I was on the way to see my friend, whose husband died of cancer last fall, at the age of 40, and whose daughter is 8 months old now. I was bringing her some of Marta's clothes that are too small for her now.
I boarded a metro train at Livoberezhna. At Gidropark, the train stopped near the police booth in the middle of the platform, and I saw my father's portrait pasted to its window. It's been there all this time. Very conspicuous. Or maybe not. I'm not sure. But for a moment, I stopped seeing things around me. All I could see was papa's face. For some reason, I didn't get off the train right away. Then I did, walked inside the police booth and talked to a heavily made-up woman in uniform there. Asked her to please take it off. She promised they would. What if mama sees it, I thought. She takes metro every day to visit us at the dacha. What a blow it would be to her.
We went to the park with my friend. At some point, she began telling me about her husband's last months - and his last hours. It was a more detailed story than the ones she had told me earlier. Their daughter is so beautiful, though, such a miracle.