August in Ukraine is viscous as honey. The whole world seems to be like a ripe fruit ready to fall down from the branch. Time slows down, and days are hot, and only if you stay in the shade escaping from the heat you can feel the slight breath of autumn.
...I am looking at my grandma. Her plump, suntanned arms are holding the ends of the apron, which is full of apples. With regal movement, she pours the apples out on the table.
“We will make jam, and in winter you will remember this day every time you eat the jam”, she says. August has the smell of ripe apples...
That summer was generous. Apricots and tomatoes, pears and berries, pumpkins, potatoes, corn, and of course the apples from our orchard - everything was bright, smelly, and full of sun, and even people seemed to be full of sun, looking like those beautiful people in Gauguin’s paintings. The golden tone of summer fullness kept us in the carefree illusion that nothing bad will happen. But the nights were veiled with chill, and the large stars shone indifferently, like as everything was sealed and foregone.
In December 1991 the USSR has disintegrated, and Ukraine has plunged into hunger and poverty for the next several years.