A few weeks ago, Marta woke up during our walk at Novodevichiy Monastery. Normally, she sleeps from the moment we get outside till, sometimes, an hour after we're back in. But this time, she was either feeling too hot (it was before the winter finally made it here), or she was disturbed by me singing Santa Lucia (I was in a very good mood then and had just read a story by Ray Bradbury, in which someone was singing Santa Lucia, too). Anyway, I had to cut our walk short and was on the way home - and Marta was having a screaming fit until we reached the little open-air market where there were enough distractions for her to calm down. Her sobs, however, had made an old, tall, sloppily-dressed woman accompany us for a while. First, she shook her keys - big, old-fashioned ones, attached to a thick metal ring - in front of Marta, thinking that the sound would cheer her up. It didn't work, but I thanked her. Then, out of the blue, she started telling me about her son: that he used to have a millionaire wife (millionersha), but he dumped her (and all her cars and apartments) for a younger girl who was now three months pregnant. The rich one couldn't have kids, the old woman said with disgust; all she had were three cats. Of the young and pregnant one, she spoke with the same disgust - possibly, because the girl was poor. I said something about kids being such a blessing, regardless of who their mothers are, and hurried away from the old bitch.