My name is Dominique, Dom – for short. They say, dogs cannot recognise themselves in mirrors. Anyway, I can guess what I look like. I am a nonstandard white poodle. Too tall. With long (not curly) hair that gets easily tangled and fancy pom poms on my legs. The fur on the back of my left ear has a dirty-yellow colour and resembles a dark patch. “The dog has a defect,” remarks my first owner when purchasing me. He wants me to make a good duck-hunting dog. However, I fail. I am too softhearted for that.
My owner hands me over to his daughter by his first marriage. Thus, I move to Lviv to join my new family – the Tsyliks. There are six of them, three generations of five women and one elderly man sharing a small two-room apartment with a kitchen.
The oldest lady is Big Grandma. She likes watching TV in a big armchair. Stout and huge, she is the core of the family. Her husband Colonel is a former Soviet military pilot. He is white-haired like me. He talks little and dwells on his childhood memories. Tamara is their elder daughter and my first owner’s ex-wife. Twice divorced, she is in constant search for a better life. Tamara’s younger sister, Mama Olya is a modest and romantic teacher who loves telling tales. Also divorced. Both sisters have daughters – Masha and Marusya. Masha is a difficult teenager who draws well and wants to return to East Germany where she used to live with her mother and stepfather. Marusya, the youngest girl, is blind and the most cheerful of all the Tsyliks. She wants to study literature and get her eyesight back.
They are good people or just people – a bit naïve, a bit disillusioned, a bit melancholic, a bit comical. They all smell differently – of strong tea, caramel, chamomile shampoo, laundry, heart medication, soda, hair dyes, ink, bread, and engine oil. However, they all smell out of place here – earlier, the apartment belonged to somebody else whose presence is still noticeable. As time goes by, I will learn to love them all. I will help them turn this place into a real home.
Viktoria Amelina is a Lviv-born writer and participant of many Ukrainian and international festivals. When she was 14, she immigrated to Canada with her father, but later returned to Ukraine. In 2014, Amelina made her literary debut with her highly acclaimed novel November Syndrome, or HomoCompatiens. In 2016, she published her first book for children Someone, or the Water Heart. Her third novel is Home for Dom, recently published in Ukraine. Since childhood, Amelina dreamed of becoming a writer, instead, she spent 10 years working as a programmer and manager in international companies. Now she has devoted herself utterly to writing.