She had a neighbor: a granny who lived on the same floor. She considered herself rather a fairy than an old woman, but let’s leave it like this.
The granny had her own business: a container of garms to sale at the local market. And a foreign lover, a German, I guess.
If the granny was already about seventy, the German surely was not less than about eighty. I saw him once, when he hovered at the granny’s door with a bunch of flowers, whereas she was proudly chirping standing next to him.
And she was chirping a lot at that.
And generally speaking, she tried to behave as though she was 25 not 70, and that made her seem still older.
The German was probably totally blind and did not notice she was ugly as my life.
The granny consumed tons of make-up and made the guy to bring cases of creams, rouge and fard from that Germany of his.
She used to rub herself with that stuff until she looked as a Soviet-time cake with lips like cherries and ran to boast to her neighbor – my mother-in-law.
“Look, Tanya, at his wonderful cream and how it youthens me!”
“Yes-yes, it’s definitely a genuine Azazello’s cream…” – her neighbor agreed with irony unheeded by the companion, trying to find her personal things in the house after a 24-hour shift.
My mother-in-law’s particularity was sometimes to pause to think for a while and then, as a person, who has daily to do with life and death, give out observations with such cool directness that made your hair stand on end.
Thus, I was waiting for her to say something to the granny that would not please her at all.
And it happened exactly that way. They met at the elevator. My mother-in-law was freaked out after a 24-hour shift, whereas the granny, with one more cream spread to glistening, nastily winked, as only youthy crones are capable of, asked: “Do you notice something in me, my dear Tanya? It must be a dramatic change.
And my mother-in-law answered good-naturedly: “Nothing special. Old bones as before”.
The woman seemed to be seared with a hot iron. She darted back home and slammed the door with the force that sent a cloud of what was left of the plaster flying in the air.
They stopped all contacts after that, not even a word was spoken.
To be precise, my mother-in-law had a go after a thorough sleep, as usual, but the granny kept funereal silence. Later on, she even sold her flat, container of garms and left.
And not for Germany, but to live in the country, because the frank either saw the light or died.
Azazello’s cream – magical rejuvenating cream from M.Bulgakov’s novel The Master and Margarita.