November 18, 1944

November 18th, 1944.

Mood is nasty, why? Was just now by Nikolai and spent the night, yet I’m still in a little bit of a bad mood. I met a boy in the artillery. Well, boy, likes me like crazy, extremely handsome and shy, but, alas! Nikolai is close by.

I remembered all of our relationship with Nikolai. I respect him very little, but respect all the same. The girls all like him, but this, I think, is only when they are comrades, and until he makes passes at them, although Sasha Ekimova might take him up on it. Lucky me. After all, I made friends with him so mechanically, not as I would wish. I remember the first day I met him on the offensive, when I “ran” to the front. Tall, dirty, mud, clay, long overcoat, like a true warrior. I respect him for his bravery, he is a Soviet soldier, but he doesn’t shine in upbringing or education – simple guy, a gunner? I remember the first days spent with Nikolai. Why do I not have the courage to reject him? The circumstances – cold and muddy, I undressed, I needed help, he helped me, otherwise, in a word, it was ridiculous. And now he likes me a little bit, and the rest I force myself, drive in the idea that I respect him, and that I miss him when I have not seen him. Why did I drive in the thought that I love him? Because after Blokhin I didn’t think of anyone, and I could not, and would not be alone, I want a friend, what else?

I now make friends with him, but I can’t understand why. He doesn’t have the character to live with style. All the treasures and presents – rags and garbage, and this he gives from the heart (suit, scarf, hat). He has no masculinity, wastes my time with picture postcards, like the other gunners, trying for my sympathy. This is not a man, a doormat; I love warriors. He fights well, but doesn’t seem like a Russian warrior, like a little girl, and I hate that.

Now with the girls, bored. Tomorrow a secret commission is coming with the artillery to monitor the girls’ behavior – I know. Oh, this army life, they all think we’re a bunch of prostitutes, and then are ashamed when they see these modest girls.

And Nikolai proposed to me, to make it easier to live together, formally, that we should be married, in the documents. No, I don’t think about marriage, even just in the documents, it would just make more gossip.

What kind of recognition of love from Nikolai? I’m not capable of feeling that, for this man, falling at the feet of a girl; I might give him the pet-name “doormat.” I still don’t understand, whether it’s true, or he’s a liar.

Singing a song with the girls: “I hate the soldiers’ suit, nowhere to rest, and we’re called ‘prostitute,’ without a bit of jest.” – and everyone crying, that’s the mood here.

Tomorrow artillery; where shall I go in the evening? And will I actually get there? So hard! Oh my God! On the front it was terrible, no success. Fritz wandering far away, shot badly. Today wrote down in the end something about I…

Dear mother, although you are not bored with me, I’m bored and have nothing to do. As you would want. No, it kind of seems that I should commit suicide, this is my future, yes, no other way. Learned in a letter from Yashka that I only had 10 minutes, and that he had gossiped about me with Captain Aseyev. No rest for him, even in the afterlife, that poor fellow.

Yes, I received a Certificate of Merit from the Komsomol. Wrote a letter to a girl – a stranger – who, like me, is eager to be in the fire of war. I told her everything. Yesterday praised the guys in the II division, today I say: bastards, messing with someone else’s mind.

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