When they come home from their office jobs to a small two-room apartment in a tiny town outside of Moscow, Marina and Elena change into almost-matching pajamas with cat-and-paw-print patterns. They are both 28, and they have been living together for less than a year.

Their story began in preschool, when Marina was in love with a boy named Kolya. They were so taken with each other that their parents ended up becoming good friends, staying in touch even after Marina and Kolya’s romance faded.

Marina and Kolya grew up and both married different people when they were 20—no younger than most Russians. Marina had a son. Nine months later, Kolya’s wife, Elena, was due to give birth to a daughter. Kolya suggested they go see Marina, whom he hadn’t seen in years. His parents had told him that she had a new baby with her husband, Vitya. They could go see what a real one looked like.

They went to visit, and the next day Elena had her baby.

Read the full excerpt at Slate.

Verified by MonsterInsights