How can you know that all those things may happen in the dreary dreams
of them who are rarely seen or noticed or thought of on the land of snow
deserts surrounded by seemingly unpenetratable woods and covered by the
ocean of heavens?.. The Suburb of good town N-sk. Is also a place for happenings
and for people.
But might be seen to be against people: Rambler thought it to be like
this. The major thing about him is that he thought of himself as of an
efficient artist, he meant he had successfully finished the Academy of
Art in the forementioned town of N-sk. Had some job. Something pleased
him, something did not and there had been nothing unusual about him. «A
little bit spoiled by the flat question», just as most Russian people are,
although he needed not to have a roomy appartment for his boozy rows, just
as most... He didn't like that.
Rambler's Neighbour couldn't take this attitude in, that's why every
Friday evening he used to appear at the solemn Rambler's corner. Neighbour
violently needed company. Probably Rambler would have never let him in,
for the neighbourhood in misfortune of living in these shattering blocks
had never served as a reason for communication, but they knew each other
from the Academy. The difference between them was that Rambler painted
pictures and Neighbour painted wallpaper. Once after they had drunk quite
a doze of vodka Rambler found his companion staring with his face tear-stained
at the last masterpiece of his, Ramblers', work. «It may be anything, but
anyway, when you are not paid...»", started Rambler. «But no one gets
paid in this town, the doctors are not paid, the teacher don't get their
salary for 6 monthes, I am not paid, but they work, because they are obliged
to work without waiting until that communist's system will give them money
to live for themselves... Yes, we, nearly in 2000, live in the promised
Communism. We don't have money. I work without waiting for them, I forgot
them. If you say "one hundred roubles" to me, no association
will catch me, roubles are something that have nothing to do with anything...
Dollars neither... You just have to work...» -- «To serve the people who
can't serve themselves!» -- wheezed Rambler. Neighbours' outburst finished,
he turned to his normal irresistably joyful mood. «Bye, colleague!» he
said leaving the room.
* * *
Menacingly frail Guest's figure was an opportunity for Sun to play
casting shadows on the wooden floor. The head with golden locks peeked
outside watching kids playing their toys: cars and dolls. Recalling her
toys of childhood, which had been thrown into the attics of memory a long
time ago, firstly she recalled meccano: plastic bricks turned to robots,
queer cars and houses. She used to spend hours making them. Then she grew
older and asked Mom to buy her a one made from metal with nearly real screwdriver
for almost real screws, so when her father fixed something about the house
and asked her if he might have had a detail, she always shared it with
him. Guest's father had become a dear member for the family, after the
girl's parents divorced, especially. And now, Guest is staring, wondering
what little girls find in dolls they can occupy themselves during hours
with them. That time Guest saw dolls being stupid, straightforward, seeing
them actually for the first time, because these toys vanished unheeded
before, just as an empty place.
After all, a clumsy, darkhaired woman entered the yard to gather her
numerous kids to have a supper, so Guest turned away from the window, clenched
her teeth and proceeded cooking her supper. She expected Rambler to come
in a minute.
«...and don't stare at me», Guest shouted. «The one who stares is you!»
Rambler answered and this was the truth. Perhaps he would have loved Guest
if her eyes were not so open to everything, prepared trustfully to sacrify
everything to him, though searching and praying with ordering tunes for
something impossible. He didn't know what to do with her eyes. «Anyway,
it is not love when two persons look at each other, but it is when they
look in the same direction», Guest summed up and adjusting her glove peered
at the garbage heap in the yard near the house. «Why don't you ever take
off your gloves? To look ladylike? It does not work then,» Rambler expected
to drive her mad by the question, but Guest simply left the room with the
words: «Why am I still in your house...» «As if I hold you,» Rambler thought,
«As if I invited you.» An this had been the truth, she just came in one
February evening and started living in his flat without any senseless negotiations.
«...if you want to know where the airport's ticket office, don't call
the house "Academicheskaja street, 11" or something of that sort.
And how can you find it? Pretty easy. Listen, first you go through the
square I used to roam being a child, then cross the street, where a terrible
accident happened last spring, then you head to the high building I wanted
to jump off some 15 years ago. I changed my mind though, because my mother
bought two boxes of marshmallow... So, the one on the right is the ticket
office. But may be you don't go?»
«I have to go, I simply have to go. See, let's go together. It is a
great opportunity, in a great country -- France, Guest, understand, it
is our chance. Yours and mine. Well, my work will be boring, but it will
work. Without watching these dead places of nuclear spring. April now.
Average temperature: -10, earth poisoned: 100%. World's garbage busket
all the year round. Lets' creep out!»
Actually, Rambler went away and Guest stayed. The first one got associated
with a group of Russian painters in France and they kept working in a group.
Painted and sold. Practice makes perfect, so one picture had been implemented
by several artists. Each one drew the same fragment everywhere. Rambler
drew hands. Hundreds of hands and money started to float in and names of
countries changed and more hands and currency changed. And suddenly Rambler
started to see dreams. Weird ones, he started to see his primary school,
the teasingly sunlit corridors, but no people. His empty cobwebbed house
in N-sk and dank, icy steets of some quaint April morning. Years had passed,
and no other land, but this one might fill him with feelings.
* * *
«Hi, colleague!» Neighbour looked the same way. Rambler's primary school
collapsed and he saw that its windows were nailed with wooden crosses.
Everything forgot him. To be born in the SuperPower, feeling everything
that made you ruined, collapsed into emptiness, into jeers of the generation
born in this new still existing country, crushed irreversibly with your
childhood and primary school you hated so much. You are from nowhere. Modern
kids do not want to become spacemen anymore.
Rambler could not find Guest and later had been told that she, after
having a baby, one morning killed the first random man she met on the street.
She would have been never found if not overseen, and still holding a gun
in the gloved hand, crying she would have never done it, being able to
suffer the hands. «Poor girl» Neighbour shook his head. «I have visited
her in the prison and now her eczema got worse, gloves are not enough to
cover it...» «She merely could not bear anyone. And been in bed with everyone.
And now we know her hair aren't of gold at all, but of usual drastic ashy
colour, and her kid is...» «Shut up, you, woman,» Neighbour roared at his
wife, «or I will... or you will claim Guest had been as fat as you are?!»
«And another thing,» Neighbour said to defeated Rambler. «Try to find
the child and take care of him. If in the West they don't give you money
you are not obliged to work, but here the things are different. If you
want to believe it is your son, you'll have to take care, otherwise you'll
die without faith. Otherwise you'll have to suffer hands, hundreds, flawless
ones, drawn by you, hundreds, greedy ones on your girl and hundreds hungry
child's ones. And don't blame her too much, colleague. It is more difficult
to have one, then hundreds, your own, than everything. Your have to believe
it is your own junk heap and not someone else's.»
«So, here we are, colleague, drinking vodka straight from the bottle,
and do you see that young tree on the burned land, among the brocken wooden
barracks and high concrete blocks? Who planted it here? Must had been taken
here by the wind as a seed. That long ago. Growing for itself. Earth starts
breathing, some years will lapse and we will taste pineapples, believe