Over the course of the night they spread their filth on everything they could. Dashka had guests yesterday. You get the picture. And everything had been perfectly clean.
Kamila: At work almost every day people ask me how many rooms we have, how many tenants. Every day I promise myself that I'll do a count. Nine rooms. As for tenants, there are more, because there are two or three people in each room. Next to me live my favorite—quote—neighbors, who get rowdy at night. Next to them lives our neighbor, the fat lady. Next to her, of course, lives Natashka with her brother, or more like, more like, more like her brother was living with her, and now he's in his own room. Natashka is young, she's a year older than me. Next to them, I mean to her, is Lena, an artist.
Lena: I've been here, I think, five or six years. A totally crazy apartment, long hallways, parquet. The old timers say that the parquet used to be kept polished and was always clean, in contrast to the present situation. And everybody's having it out with each other, everybody's dissatisfied with something, everybody's sorting out their relations, somebody wants to figure out why something's done one way and not the way he wants. Why the toilet smells like cigarette smoke. Why, like, it's dirty there or whatever. And sometimes everybody's fine with everything. And sometimes you can be walking through this huge apartment and you won't run into anybody.
Lena: So this is mine. The door in the corner. And two windows. Further down live Natasha and Egor. After that are the Lobanov girls. Across from the Lobanov girls are their parents. Further down: Valentina Ivanovna, the Mironovs, and Yulya.
Savva: I got him in the foot.
Ilya: Something that really struck me recently. I knew that he was a very good writer, I read two of his books that haven't been translated into Russian. Amin Maalouf.
Yulya: What language does he write in?
Ilya: He writes in French. His first book is a history of the Crusades, written from an Arab point of view. That is, through the eyes of Arabs. And it's written like a novel, it reads like a novel, it's simply...
Yulya: That's because it is a novel, probably...
Yulya: Don't any of your friends have a fireplace?
Ilya: Well, not the kind where you can....
Yulya: You can use any fireplace to smoke in. You open the damper, that's all. It takes the smoke away.
Ilya: I'll keep that in mind. I mean, the next time, the next time I run across a fireplace somewhere, I'll ask, "Can I..?"
Yulya: Of course, theoretically, it was used for heating, but the way it is, at the present time, when we have people living upstairs, it's not possible to light it, simply because they crammed a log down the chimney when they renovated. So for almost two years now we can't make a fire. Even though, in general, we've had fairly cold winters, and it always saved us. The upstairs neighbors know about the problem, the same way that they know about all the other problems they made for us, but the upstairs neighbors, so to speak, prefer to preserve their image as naive people who don't understand, for example, that putting wood up a chimney could create problems for anyone. Or that a leaking roof could create problems. I simply think that it's everybody's personal choice, to notice or not to notice that there are other people living in the building.
Lena: And this is where Vitaly and Aza live... I keep forgetting her patronymic. Here's the toilet. And further on is the big, this big kitchen. Here's the smoking space, here's the service staircase, here's the drying room, the drying room, and a window into the courtyard.
Kamila: We have one neighbor, I don't know how old she is, I think, over eighty, who's been living alone for a year now. Her husband died and I, well, simply, she naturally told me all about her life, you know? And I see that she looks for an occasion to—she lives next to the kitchen—when somebody is in the kitchen, doing something, she often comes in, you know, just to talk, even about something really trivial. And it happens sometimes that I get up and go into the kitchen, say on Saturday, you know, on a day off, and I'm not in the mood to socialize with anybody, just not. And somebody, you know, somebody else is in a completely opposite condition, right? They want to chat, and I don't want to offend them, and the whole thing is a little painful.
Kamila: Closer to the kitchen lives Egor, Natasha's brother, next to him is Galya, and next to her... you see, I can't remember her name and patronymic... it's still complicated for me... lives the...uh...aforementioned grandma.