"It was an early summer and the wild strawberries were ripe early and it was Tanechka’s birthday. She turned five. I stayed home to cook and to make the cake and they went to pick the berries. Your grandmother crocheted her a new dress, red, her favorite color, “To match the strawberries,” she said. It had little cap sleeves and a full skirt. She loved it. Oh, she loved it very much. I combed her hair in two pigtails and off they went, your papa with a big basket and Tanechka with a little one.”
Olga Afanasyevna choked and was silent for a while.
Olesya didn’t breathe.
“He told me after, he got so carried away by the time he realized she was gone it was too late. She loved watching the trains come and go, and there was a train coming...he ran for her, he said he has never ran this fast in his life, but it still wasn’t fast enough.” Another pause, a dead pause. “He saw the train hit her. He said she flew up like a flower, like a cut flower...”