November 29th, 1944.
Describing this dream, Sasha Ekimova read my diary. It spoiled things between her and me. Yes, it was my doing now, being too precious about it, because her and I are soldiers and we share everything – and sorrow, and joy. Nobody is perfect, and I don’t blame her for that negative trait I noted earlier.
Roza and Sasha
Again in the newspaper office, 7km away. We wanted to leave, but could not until tomorrow. Music! The radio playing the nicest things. Poured my heart out to Agnes Butorina, that I did not dream about meeting a special someone, inasmuch as there have been new reports every minute. And the world? A mess all around. Many are already no longer girls; I do not blame them, but they conduct themselves with dignity, like Tonya P. She is a woman with honor, and that is hardly allowed on the front. But most of them are still girls.
Was a concert yesterday, handsome boys, children, danced well, and the whore “A” acting lovely, but looks like she is careless about who she hooks up with. Supply Chief – of course, to enrich herself, no love like a penguin.1
I remember two little acquaintances: Nikolai Borovik, he is less significant to me and less memorable; then Nikolai Shevchenko, although he was not a match for me, such a child. And I am not writing them, it would only be for the sake writing, and I don’t dream about them.
In fact, I haven’t figured out my future, but many options: 1) in the institute; 2) maybe, if that doesn’t work out, then – social service, give myself fully to the education of orphans, specialize in teaching preschool; 3) most likely, kill myself, when I learn the fate of the country and some family and friends. For the second, I’d still need to learn a few things, become qualified. I haven’t really thought much about it, so far off.
I wanted to train in communications, Morse code, etc. Behind the front there are courses in signaling, but I’m leaving soon. I want to have a lot of different specialties, even if I don’t work in them, just to know, in case they could come in handy. Well, finished dreaming, tired today.
December 2nd, 1944.
Oh God, how boring it was, came to quartermaster supply depot, in anticipation remembered everything, everything. The main thing: before my eyes two pictures:
1) Laying in a dugout in the 36th division, 338th regiment near Vitebsk [Belarus]. Pavel Blokhin with his pipe in his hand, shouting over the phone: “Oh, you’re such a mother-fucker.” I sit next to him, and he hangs up and smiles at me.
2) Running with Nikolai Solomatin by the Neman in the woods, on the riverbank, through the bushes, running quickly. I remember the feeling: no scarf on my head, green forest, wearing camouflage. A hot sunny day. We ran farther. Nikolai looked at me, having a hard time climbing a steep cliff, he took me by the hand and helped me to climb up, kissed, and we kept running. I got stuck on a bush and tore my camouflage, only had panties and a bra on underneath, asked for a needle and thread, sewed it up, and we kept running. We went to the high-high bank of the Neman – left field, far from the forest, the river to the right, and across the river a meadow and woods. Going quietly, looking at each other, suddenly scribbling machine gun fire to our left – it was Fritz. Quickly we jumped down the riverbank and into the bushes.
I remember that night, I went with Nikolai to some village, near the Germans. Went through the woods all night, Lithuanians led. Went around the forest to a river, came to a tall hill, made camp there. We went to relax under the bushes on a camouflage cape, then stood up, warmed coffee, boiled soup, ate… after that I don’t remember, or even what side of the front we were on. Remembered: in the village had a fierce battle, but I don’t remember any more.
I remember the big march, the rain, I didn’t even have a telnyashka2, soaked to the skin. He brought his wool dress uniform, but I didn’t take it – only took a cape. By night we were soaked, in a puddle, so much rain. We spent the night together in a horse-cart. How I liked him, singing a song: “Where are you honey, where, where are you, where are you, where are you, wherever the war threw you…”
Boredom, playing accordion in the workshop, about how hard it all is, how I want to go there right now? Forward! To where the most brutal fight is; I want nothing else. Why not, huh? Oh, these stupid commanders! Done writing.
1 Literal translation of the Russian. I think it may be a reference to “Song of the Stormy Petrel” by Maxim Gorky, wherein the “fat” penguin hides in a crevice, presumably gorging on fish, while the courageous, revolutionary petrel soars through the storm. Or maybe the supply chief just happened to look like a penguin.
2 White and blue striped knit army undershirt.