. . .
It's time for us to sing : Those words have stayed with me. These women are tired. So too
is Russia. Decades of war, work, alcoholism, death, upheaval. These women are relishing
what they have, and decided that it's just time to sing.
We all walk into the auditorium, where Marina is on stage, singing a karaoke song, and
dozens of guests from the sanatoriy are clapping along. Sergei and I and the babushkas take
seats in the back rows. In between songs Marina announces that the Buranovo Babushkas
have come in, and the crowd applauds.
Sergei and I say farewell to the babushkas. I give Galina a kiss on the cheek and tell her
I'll see her in America, when they come for their first U.S. concert.
Before heading to the hotel to sleep, I want to thank Marina for her help and to say
good-bye. Then, tomorrow, Sergei and I will be on our way to Izhevsk for a quick stop at
the Kalashnikov museum, then back to the train and east to Siberia.
We catch Marina by the side of the stage, in between karaoke songs. (It was karaoke
night, but she didn't seem to be giving up the microphone).
“Zavtra? she says. [Tomorrow].” This was my fear.
Unbeknownst to us she has nailed down all of tomorrow's details. The sanatoriy
driver—and herself, of course—will accompany us to Izhevsk for all our interviews. Had
I heard this news earlier in the day, I might have cringed. But having spent that magical
sunset in the forest with Marina and the babushkas, I am enjoying her company more—of
course, with no idea what the morning may bring.