When I was twenty-four, I went to a fortuneteller who traced the lines in my palm to inform me that I would marry, have children, travel extensively and live into my eighties. What she did not foresee, and neither did I, was that my dear friend Vera, whom I met in Leningrad in 1976, would remain in my life forever. She did not mention that our sons would be friends and that I would have the pleasure of observing the love grow between her son, Lev, and his future wife, Lauren.
To stand on Seven Mile Beach in the Cayman Islands and witness the wedding of Vera's son and daughter-in-law thirty-four years after we met seemed nothing short of a miracle. It brought back the astounding lifetime planning that Vera and her best friend Alisa had done to force open the iron gate.
For me and my contemporaries, the age of nineteen or twenty was fertile with possibilities. In the USSR of 1976, higher education, connections and hard work could not guarantee security and definitely could not procure freedom. Both girls were metaphorically locked behind an iron gate. I portrayed Vera as a director working on set design, production, script and choosing the actors. But both she and Alisa needed a military mindset of tactics and strategy to attain success.
To travel to the Grand Caymans, I bought my ticket, and flashed my passport. Vera and Alisa did far more. They took risks with their lives to reach this island and to keep their friendship and integrity intact. Their story deserves to be told.
For more specifics, please go to the "Choose Your Own Beginning" in the Deleted Chapters of our website, where you can read more about the genesis of this book. Thank you, RD Zimmerman for inspiring me with the "Choose your own ending" books.