It was the second day of her being left alone in a huge apartment. The apartment belonged to the family friends, and a girl and her mother stayed there several times before, during their vacations in Moscow. The two of them would usually have the living room for themselves. The girl liked this room because there was a huge bookstand full of books about art and artists.
This time it was a biography of a Renaissance painter. There were nice pictures of the painter’s work and she would spend time looking at the pictures instead of reading the facts from the biography: he was liked by the ladies, he was a friend of the Pope, his career was short but successful. However, now she felt tired of the book. She spent the whole morning with it. What to do next?
The TV in the middle of the room was useless. The girl tried it the other day, and then again this morning. Maya Plitsetskaya was doing fouetté after fouetté for the prince and his court. Her mother commented the other day, that every time something had happened in this country, they would show ballet on TV. The girl thought that probably something important was taking place, because the Swan Lake was shown non-stop, even if the TV programme in the newspaper had other things in it.
Francis, a dog of the apartment’s owner, was the only creature there. Francis was a polite dog. She did not bite or bark but was quietly sleeping during the whole day in the other room, showing up only when the grown-ups were back. The dog and the girl waited for the adults together.
During the first day when the events started unfolding, the mother gave the girl the passports, the money and the tickets back to Alma-Ata. Probably the mother wanted to keep these things safe, so she thought that all these would be more secure with the girl that remained in the apartment. The girl accepted everything, but she was wondering why she was given all this stuff, and what she was supposed to do with it in case her mother would not come back in the evening.
The apartment was quiet during the day. The sole object that produced some sounds was in the kitchen. A radio. Probably it was her mother that found the right station, so the girl could listen to it. The name of the station was Echo Moskvy, and from her mother, the girl knew that Echo was the only radio station that was reporting from the square. These reports were not regular. They appeared every hour or so, when a male voice on the radio would say that people are building the barricades, or someone is making a speech. Many of the names of the people who were speaking in the square did not make much sense to the girl.
This was the second day when she was moving between the sunny kitchen through a corridor to the darkness of the living room and back. While the girl was making these rounds, she would stare for several minutes in front of the entrance door in hope that her mother would come back. However, she also knew that probably the mother was busy “saving democracy” as she put it. It was important for her mother to be there in the centre of the events, in the square in front of some white house.
The girl thought that her mother was outside in the sun surrounded by people. The girl knew that because her mother told her about the meetings that were taking place, about people who showed up in the square. Her mother was doing something useful and important, while the girl felt suffocated in this huge apartment. Alone.