To the edges of the Universe a blooming steppe spreads sprayed with bloody-red drops of poppies. Dark and anxious a golden sky is. She feels low but growing hum, waves of sound come along the surface of her body, what a desire to unfold herself, to expand herself more, to the east and to the west, to the north and to the south! They are swarm; their motion is aimed to the point beyond her knowledge, but she will accept them and envelop them from all directions, and give herself to them without thinking. Hoofs of burning with fire horses already trample her body at the horizon. The nomads rush by farther, whooping and shouting furiously. "Come to me! To me!» - the stepp appeals, and the horde follows through her mythical spaces, crumpling tender flowers, flattening grass to the earth, but this is nothing in comparison with the ecstasy of motion. In scattered echoes her soul of a giantess is, in echoes...
At night you awake and the street lantern tries to choke you by its neon loops while clock arrows come down and slowly crawl to seven. Sometimes you look at the face of a man who sleeps next to you, he is so scraggy, skin and bones. Look unwillingly, with fear.
Then I see you in the subway, wearing a lovely knitted cap and high little boots. There is a woman sitting in front of you. She is old and smells with school canteen. Her lips are torn from a magazine's cover: they are fleshy and carmine as if it is still possible to deceive somebody, to seduce somebody with these lips. Your mouth is fresh and rosy, you don't need a lipstick.
Nobody will help her to avoid the destiny of unfulfilled, being too decent madame Bovary over-dreaming herself to and through. The pocket love novel is in her hands. It is titled "Tears of Passion", or "Wounded heart", or "You my only one"... She is dead in her forties plus grandchildren, but she doesn't know about this because the main thing in her life is to follow common rules and the woman will never violate this bidding.
Salt that chewed up her black shoes, chemical permanent made by her friend in home conditions, violet eye circles (weak heart, Sereja's case) - this silently calls for your mercy when you ruthlessly prepare this dull creature with the scalpel of your short glances. Relax - you will never be like "She ".
Where is love - you are asking being beautiful in such a feminine, such a lively manner, a reproach to doll-like standards of mass culture. Where are no chains, where you can leave just in the moment when you understand that you were wrong, to leave for meeting something that will never pass, that will make you suffer and rejoice eternally?
Constantly you keep remembering Sereja crying before you on his knees. Possibly if there were no these incredible tears everything would go another way. It was unpredictable and therefore foul act from his part. At the beginning you had been confused and had been staring at the reproduction of Goya's "Sleep of mind gives birth to monsters", and irritation was filling you more and more because there could have been nothing more ridiculous than to hang this pretentious copy in a modern, gray Sereja's room. The irritation was loudly buzzing inside but you were not able to move your stare as if your eyes were kept in blinkers. And then Angel of Good Intentions pushed your back, and you said for some reason that from that day you would be always with Sereja because you finally understood that you loved him.
Everything could go another way but now is too late. You desperately want to flee somewhere. Still you are buried for an hour in t a subway wagon, and you are not courageous enough to change your route.
The light darkens in your eyes, and again you sleep placing your head to a big man who sits near you... Rough upper clothes merged with his body as a dark bark with the trunk of a tree. Hey, he is afraid to move himself not to trouble you, as long you are rare butterfly somehow taking a seat on his shoulder.
On the stretched arms, in the pit of her hands a black bird with heavenly-blue breast is building a nest. What will happen if she gets tired to stand like this and let her arms down? She sighs heavily and the bird happily twitters at her future home. Closed palms are soon to break into two symmetrical halves, the great weight presses on them...
"How hard... with every year it becomes harder and harder to tame him", - the stranger's voice is complaining rather loudly, you open your eyes and see a shorthaired woman a bit older than you. Her remark is addressed to a dame standing near and reminding you a "black widow" spider.
"If I were you I would long ago give him up and start thinking about myself", - the "widow" responds in an inscrutable tone, and a woman with a boy cut nods her head showing her agreement that the time really came and she is going to follow the advice.
"If I were you I would show him to a psychiatrist. Mine is not a god-blessed either but he is too innocent to peep for naked women. The problem is in the TV", - the widow says and you start to hate her because of that chronic sense of shame this conversation arouses in you.
You want to get up and go away but you won't do this - the wagon is overcrowded and you don't bear forced contacts!
When you were 14 you climbed to a hayloft and stayed there to wait when he and she came there to love each other. You were hiding under the hay like Angelica, Marquise of Angels, and were anticipating what should have happened. You touched your girlish breast with a blade of grass and asked yourself if kisses were so tender or not. Everything was easier and at the same time much more complicated than you had imagined and your hands slipped across your body that suddenly became free of any covers.
They didn't tell any romantic words to each other as if both of them had not known them at all, and only some strange hoarsy sounds were escaping from the woman's lips. Then you invented the rest for them, and you were happier than them. You called him Sigrid and she was Gudruna but in reality only your purity saved you from the terror of disappointment.
The rest of the night you spent crying. For the first time in your life you felt yourself a sinner and told about what you had seen to the brook as one trusts to the water his nightmares. You wanted to rid it completely of your memory. But since then you will never be able to regain this feeling of world harmony that was so natural and therefore imperceptible during childhood.
How old is this boy? Seven, ten years? In comparison with insolence of modern culture alarms of these hens seem to you amusing. Poor boy! He was taken aback by some harsh hands and got to know that a naked woman meant pain and shame. Some day he will take revenge on her.
They come out of the wagon and you follow them with your sight.
You are hard to sleep, there is something but a few stations left and like an annoying insect the image of Sereja makes circles in front of you.
It doesn't matter that he will die soon. He will live inside of her ante mortem- certainly if she isn't able to corrode all the memories.
He substituted her dream of love with his own. He worked from morning till night, he thought she wished to have home, children, to read female magazines and interior magazines, and also specialized magazines about flowers. He worshipped her too much to be a good lover.
But you thought about other things. About what? About mystical conflux of "two", about cognition of Universe with the breadth of immense androgyne soul, about freedom in desires of body. You didn't need illustrations, you wanted to see everything in reality, with your own eyes.
He loves Nautilus Pompilius, lyrics by Kormiltsev and Butusov is the extreme point for his understanding. In the beginning of your acquaintance he often cited "The cage":
Oh herald of sky
Forgive me that I
Have caught you in rye
That now you are mine.
You didn't even consider it to be poetry.
He doesn't know who Rilke is, in one letter he wrote "your adored Kavka". But why God attends his dreams with scaring regularity, and you who studied Scripture inside out, who cried every time over Gethsemanian loneliness of Christ have never seen Him?
So you are looking for something that will make you suffer forever, you have already found it but what a subtle kind of mockery, it is not love but chronic, fatal sense of guilt that you are struggling with using all your petty abilities.
You go up from the subway. You come by the press stand and decide to get for yourself "My beautiful garden" illustrated magazine. While walking you examine abundant inflorescences of purple hydrangeas, admire Chinese corner which is somewhere especially fashionable in this season, in this depressing autumn, shake off transparent drops of rain from araucarias...
Then you accurately fold the magazine and put it in the little bag with your documents. In the passport you keep small student photo of Sereja, 3 to 4, where is obvious that even in the photo shop he continues to think about you. You take off the passport but when you open it the card sneaks out from your hands and falls to the puddle. You squat down and give a long look on his face through the centimeters of water. Finally you draw it out and dry holding it carefully by the edge with two fingers...
Your lovely eyes are hollow. You daydream, you want to see God because in the depth of your heart you somewhat, a little doubt His existence.
There are so many people in the library. Everybody is in the great suspense of reading. And you stand stupidly placing your back against the wall, and wait, wait for something to happen. Funny red-haired guy that booked George Bataille's "Hatred to poetry" can not turn away from contemplation of your quiet prideful beauty. No he is too bashful to violate your sham calm.
You slowly get warm under the rays that spurt from his round pupils. His soft dark-red hair will pleasantly tickle your back if you wish so. And he will retell to you Bataille that you planned to read long ago. You already imagine his pale pink lips touching your clavicles and those pale pink circles on your perfectly white skin. But you can't speak with him about Sereja to forget him like ill dream.
He dared to approach her, to ask her name.
"Amalia", - you answer with a bitter grin.
"Like the sister of Varnava who refused Castle official. Do you want to turn me down? - says Bataille's fan smiling in response
"Hey how bookish you are", - you say but inside you are pleased to meet twin soul.
"Vladimir, Institute of Literature, in a month I will be 25" - he introduces himself being not as shy as it seemed to you.
"Ah - an eternal student", - you artificially suppress yawn and think what Sereja is doing now.
"I will wait for thee!" - he pronounces in strange gramophone voice as if parodying his own pathetic intonation. - Today, tomorrow, always, since you are even more inspiring than my most capricious fantasy".
It flatters you. Is it bad that you are woman? Or being a woman is already bad?
You meet each other everyday while Sereja is checked in the New-York hospital where his father a genius of cardiology works. You wanted to fly to America with him but there were some problems with visa, lack of time and you surrender. For some reason you believed that he would return.
Your farewell wasn't marked by any dramatic effects. Sereja was reverently timid and banal, you winced from reserved tears, from caustic mixture of pity and dislove. Nothing was said aloud.
After his departure you stopped dreaming but your life is rich by itself. The heart decays in your chest alive.
Volodya enjoys everything that you like - books, classical music, vanguard art, and he always kisses your hand saying good-bye. You don't allow touching you in another way and even more he falls in love with your two-dimensional, fake but such a bright image. He doesn't know how it is painful for you to get up in the morning and to see Sereja's blue robe in the bathroom, and because of this ignorance he seems to you even sillier than he is. Your imagination is lit with dreadful light of surgery and wrapped with yellow bandage.
You sit on the bed in Sereja's room. Vladimir lounges next to you in the armchair.
"Usually I dream of my grandmother's house... so tumbledown, ancient, gone to earth.. I approach it and try to have a look inside of cross-boarded window but I lack height. If I manage to pull myself up to I see a dusty hall of the past century. It is cluttered with old chairs and human heads rise wildly from their backs. Sometimes the room is bushed with nettle, sometimes it is empty but because of this even more terrifying than the Doestoevsky's bath with spiders. You are afraid of death, aren't you? -he asks suddenly, and you feel pity that you began this conversation about dreams that will be consequently transformed into metaphysical ravings.
You stopped to decipher your own dream long ago. They didn't help you in anything. They fell into your unconsciousness without any sense like various events that chaotically invaded your life. You do know nothing about the world, and books even more bewildered you. If to awake you at night you won't be able to remember your true name.
In dreams you at least felt in the right way. Now you want Volodya to get away but scarcely, a little, without particular urge. Possibly you wouldn't be against if he kissed you.
There was soft, incomprehensible beauty in your dreams. In day life you have never seen something similar even when you stayed alone with the moon mystically kindred to you and again beaten by somebody black and blue.
"Certainly yes. Show me a man who isn't afraid of", - you say wearily.
"But I'm fond of thinking how I will die. It will be not very soon of course. I will die of exhaustion making love with adored woman. I will be old and extremely rich owing to my literary successes, and.."
"Please go.."- you murmur not listening to him, but Volodya has already taken a seat by you and touches your small ear with his rabbit lips. You childishly embrace him as some time ago you embraced your husband and in a moment fall asleep on his breast because your nerves are thinner than cobweb, because apart from Sereja, deprived of human warmth you could not have a normal rest for the second week. Volodya puts you close to him being happy of the fact that this night you will spend together. For sure he knows that you are married but this doesn't affect his joy of possession.
Abundant hydrangea blooming floods the hills. The plants grow so close that it dazzles. Like fans dark-green leaves semi-conceal purple inflorescences that carry unusual smell out of this Earth. The sky is void and doesn't contain any music, only a big golden kite with a long tail soars high above. Her sight slips down the line and she sees a gang of smiling children which drive the kite. Sereja stands behind her and holds her shoulders. "This is my soul, - he says and points to the sky. - Soon it will be free. Still there is no need for me here. But even if I forgot myself and yourself, my love to you will always live in it. Can you hear me? I am not a windbag". His usually resonant voice is flat. She rushes forward, runs down the hill but one curly little boy already got his scissors and is ready to cut the thread. She is late - an ascending air flow takes the kite away and soon it turns into tiny golden button. Now there is nobody on the hill where Sereja stood.
You awake with the feeling of "happened disaster". Volodya that today will disappear from your life forever innocently sleeps in your bed.
You wait for the telephone call. And indeed the telephone will ring in several minutes. Sereja's father will tell you with a slight American accent that this night Sereja died of heart deficiency, these very words will sound for you as a sentence. He will convince you that in this case his skill couldn't work a miracle that you are not guilty in anything and that Sereja was happy with you. Then he will ask you to come (why? Is it possible to stay in Moscow after...?) and while flying over the ocean you will drop in water abyss the bundle of memories - how you got acquainted, how you kissed by incidence, how you couldn't turn Sereja down and married him.
As before the world will seem to you irrational riddle without an answer, and your random dreams will not gain a new logic except of God under a cloud umbrella Whom you will see one day - one night.
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