During the night the local regiment of the Soviet Army fled from the town with their tanks and odds and ends, leaving the garrison barracks on fire. As the result, all the day fearful rumors were circulating among the undergrounders about Azeri paratroopers coming by helicopters and attacking the nearby villages.
At four a.m. the mother-in-law came to knead the dough (bread baking is her personal medicine to suppress fears, I guess).
In the morning I went out after water. Where is the outward migration of the population I had been talking about? There were queues at every springhead.
The Club saw a flying visit of one more minor VIP in the newspaper staff.
By the way, of all the enterprises in the town only the barber's near the Picture Gallery works today.
After lunch, the mother-in-law was absent, gone with breads to the downhill town; the remaining three of us also went out and headed to Orliana's.
Sahtik, for the first time, saw the destroyed Kirov Street, and said it was not as horrible as one could expect after her mother's accounts.
Ahshaut thoughtfully gazed at the ruins of the photo-pavilion at the Central Park.
At the Lower Circle, we met my mother-in-law coming back from her visitations to her daughters with a load of sugar and meat in her bag as she proudly informed us.
In the basement corridor the two sisters kissed each other. There was a drinking dinner for males in progress. I sat at the table but ate nothing and drunk even less.
Leva, Valyo's loyal buddy, told a story about some youth who went to Hojalu for looting and brought back a pair of 16-kilogram weights for bodybuilding exercises.
<!-- A culturally promising looter!-->
Valyo and Sego went out to see us off.
Valyo felt like fortune telling; his parting words were: "There are horrid things to come; I anticipate it." And he gave Ahshaut a good-bye kiss.
When back at home, I carried the potatoes brought by Sashic to the mother-in-law's cellar. At our place the rats are too active by her estimation.
Then Leva, Valyo's pal, came by a Volga driven by the constant third participant of their drinking bouts.
The driver, Leva and I hauled two milk-flasks full of water out from the Volga's trunk and took them over to our hall-aka-kitchen.
One of the flasks was left there as a present for us from the generous Director of Milk Factory (Valyo) the second was to be emptied and taken back.
The mother-in-law sent with them one more loaf of bread for Orliana.
One page from Joyce.
I'm feeling not so well, seized by some inner chill.
After supper, I accompanied our family to Underground.
They are real treats—these evening walks towards the Underground when Ahshaut is waddling along with his hand in mine, prattling, now and then, nobody knows what.
In Underground's dark anteroom, an enthusiastic woman is every night performing a mutual prayer around a feeble candle. The congregation consists of a little and steadily diminishing flock of kid girls.
As for my prayer, it remains concise and clear:
Good Night To All.