If you’re observing Tisha B’Av, may you have an easy and meaningful fast!
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, I’m sharing the opening of Chapter 9, “Increasing Attraction,” of my fourth Russian historical. After last week’s snippet, Violetta agreed to come to Igor’s birthday party, and after he left, she and her baby sister Flora begged their mother to keep mum about how they had polio.
Violetta then phoned Igor’s great-aunt Valeriya and a number of other people who know her secret, begging them to keep mum too. When Igor arrived home, Valeriya was on the phone with Violetta. Valeriya urged him not to get his hopes up so much after only one meeting, and said he might find someone else he likes even more. She also said good relationships take time to develop.
The Kalvik penthouse has long been used as the site of many celebrations and get-togethers because it has a lot more space than anyone else’s house. Katrin Kalvik-Nikonova, the mistress of the household, is a longtime friend of Igor’s parents, and the one who paid for Violetta’s iron lung so she could finally go home for Orthodox Christmas 1943 and not lose her security blanket.
To make sure the Kalviks and their servants understand the importance of keeping mum, Violetta arrives at Igor’s birthday party at 5:45, ahead of all the other guests. Though she’s sure all the other young women will have fashionable knee-length skirts and dresses, she’s changed from her ankle-length turquoise school dress into a teal blouse with elbow-length sleeves and a black ankle-length skirt. The only time she wears modern knee-length hemlines is at home, without any company, where she feels safe revealing the caliper on her right leg. At least she no longer wears a caliper that goes under her foot or around her ankle. With the somewhat shorter caliper she can hide under long hemlines, she’s able to compensate for her unfashionably long hemlines with pretty, fancy shoes, anklets, and nailpolish.
“You’re awfully early,” Katrin observes, looking up from a Japanese textbook. “I suppose you wanted to see Mireena and Milena before anyone else arrived.”
“Well, yes, but I also wanted to make sure you remembered what I told you on the phone last Saturday. This is really serious business.”
Katrin is teaching herself Japanese (her twelfth language) in preparation for a journalistic trip to see the aftereffects of the bombs. This trip will eventually land her in lots of hot water with McCarthyists, and will be one of the book’s other major storylines.
P.S.: Happy first birthday to my rook piercing! This was my eighth piercing, my seventh ear piercing, and my first real cartilage piercing (not counting my nostril). Sadly, I recently had to retire my beautiful navel piercing because of obvious rejection, but I’ve still got all nine of my ear piercings and my nostril, and I have plans for many more ear piercings. The rook is the barbell with blue gemstones going through the antihelix crus, the small, thick cartilage fold at the top of the ear.