"What Irina Ivanovna helped me to understand," said Tanya after another sip from her glass, "Was that it is just one step from love to hate, but the step from hate to love is even shorter."
I put down the hair dye, gave both of Tanya's solid biceps a good squeeze, and told her:
"While you were telling me this, Tanechka, I noticed that your face grew softer, younger somehow, it was almost as if you were a different person."
"Yes," Tanya agreed, eyeing herself in the mirror. "The liveliness has slipped back into me from those days."
When I was done with Tanya’s hair, we stood giggling, patting at our matching tin foil dreadlocks, and then I showed her how to download a clip (this was in the days of turtle-slow internet) from the classic Soviet comedy, Kavkaskaya Plennitsa (Prisoner of the Caucasus, or Kidnapping, Caucasian Style). When it was ready, on Tanya's signal, we both raised our hands in the air and danced towards the bedroom, singing, taunting Tanya's husband of the moment, who sat at another computer with his back to us, pretending to ignore our antics:
"Esli by ya bil Sultan,
(If I were the Sultan)
Ya by imel trekh zhen...
(I would have three wives)
I trinoi krasatoi
(and by three kinds of beauty)
Bil by okruzhen
(would I be surrounded) ...