She dressed in warm tights, a pinafore, a bomber jacket and a coat over it. And under her hood she wore a knitted hat with handles.
We walked along Prospekt Mira, strolling for a long time, freezing, and turned towards the iced-over Yenisei River.
When we first came to Krasnoyarsk the Yenesei had already frozen. We were supposed to go out towards the frozen Yenesei but we didn't. We wanted to go into the Krasnoyarsk Hotel. The local TV had told us that that's where the best sculptures would be.
There was nothing going on in the city. I have very hot hands -- so I never wear gloves. And she forgot her mittens in Moscow, even though she'd prepared for the trip for a long time, she forgot about them anyway. I took her hands into mine and we moved on. I was wearing the kind of rynok-bought "sheepskin" coat made out of gray tarpaulin (which I'd traded for a pair of Levi's with Taras Rabko). With a beard that looked like I was some provincial grandpa, and she looking like a provincial granddaughter. And yet those two characters were in fact copulating!
Finally daddy and his little daughter (or grandfather and granddaughter) made their way to the Krasnoyarsk Hotel where I photographed Nastya standing before giant ice bottles, glasses, shot glasses and some kinds of utensils. It was colder than 30 below zero out, so we didn't cross the highway to the frozen Yesenei. We went home. On the way we bought some port wine and food. At home I cooked a pot of chicken. We ate it all. Nastya downed her glass and I had two or three.
Then we pulled back the covers on the bed, lay down, embraced, I ripped off her night shirt which my mom had sent and, as they say in the old respectable novels, "There wasn't a happier couple in the whole universe."
I understand now that I was living in paradise. I could watch as she'd shuffle to the toilet in her night shirt, sleepy, her eyes barely open. How she'd dress in the mornings. She'd put everything on while lying down: underwear, tights, pants. When they finally brought us an electric heater -- thanks to Irina Mishaneva -- we could finally walk around in as few clothes as we liked without shivering. So that's how she'd dress, catching her underwear on the soles of her feet, lifting up her legs, raising them up into the air and pulling her underwear up her soft little legs and over the rest. She could swear filthy words if the process took longer than she'd wanted. She was an animated object and, having hit the table or bed, she'd yell, "Jerk! How dare you!" and launched into invectives. Still a baby, yet already a woman with a hardened character, an absolutely special girl. She felt, in every step, in every movement and act, a kind of holiness, at times a holy fool. Probably Joan d'Arc was the same way. I know women. I've never seen one like Nastya.
Having got up, Tiny Nastya drank watery tea from a small bowl, like an old woman. She drank slowly and assiduously. At first when we met she'd eat in the mornings, but under my influence she stopped eating. Then she crossed the kitchen and went to her room, where she sat down at a large table, full of affectations and talking to herself, she set about on two types of activity. Either she'd read a thick volume of Fomenko/Nosovsky's A New Chronology of Rus, England and Rome, or she'd diligently write. She wrote several notebooks' worth, though she'd never show me the results. So I didn't see them. She sat in such a way that from behind you could see her thin neck, and from the nape of her neck her tiny little rat tail. I shaved my little blond girl's head down to the scalp several times, only leaving that little rat tail.
We'd join together usually around three. We'd chat, enjoy ourselves. I'd make lunch. She'd behave coquettishly. Gray-blue eyes, curious nose, ruddy cheeks... Tomorrow my lawyer Sergei Belyak will lead her to a press conference where she'll announce, with Belyak and Genrikh Padva by her side, that she's "The common-law wife of Edward Limonov." Together they'll present my book The Hunt for Anatoly Bykov" the very same book that I wrote while with her on the shores of the Yesenei.