Previously Published as "AnaStasia by Ninya"
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The Story of One Life Lived Two Ways. Have you ever wondered "what if?"
In this parallel lives story, Stasia’s and Ana’s stories alternate, connecting together at crucial turning points in AnaStasia’s life.
In one reality, “Stasia” is the beloved daughter of doting parents who spare no expense in supporting her ambition and talent. Adoring not just their daughter but also one another, their home is full of celebration, warmth and love.
In another reality, “Ana” washes dishes at a nursing home to buy her carefully-budgeted art supplies, waiting until her alcoholic father passes out before creeping downstairs to paint. Ana must survive her father’s nightly verbal abuse without any help from her silent, cowed mother, until she can retreat to the only place she feels safe, in front of her easel.
In Ninya’s mesmerizing serial novel, Stasia’s and Ana’s stories alternate, coming together to describe the crucial turning points in AnaStasia’s life. She has a gift for compelling storytelling, building nuanced characters and relationships while carrying the reader breathlessly through the life of one woman, but two very different lives.
Read a Sample
She was born Anastasia Sierra Lane, “Anastasia” from the Greek for ‘resurrection.’ You don’t get to choose your family of origin; they are assigned to you by the random lottery of the universe. Some people hit the jackpot, while some get kicked in the teeth.
This is the story of one life, lived two different ways.
“What a loser you turned out to be, down in the basement with your finger paints every day.” Len spit the words at her.
Thanks, Dad, always so supportive.
She said nothing, trying to make herself as small as possible and fade into the background. The only way to survive was to diminish; fold herself up into smaller and smaller pieces until she disappeared.
“You’re never going to amount to anything.”
She wasn’t even angry anymore. She had heard it all before, so many times the words had lost their meaning. She knew them all by heart. Stupid. Fat. Ugly. A waste of space.
“I’m sorry, Daddy,” she said dutifully. She poured him another drink, heavy-handed, knowing that the faster he passed out, the faster the insults would stop. She had gotten used to telling him what he wanted to hear.
You’re right. I’m sorry. I was wrong.
These lies were the answer to almost anything.
She started the dishes, filling the sink with water as hot as she could stand it. He watched her, and she avoided eye contact, focusing completely on the task. It was like when you meet a bear in the woods. Don’t run and don’t make eye contact. It was considered aggressive behavior. Play dead. Don’t draw attention to yourself.
He finally moved to his recliner. She heard the familiar whoosh sound as he kicked up the footrest. The TV came on then, Wheel of Fortune. Loud. In a few minutes, he would be passed out, and then she could retreat to the basement, to the only place she was truly happy.
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The paints called her name in her dreams, where she chased the dancing colors, riding rainbows and flying through ever more brilliant hues. Days were spent trying to transfer a little of that dream onto the canvas. She tried and tried and sometimes came close, but the colors were never as vibrant as those she saw in her dreams.
She put the music on her Walkman and got lost in the waves of colors. She was spoiled by the attic her dad had spent an entire winter transforming. He’d put in four skylights to let in the northern light, knowing how crucial natural light was for an artist.
“Honey? Are you up here?” her dad called from below.
“Yes, Daddy,” Stasia sang out. She turned the music down and heard his footsteps on the stairs.
“What are you working on, beautiful? I brought you some Whoopie pies. Gotta keep the talent properly motivated.” He winked at her.
Stasia smiled warmly at him, her dad, her hero, but said with mock sternness, “No treats until I get this shaded right!” Her father stood behind her quietly, watching her work for several minutes and studying her graceful, sure movements before turning his attention to the canvas.
“This is your best yet.”
She turned toward him, frowning. “Really? The purple and the green and the white right here seem too dense, not vibrant enough.”
“No,” he said simply. “It’s perfect.”
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