"[Yakov] clung to my arm so hard and so menacingly looked at me and shook his bald head that I thought he might have some sort of heart attack. I jumped out of the cabin into the corridor and stopped. What the heck was going on? What did those bulging eyes and skewed lips mean? I’ll cry out to the conductor and give him your little bag, if that’s what you want! The conductor was just walking into the car when I saw him. He stopped to wipe the window with a rag. Should I tell him or not?"
"I was sure that we were going to one of the train stations. But we drove for a while to the edge of town and swooped under the bridge of the Encircle Line. Little dacha villages one-by-one flashed in front of us and then disappeared behind us. Our car hurried off, taking us somewhere far away."
"I’ll give you my word, had Valentina asked me if I had any problems, if I was bored, or had she at least sent a simple yellow card and not this one with cliffs and eagles and the sea that taunted me and reminded me of a beautiful life that was totally unlike my own, and, finally, even if she hadn’t reminded me three times in the course of the short message about the laundress as if that were the most important thing, I would have answered her with the whole truth."
"But a strange, unexplainable anxiety once again settled in our apartment. It appeared together with an unexpected phone call, or knocked on the door at night under the guise of the postal worker or an inadvertently late guest, or hid in the corners of father’s eyes when he returned from work."
Dubra, part IV (final) By: Radiy Petrovich Pogodin After lunch Dubravka knocked on Valentina Grigorievna’s door. “There,” Dubravka said, walking into the room. She placed a large wet seashell on the windowsill. “I got it for you. It’s the one that was deep underwater. I went down for it with a rock. It was a … Continue reading Dubravka, part IV
Dubravka, part III By: Radiy Petrovich Pogodin One evening a delegation from the high schoolers’ drama circle along with the director showed up at Dubravka’s house. The girls were in front. The were nervous and now and then squatted uncomfortably, adjusted the pleats on their skirts and looked every which way. The boys sucked in … Continue reading Dubravka, part III
Dubravka, part II By: Radiy Petrovich Pogodin The house that Dubravka lived in had an eerily joyful look to it. From one side it resembled a crooked mosque, while from the other a Greek temple. There were attics, Moorish arcades and fortress ramparts adorned with rusty weathervanes. Stone and wooden staircases crawled out of the … Continue reading Dubravka, part II