N’s vacation is almost over and he’s getting ready to leave. I’m staying on with Klara because we are Soviet people at heart and we exist under the moral imperative to “take the kid out in nature” for as long as possible.
N is being very solicitous of me because he thinks it’s heroic I’ll be here alone with Klara. He reminded me of a scene in a famous Soviet novel set at an early collective farm in the 1920s. When a daycare was being organized at the kolkhoz, a collective farmer said that the women who were going to work there didn’t need to get paid at the same rate as other kinds of full-time work.
“It’s not like it’s hard to take care of toddlers,” he said.
The kolkhoz women were so enraged that they beat him up.
“I’d tear that motherfucker to pieces with my bare hands,” N says decisively. He stayed with Klara while I was in Seattle, and even though she’s a very easy kid, he was wiped out.