Unwashed and undernourished, having spent over four days on five different trains and four military jeeps, Alexander got off at Molotov on Friday, June 19, 1942. He arrived at noon and then sat on a wooden bench near the station. Alexander couldn’t bring himself to walk to Lazarevo. He could not bear the thought of her dying in Kobona, getting out of the collapsed city and then dying so close to salvation. He could not face it. And worse—he knew that he could not face himself if he found out that she did not make it. He could not face returning—returning to what? Alexander actually thought of getting on the next train and going back immediately. The courage to move forward was much more than the courage he needed to stand behind a Katyusha rocket launcher or a Zenith antiaircraft gun on Lake Ladoga and know that any of the Luftwaffe planes flying overhead could instantly bring about his death. He was not afraid of his own death. He was afraid of hers. The specter of her death took away his courage. If Tatiana was dead, it meant God was dead, and Alexander knew he could not survive an instant during war in a universe governed by chaos, not purpose. He would not live any longer than poor, hapless Grinkov, who had been cut down by a stray bullet as he headed back to the rear. War was the ultimate chaos, a pounding, soul-destroying snarl, ending in blown-apart men lying unburied on the cold earth. There was nothing more cosmically chaotic than war. But Tatiana was order. She was finite matter in infinite space. Tatiana was the standard-bearer for the flag of grace and valor that she carried forward with bounty and perfection in herself, the flag Alexander had followed sixteen hundred kilometers east to the Kama River, to the Ural Mountains, to Lazarevo. For two hours Alexander sat on the bench in unpaved, provincial, oak-lined Molotov. To go back was impossible. To go forward was unthinkable. Yet he had nowhere else to go. He crossed himself and stood up, gathering his belongings. When Alexander finally walked in the direction of Lazarevo, not knowing whether Tatiana was alive or dead, he felt he was a man walking to his own execution.