I scarcely need to include here the details of the previous day’s events—I imagine that I will never be able to forget them—so let me state simply that yesterday was the day I met Yongnian Tan, and that today was the day I found my sister Odeta!
Yong found me by the Nara. I hadn’t been able to find anywhere to stay in Serpukhov, because everything had been taken up by the war wounded. After all, I was hardly going to go about taking lodgings from injured men, even if they were Soviet soldiers. I do have some honor.
Speaking of the Soviets, I would like to state here how much I despise them. I’ve completely lost my patience. The run-in at the hospital is absolutely the last straw. After secretly plotting to split my homeland with the Nazis, and then actually attacking it, and then changing their communal minds and attacking Germany and expecting everybody to just accept the new philosophy without question, and of course there’re the gulags, and the destruction of the Orthodox Church and its artwork, not to mention censorship… Have you heard Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk? I will never forgive them for eliminating my beloved Polska from the map.
Oh, just look at all of the underlined words in that bit. I have clearly been reading too much Byron and Keats. I hope no one ever sees this. I write like a girl.
To return to the subject at hand… I am glad I met Yong. It is very good to know that I am not alone in the world. Meeting him was almost like recognizing someone that I used to know. I can always feel his presence, too, in a strange way—it’s an eerie feeling up and down my back. I hope it generalizes, and that I’ll find others. Just think of the possibilities there!
What are we, anyway?
Are we the blessed of God? Are we angels? Are we prototypes of the Übermensch?
Whatever we are, I’m sure it’s for a good reason.
It seems fitting that people like us would emerge in a time like this. This is the End of the World, I think—everybody thinks so—and we’re the answer to the Destruction. We’re like the prophets Elijah and Moses—we’ve come back from ages of sleep—and we’ll prowl the earth for days before we die and become immortal.
It is up to us to stop this War.
Listen, I am revealing my Romanticist colors again. I had really better go and pray for a while for humility. It is probably crazy to think that I am really anything more wonderful than anyone else is.
To deny the Truth for the sake of arbitrary humility would be a greater and more subtle form of pride.
Saint Basil, pray for me.
Something terrible has happened to my sisters. Odetuchna won’t say a word about it; she just refuses to hear a word of German—even if it’s set by Schubert—and chops onions to hide her tears. All she will say is that Ksenya is dead, so there’s no point in my looking for her.
My imagination, as already established, knows no bounds, so it’s no good my writing down any of the things I envision happening.
I’m debating whether I should just leave Odeta here, where I know she’s safe—temporarily at least—or whether I should take her immediately to the ambassador in Sweden and have her wait there for Mama and Kaja.
I want to spend all of my time with her—Odeta, I mean—but she’s busy with chores and taking care of the littlest girls. So, I’ve been practicing with the dizi a lot. I have managed to make fire work, and I can pretty much make small animals do whatever I want. I had the most horrible thought this afternoon. What if I could actually make something stop living?
Apparently I can do it just by breathing, too. I punched a tree and broke my hand this morning, and when I breathed on it, it seemed to get better. It made my shoulder burn, though. It's strange that I've only noticed it today, but there's a funny glowing feeling every time I do it.
I really have to come up with a way to think about this. What am I doing? "Using my magical powers?" Too creepy sounding. And what is it, anyway? I haven't got a name for it; I haven't a noun or a verb, and I need both.
There was a group of four or five girls that begged to hear me play the dizi this evening—they were about fifteen or sixteen—and since Odeta was working in the kitchen, I said I would. My hand still ached, but I wanted music, so I defied common sense and played anyway. The girls kept giggling, which was annoying, because if they wanted to hear me play, then they should listen. I think they just wanted to drape themselves in my line of vision and stare at me. I am not this attractive; apparently they are short on young men. So I… made them stop giggling and pay attention.
I don’t feel quite right about using it on people somehow.
There was a little girl—her name was Maria, I think—the one who seems so attached to Yong—asked me to teach her to play. She had a hard time getting the idea; she kept trying to blow into the flute instead of across it. But playing with her was much more fun, because she was actually interested in music, instead of just trying to stare into my eyes.
Anyway, I am writing this while Odetuchna puts the babies to bed, so hopefully, later we can have a talk about Sweden. I suspect she’ll want to stay here, though. She has friends here, and something to do with herself.
I'm glad this day is almost over. It was a good one—but a confusing one—but a good one—but... I'm so tired.