An exemplary calm night was followed by a no worse day. The machine-gun shooting has turned already into one of nagging yet petty trifles of no account.
At 9 am, I visited the TMC where they glibly clapped the missing stamp-smear of theirs into my military identification card.
Maiden day at a new job. The Renderers' is a chilly corner room with three windows in two walls and three office desks. At times a pack of idling men assemble in it, one after another, to wag their jaws and to offset the air chillness with rough smoke from their cigarettes. Still and all it's a good thing to have a work place! And I tried to make a good beginning:
- in the room I borrowed from Wagrum the key to duplicate it;
- in the corridor I made friends with Alya (really, it's her first day too? well I never! a typist? wow!);
- from the Typing Pool I collected carbon copies of my four renderings to proofread them before submitting to the Head of Russian Section.
About 3 pm, I was told I might leave: there was no more work for today.
A nice and cozy family evening at home. Sahtik was playing with Ahshaut, Roozahna reading in undertone, the mother-in-law sleeping, I shaping and filing the duplicate key clutched with the pliers.
At 8 pm, the mother-in-law commenced to bake breads in the gas oven. I saw Sahtik and the kids to the Underground. There, Sahtik complained of unbearably cold droughts breaking in to the compartment from behind the hanging rags.
After a long and winding way meandering between and over the heaps, stacks and hills of boxes, pipes, bottles and sundry jetsam jumble, I reached the deepest, dustiest and darkest corner in the room. A pitch black hole—two by two feet—gaped there letting in a uninterrupted icy breeze. I stopped the hole with a piece of cardboard.
No sooner had I climbed out of that dust abyss through the sideway and a minor corridor than a tall gaffer rigged out in a stylish overcoat and expensive fur affair on his head confronted me in the main tunnel. He demanded my explanations as to what right I had to cut off the air coming in for all the Underground. I let the sleeping dogs lie and told him I hadn't seal it up completely, so some air was still getting in.
(...all things considered, my statement was true... well, to some extent. You bet he'd never dive in that dust maze to check if I was lying...)
At home, my mother-in-law surprised me by asking pensively if I trusted in God after all. I guess her queer query was prompted by some priest's visit to the Underground where he distributed leaflets of a printed prayer and books for kids, short stories from the bible with gaudy pictures.
I answered there were too many of Them, the immoderate number postponing my choice as of yet.
It's half an hour to the midnight. The mother-in-law has just finished baking bread and ventured to the Underground. I saw her to the crossroads.
The biting cold wind outdoors sweeps snow dust along the street. At times a random cannon shell spices the setting by its burst.