WeWriWa—Invited inside


Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. This week’s snippet comes a bit after last week’s, after Igor has had some guy talk with Violetta’s 6-year-old baby brother Fernand. Violetta’s mother, Granyechka, then leaned through the window and shouted down to Igor that he was welcome to come inside. She invited Fernand in too, but he passed up the offer of hot chocolate and lots of warm cookies in favor of spending more time with his friends and not going right back into a house full of women.


Saint Varlaam of the Caves

Fernand goes back to kicking the ball while Igor heads inside.  Igor knows which apartment is Violetta’s without even knocking, not least because it’s the one right across the hall from Fedya’s old apartment.  This apartment has a large ornate Crucifix in the center of the door, along with several prayer cards depicting Saints Olga, Vladimir, Dmitriy Donskoy, Boris and Gleb, Varlaam of the Caves, and Serafim.

When Igor steps inside, he’s hit with a delicious scent wave of cookies, hot chocolate, pie, and cinnamon.  The walls are bedecked with more Russian Orthodox imagery, cutouts from movie magazines, photographs, a few posters and paintings, and artwork, tests, and homework assignments.  Igor averts his eyes when he sees the name Mariya childishly scrawled on some yellowing papers with very simple crayon drawings.  If he’d lost a child, he’d stuff those things away in a locked box in the furthest recesses of a remote closet, instead of keeping them on the wall to be tortured by every single day for twenty-one years and counting.

“Welcome to our humble home,” Granyechka says. “Those are my other surviving daughters, eleven-year-old Flora and fifteen-year-old Ariadna.  Please, have a seat, and I’ll serve you whatever you’d like.”

screenland clark gable july 1948

July 1948 issue of Screenland, which Granyechka doubtless would’ve had on her wall. She absolutely loves Clark Gable!

Mariya was Granyechka’s firstborn child, who died of diphtheria in April 1927, at three years old. Her second child, 3-month-old Khariton, died of diphtheria at the same time. They were buried in the same coffin, with Khariton in his big sister’s arms, and some of Granyechka’s milk dribbled on their lips.


14 comments on “WeWriWa—Invited inside

  1. What an interesting thought Igor has when he looked at Mariya’s crayon-written name. As always, your detailed descriptions bring the scene fully to life. 🙂


  2. Kim Magennis says:

    Very poignant scene, Carrie-Anne. And very Russian, the pragmatic way that the dead and living are jumbled together in life for the survivors.


  3. P.T. Wyant says:

    I don’t blame Fernand for wanting to stay outside and play — although I might have been tempted in for cookies.

    Interesting how different his way of thinking about a dead child is from the way the parent thinks.


  4. Ed Hoornaert says:

    This just goes to show that people grieve in different ways. I almost wonder if posting her signature isn’t akin to the icons of Boris and Gleb, et al.


  5. Author Jessica E. Subject says:

    It sounds like Granyechka is still struggling with Mariya’s death. Even with the delightfully yummy scents, I think it would be an uncomfortable situation for Igor. Nice snippet! 🙂


  6. Just a fascinating slice of life in all ways. I could smell the wonderful baking smells 🙂 Excellent excerpt, I was ‘there’ for sure while reading it.


  7. Karen Michelle Nutt says:

    Fantastic imagery with smells and sight and thoughts. As for the grief- everyone deals with it differently.


  8. Jenna Jaxon says:

    Great juxtaposition of the comforting smells and the evidence of continued grief. Live and death go hand and hand. Very poignant scene.


  9. The details are very poignant here. The Gable poster is very cool. I love Gable too. The death of the two children..chilling, gruesome even. It is so disturbing how matter-of-factly death was handled back then, and how sadly common it all was.


  10. I think cookies would have enticed me inside, house full of women or not. Great visuals of the house and room. I love the bit about the deceased child and how he thinks he would deal with it compared to how the parent does. I like how she also introduces her children as the surviving ones, as if she is not disrespecting the memory of her lost daughter by forgetting her. Quite touching, and heart wrenching.


  11. If the food tastes as good as it smells, he made the right choice!


  12. It must be so hard to leave in constant reminder of the loss. I wonder what it does to the “surviving daughters” and if it gives them survivor guilt.


  13. Everyone deals with grief totally different. It’s so crazy. Great snippet.


  14. What a hauntingly sad though to think of two wee souls sharing a coffin for eternity. That line really stood out here for me.

    ♥ Jessica


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