Last night and yesterday, I kept thinking about something. It’s a confusing something. Everything always is in the beginning. It’s only later that things start to come a little bit clear. Inside, different parts want to hug C or maybe more accurately, they want her to hug me. It seems to be tied to a particular moment. It is a moment from last week, sitting with C and helping her with maths and I was just sitting there, close to her, and I happened to look down at the badge pinned to her National Dress top because she is a captain. I suppose at that moment, the urge must have been there to hug or to be hugged, and I didn’t really think about it just then because I was busy explaining the Pythagorean Theorem. But it surfaces now at night, a week later.

What surfaces is the last time I was with my friends after Natashka died, and Grusha was on my left and Evechka on my right, and Leonya at my feet. We are sitting on the hotel steps, and this is what reminded me of hugging, because Grusha is holding me close against her chest. Grusha is big. Not fat, but a very sturdy person, like C is, only Grusha is actually tall and C is my height, which is something close to average. So the trigger is mainly the steps, that someone I feel close to is on my left side. And that’s all. Everything else is memory, including the impulse.

It seems to me then that they all sort of knew. They all knew this is what would happen. I am going to live and Natashka is going to risk death to save me and I don’t know that they all planned this together—it’s too difficult to fathom–but they knew. They have decided I will live.

In the morning, remembering this at last made me feel better. It gave me a sense of closure. There was the comfort in having someone understand how I felt and recognize that those were real feelings that mattered.

But later, I don’t feel better anymore. I feel overwhelmed with the burden of it. How do I live as the person who survived all of that? How do I repay the people who saved me?

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