Our house in the village of Dudarkov knew different times.
One year was marked with a proliferation of cockroaches. According to legends and myths, they were delivered to the house, which had never known them, by aunt Helena, whose Kiev apartment suffered from invasion. In a domestic disagreement, she was accused of bringing an aquarium with a hamster, a favorite animal of my cousins, and, with the evil beast, in the same aquarium, the insects, it was maliciously alleged, comfortably arrived. This terrible blame lingered over aunt Helena for quite some time—meanwhile cockroaches set about to be fruitful and multiply.
In just several weeks, the alive mass, the thick glistening carpet moved with rustling whenever you opened the door to the veranda at night. Once or twice I even saw white cockroaches, a lucky result of persistent inbreeding. With eggs between their agile legs, caring parents, as well as free mature individuals, and little, fresh, half-translucent creatures—cockroaches ruled the night veranda. Sometimes they were spotted in the living room and bedrooms, but most of the time it was veranda that was persistently occupied and densely populated. It was their celebrated place, a space of market and exchange, free flow and mobility, meeting, mating, and propagating.