Story Go Round 01/19/2002, round 2, #1


Gretta Markovich rounded the stairs to the second to last landing of her apartment building. They were nearly her stairs, tread worn by only her since no-one had occupied the top floor for three years. The women around the burn-barrels sported with her for staying in mourning to this degree, but then, they were all common. An only son entered your marrow, and Peter Patinkov could hardly be an exception, now could he? She stopped her upward charge abruptly, gawking at the door to the top apartment - it was ajar, flung open to the world like it belonged to everyone, and not to her alone. There was no sound coming from her apartment, but Gretta had long ago learned to look carefully before she leapt anywhere. Should she return to the first floor and try to wake Anton Batrovich from his vodka stupor, she would incur not only his wrath, but that of her aching hips from the nine flights of stairs. Old women shouldn't be disturbed like this, she thought as she sidled past her apartment to the top floor and open door. Peter, Peter, I could have used a kind word. She'd taken to resenting the absence of his ruddy fresh face, his dockyard smell and supportive remarks. She grumbled daily for lack of it, and never so much as right now. Gretta cocked her head and strained to catch a sound from the gaping entrance. She could hear nothing but the cries of the fishwives and sea gulls, so she took one step slowly at a time. Slowly the door was eased to a full position, and Gretta took in her whole apartment at a glance. The old samovar stood out on her little dilapidated, all-purpose table, right where she had left it this morning. She often visited her late son's apartment to make tea - her stove worked but poorly but this is the most she could do to invade the space. Now steam rose from the kettle. A sound came from the kitchen, and a stranger, a young woman emerged.

Amber is purple; John is pink; Alan is blue; Terry is orange