June 3 1998

They start the day off with a big breakfast at a cafe popular with tourists and locals alike, though it’s late enough in the morning that they’re able to get a quiet table near the front windows. B orders eggs and kolbasa, while L attacks a plate of syrniki with red currant sauce and sour cream. Both of them drink spiced tea from delicate but chipped china cups, and under the table, B keeps hooking his ankle around L’s. It’s a comforting sort of pressure. For now.

It’s not lost on L that this could end up being a mistake, but the deed is done and there’s no taking it back now. And it had been nice, sleeping with B in that too-small bed, their legs tangled together, B waking up first and lighting a cigarette, smoking while he fiddled with L’s hair. If it could stay nice, that would be perfect. 

But ‘nice’ doesn’t feel right, after too long. They’re seasoned self-saboteurs, the both of them.

For now, though, there is warm breakfast and golden sunlight streaming in through the windows, cheering up the cafe’s faded red-checked curtains.

“A’s apartment building…” L says from around a mouthful of food, then swallows. “For long term use the sensors are probably electronic, not battery operated. We could try cutting the power.”