This concludes Chapter 83, “Halloween Happiness,” of my WIP A Dream Deferred: Lyuba and Ivan at University. It takes place over Halloween 1950. This week’s snippet comes about eleven pages after last week’s, when successful local pinup model Lyudmila Kotova (née Vishinskaya) met her future second husband at a Halloween party in Minneapolis.
He introduced himself as Anton Dubov, a photographer and agent who was born in Russia in 1917 and later lived in Berlin and Paris. Anton escaped to England after the Nazi invasion and served with the French Free Forces, and after the war was invited to work for a New York photography studio. Since boyhood, he’s been documenting his life, unfolding history, and the places he’s lived through the art of photography.
Anton gave Lyudmila a ride home in his luxury car and walked her up to her apartment. Lyudmila let him look around and made two mugs of hot cider. All the while, Anton tries to tell her to stop living her life by a set in stone checklist created by other people and just follow her heart.
This has been slightly tweaked to fit ten lines.
“Have a good night, Mrs. Kotova, and think about everything I said. You can’t make a long-lasting, successful, memorable career out of conformity.”
After Anton leaves, Lyudmila locks the door and pulls the business card out of her cleavage. She sets it on the kitchen table so she won’t forget, wishing it were already tomorrow at 1:00.
As Lyudmila removes her Halloween costume, she imagines Anton watching her and touching her. If only she and Raisa had waited just a little bit more, they would’ve found much better husbands, and Raisa’s twins would have the right father.
There’s no one to play divination games with, and Lyudmila knows they’re a mixture of superstitious nonsense and wishful thinking, but it’s worth a shot to try a few of the tricks for dreaming of a future spouse. Lyudmila turns her blue nightgown inside-out, rubs lemon peel on her forehead, and puts a mirror and apple under her pillow. She may dream of Anton anyway, but the odds are now increased.
Lyudmila goes to sleep with a smile on her face, hoping her Halloween happiness parlays into something even bigger and better.