The night was shattered by bombardments: seven volleys of six to ten AlazanALAZAN —
a missile contrivance for destroying hailstorm clouds which was easily converted into artillery weapon in the initial stages of the Karabakh war 1991-1994. missiles each were shot at different hours... A missile from the second volley exploded fairly near to our place. There followed a stretch of deafening silence in the street followed by hasty footsteps and agitated male voices. 'Where? How?'
A not too distant voice called out, 'Hit here!'
Ahshaut slept okay through all the night.
Stretched on my bed, I followed through the matte glass in the panes of our three—so absurdly wide!—windows the languid flame traces of AlazansALAZAN —
a missile contrivance for destroying hailstorm clouds which was easily converted into artillery weapon in the initial stages of the Karabakh war 1991-1994. flying towards their earsplitting crash.
During a lull between the attacks, I had a oddly long dream.
... the bombardment's over I'm coming back home through the raw rays of rising sun amidst a silent crowd going the same way and an old women—dark and strange—asks me to help and at once puts a girl of nine on my back to carry along I catch the legs of the kid bestriding me and feel through her brittle stockings that her left leg is cut at the knee and the oldie plods after me assuring her dear Ira-girl that now all's gonna be all right and when we part I enter our room just in time to hear Sahtik's call from the kitchen that I have a visitor and going over there I'm confronted with a close-up of a hen spread out on the asphalt floor with its head chopped off a second before and the bird wriggles its neck ending with a pulpy ringlet of raw meat while the girl that I carried along stands by and she turns up to me the smile on her face shadowed by lank bangs of her dark straight hair falling over the brow to her eye-sockets where instead of eyes only seamless patches of pinch-tight skin...
It's a quarter to 10 am, the night is over, Ahshaut is playing with his wooden blocks. Sahtik has dropped in and stepped out to ring up her sisters. Roozahna, reportedly, sleeps in the Shelter.
My mother-in-law went to her work place to wash the floors there, which, actually, is her job.
Same day, evening
At 11 am I turned up at my soon-to-be work place just to find the renderers' locked up. I went upstairs to Ms. Stella's office room who informed me there was no stuff for translations.
Back at home, Sahtik announced her intention to take the kids to the downhill part of the town and shelter for the night in the basement of Orliana's apartment block.
A senseless plan if I were asked, yet I preferred to keep my humble opinion to myself in the hope that the long walk and change of place and doing something—however senseless it might seem—would do her more good than just sitting and waiting for nothing good.
Then Sahtik spoke of her funny feeling when scared suddenly. She feels an icy curd that starts up inside her and gets tighter and tighter until it gets real hard.
(...quite contrary to the heat decompression of my innards after the splashclutch...)
We set off through the autumnal drizzle never letting up all this day.
Roozahna mouthed off nonstop about missiles, shelters and stuff until Sahtik, shedding off her despondent meditation, ordered her shut up. My seized up back grumbled under the weight of the bag with victuals and kids' clothes, so I kept silent too and only Ahshaut bubbled up with joy at having an all-out walk and now and then issued yells of delight...
Walking back alone, I was as slow-go as the ceaseless rain itself.
Yet, a couple of times the sun peeped through the clouds to perk me up and set the tiny raindrops a-glitter.
By the Department Store I met my former workmates at the gas pipeline constructing firm, a couple of horny-palmed lads of Baluja village.
Vartan asked if I had enrolled a
(Armenian borrowing from Greek) "freedom fighter". group and by his up-palmed hand he kinda sawed across his chest alluding to my beard.
'No,' said I, 'I have not, and beards can't be privatized by guerrillas as their league badge as long as both artists and drifters have the time-honored right to sport it.'
Further uphill I encountered Murad, a KRUZ truck driver, barging down along the sidewalk as any mortal biped, he did it as bulkily as his bull-truck. We just halloed each other.
One block higher, at the next crossing, I exchanged a courtly nod with Guiro, a gaffer from SMU-8, hanging uselessly around—a white-collar remains a white collar—on the opposite side of Kirov Street.
Near the Theater I was saluted by a group of my former pupils from the Seidishen Village School. They looked like adolescents already because of that fluffy down on their upper lips. Kids can't but grow up. These village boys are growing up into a war.
At 8 pm I went out to make a call to the Orliana's on the payphone round the corner. No one was over there to answer. Everybody's gone down to the basement shelter, I guess.
Half an hour later I had a supper with my mother-in-law. Then she left for the Shelter. A mattress and blanket stay there on a permanent basis to stake off the sleeping-place.