Natalia and Walentyna both yearned to gain Pavel’s favor.

The Minsk Theater of Youth had come to the Academy to perform for the young children of the town of Dimitriov. The young ones were brought into the amphitheater and filled the seats row after row.

Pavel Popolov knew the show would be very exciting, having traveled to Minsk with Mama and his older sister, Olga. But the young man’s dilemma was one of the heart. For you see, Pavel was an eight year old Lothario. The young girls in the neighborhood were taken in by his charming smile and wide inquiring brown eyes. And there was no mistaking, Pavel enjoyed the attention.

Natalia and Walentyna both yearned to gain Pavel’s favor; to savor his candy sweet demeanor. Pavel could not decide between the two. He liked them both.

But such serious decisions were not in a hurry to be made. Pavel knew that nature would provide the answer to his “problem”.

During the puppet show, Pavel sat between Natalia and Walentyna, just as he had planned. The children were delighted by the antics of Popo and Mishka, the cat and mouse, but especially Pavel. He remembered when he had seen the show previously there was a frightening part where Popo tries to eat his little rodent adversary.

Laughter filled the hall and the show neared conclusion. Just as Popo opened his mouth and headed toward Mishka Pavel feigned fear and clutched at both girls hands, thinking that the one who did not pull away would be the girl for him. But best laid plans of Mishkas and little Russian boys sometimes go astray.

Pavel felt both young ladies lean into him and grab his hand tightly. Still, Pavel could not make a choice. But he did not care. His Uncle Ivan was happy with many girlfriends. Why would Pavel need to decide?


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