I left yesterday. The last person I saw was Larisa Pavlovna Babukhina, my next-door neighbor. We had shared a kitchen. Our landlady wasn’t awake yet, so I gave my key to Larisa Pavlovna.
I took the metro as far south as it would go, and then I rode a bus. At the end of the city, I walked for a little way before I was passed by a truck carrying supplies to Obninsk. The driver gave me a ride as far as Podol’sk, where he turned west. He told me about his son on the front lines, and he asked about my job, probably wondering why I wasn’t helping the war effort similarly. I told him that I was an executive at a factory that makes machine guns and that my car had broken down.
I hate lying. I don’t think I’m very good at it, especially in other languages. The driver seemed to buy it, though. After all, why wouldn’t I be telling the truth?
Podol’sk is an industrial city on the Pakhra River. It’s pretty big—about 72,000 people. I ate at a kiosk, and I managed to find an общежитие where I could stay for the night. It was very cheap and very ugly, but at least it was clean, and I have nothing to steal but money, which I keep inside my clothes.
Okay, so I brought a couple of books… and the dizi… but I put those in my bag and tucked them under my pillow.
I didn’t sleep very well at all. Strangers make me nervous, and there were millions of them… surrounding me… snoring and making other creepy noises in their sleep. I got up when the sun rose and started walking. I wasn’t hungry.
As I left town, I was picked up by a farmer who was on his way to Lopasnya. He didn’t seem interested in talking, which was fine with me. I stared out the window for a long time.
We arrived in Lopasnya before noon, and I should have kept going. But instead I spent the entire day here because I got distracted by the Davidov Hermitage. I had to pay to get in. It’s a tourist attraction now. I removed my hat anyway.
I stood for nearly an hour in front of the iconostasis. It was gilded and covered with icons of the saints and the apostles. In the middle was Theotokos, the Holy Mother. On the ceiling, inside the main dome, was the icon of Christ as Ruler of All.
There were a few old ladies lighting candles in front of the icons. I lit a candle to Basil the Blessed, asking for wisdom in my journey. I got quite a few strange looks, but I don’t care if people know that I’m not a party member. Lighting candles isn’t illegal, especially for me.
Tomorrow I will keep walking south. I hope to make it as far as Serpukhov.