In those years N. was young and believed that some day he would write a great novel. I gave myself to escapism, read Tolkien and dreamt to wake up in the company of a beautiful creature sitting on my windowsill, her long hair concealing naked lustrous body. Intoxicated by my own reveries I wasted my time and systematically destroyed hopes of my parents on my entering the university. N. actually paid little attention to this fact, and soon they finally left me alone: though rarely my mother knocked the door of my room where being curved like an embryo I was lying with a book, and in complaining tone asked me to eat something.
I let my hair grow, my frizzes performed their task amazingly quickly. I looked like Robert Plant, N. was very much proud of it. Without a twinge of conscience I spent my parents’ money, bought heaps of various oriental trash and the most part of the day I was preoccupied with burning scents to the gods of dolce far niente meditating in the clouds of choking smoke.
I wouldn’t have said I enjoyed such life, rather “no”, than “yes” but N. didn’t even assume that it could have been different. I went in the streets and the city fell on my new-built world and turned it into a pile of archeological broken pottery. During my isolation I forgot how to perceive reality properly, the crowd threw me from one corner to another, I always happened to be at the center of a whirlpool, at the point of an absolute emptiness, and therefore couldn’t go further – so many bodies were rushing past me making a well on which bottom I was standing, small, with unutterable expression on the face, that of the children being lost by night.
The city frightened me and made me take refuge in the first crevice I would find, and a gray light scared me, because it served as the beginning of a new day equal to its poor contents – an endless running, disquietude and nonsense.
Most of all N. and me were afraid of getting down to the subway: I went there as one person and left it as another, this disgusting smell the citizens got used too long ago and now don’t notice it, the smell of nickel (greasy with thousands of sweaty hands trails), it was coming from my pores. Loathing in touching someone’s sleeve, loathing in streams of someone’s breath, loathing on the cover of someone’s book. As everyone perhaps did, in the subway I was feeling the presence of someone’s will, of the will which moved forward and then to the circle legions and legions, I was feeling the danger to get lost and die, to lose the way in the maze of crossings - being too weak to fight with this will.
Sometimes I imagined that we were moving not horizontally but vertically – down and down, to the hell, where on the dusty throne was sitting Demiurge of this immensity resembling a crazy engine-driver and provoking this specific kind of terror which one experiences being pushed on the rails just before the coming train.
There, downwards, we are not people, we are underground monsters, suspicious, silent, aggressive. I always hated subway.
An eighteen-year old N. was a personification of neurosis, a dark, reticent, spiteful animal – he had been hiding in his lair and waiting to his moment, his tiny eyes shining. Any telephone call “female-voice-tenderly-you-have-dialed-wrong-number-dear”, any mentioning of my friends’ victories on the battlefields of love, any ordinary romantic motive which flied into my Buddhist paradise from the street, were tearing out shreds of my nerves.
N. became a real freak due to this special matter. Juvenile languid captured me in the late evening hours, and I was bursting to nowhere, soft, molding, thin as a thread as if being passed through a needle hole – there and back. Shame on me, sometimes I closed my eyes and slowly touched my lips with my fingertips, oh, heavenly delights. N. was sure that no one was able to make woman happy as I could. Just add coy shyness, lustful roaming glance and squeamishness to all truly existing women. N. loved to wander in the evening park, picking up lovers’ whispers. There was no border between dream and common occurrences: I dreamt in reality and made future plans while sleeping.
N. ran all the women, young and middle-aged, beautiful as fairies and extravagantly ugly, all these nuns, whores, walking “inferiority complexes”, lolitas, donuts… I avoided them in cooperation. “Everything isn’t right, I’m not right, they aren’t” – N. said me many times. “More that she has the best girl can’t give”.
In his dreams N. appeared to be Piram caressing Thiesba’s cheek with his twinkling lashes through the gap in the wall, or Perseius, that lost his common sense for a few seconds hypnotized by the power of Gorgona’s gaze, that for a few seconds withheld his sword, or Orpheus lusting for Euridica’s shadow. At night having buried my face in the pillow I could swear that I was listening to singing of sirens, and when I was cleaning my teeth there was completely different image covering my reflection in the mirror, far more masculine and noble, N. as an ancient warrior, wreathed by a golden helmet with a bright-blue crest, N. as a returner from the Great war, and admiring Greek virgins were kissing the edge of my purple cloak.
In July N. for some reason couldn’t stand this further, he was quiet exhausted, I felt pity, packed my bag and went to the country to my parents’ sincere joy – they naively thought that I would take care of a small, vividly decaying house and would make a kitchen-garden there where last five years from granny’s death tall weeds, burdocks and lovely bluebells had been growing.
Actually first days after our arrival N. was full of enthusiasm that left me when I cleared some area for my existence – the room on the second floor. Sad anticipation settled there and for hours it was sitting almost silently in the corner, extinct, lifeless, trilling tunes in unknown language. N. had brought it and it jumped from my shoulder. We got alone well.
N. wrote poems. I sent my oevres to few thick magazines, I was sure that they were worth of being published. I was even proud a little. How I wanted to enter human world, to get into it’s white rooms with avant-garde paintings on the walls, but it didn’t need N., a person with lack of talent but generously rewarded with indolence. Then I decided that N. should have parted with me. He had driven me mad with his whining.
All was over in a dull October morning when the sun didn’t rise on the East. The woods were rustling in autumn way, the hawk was gliding noiselessly above the trees, and yellow mushrooms had thickly covered the soil. Invisible movement filled the air - the terror was everywhere. Wind rush broke one of the pines and it fell with loud snapping having scratched the wall of my house with its branches.
I pushed N. to the cellar, slammed the entrance lid and put old wardrobe over it. In an hour or two renewed, happy, adored again by my affectionate Mom I was warming myself with the cup of hot tea. I swore solemnly to start preparation for my exams and immediately called to girls.
The train started, the station remained behind, desolated, covered with moss and fern, and someone commanded to pull down the rails.
I almost succeeded, family, salary, etc. But I miss him so much – him closed, useless, trembling, defenseless before open jaws of nightmares. I betrayed myself to keep myself.