And the showers were coming ...
The Kiev sky is covered with clouds of army uniform. In the chestnut alley, touched by the first rust of autumn, the foliage rustles, reminding of its rustle the friction of the tin of tin. Stas Kazhan, a humanitarian, who by virtue of circumstances became a supply man, sits on a bench, mechanically rolling in his hand two small horse chestnuts.
He turned his head. Two steps from him stood a woman of about thirty-five with a sunburnt face and dyed hair as light as platinum. Her big dark brown eyes, tinted with mascara, radiated condescending tenderness. So adults look at the child who has committed some kind of innocent prank.
- Olya! Olya Tkach! - he recognized his former classmate, and an unexpected spasm squeezed his throat.
- Oh no! - She killed him with her answer. -Now Olga Polupan!
"Ah ... could ... be ... Olga Kazhan," Stas said stutteringly.
- God, - exclaimed several naigrano woman, ringing clapping her hands. - How funny it sounds: Olga Kazhan! Olga the Bat, is not it?1
"Why am I funny?" He thought. And he continued:
- And what does Olga Polupan do?
- I work in the Institute of Literature, Candidate of Science, now I'm writing a doctorate, but I do not finish it ...
"What's wrong?" Is the topic difficult? He asked sympathetically.
"It's nothing complicated, but, you know, family, children," she said.
"Have you got many of them?"
- One son.
- Yes? And how did the javan jing pane Polupan? - he was singing on a shouting tone.
"Stas, that is Stanislav," said Olga, embarrassed.
"And who does my namesake look like?"
- Do not flatter yourself! She said jealously.
While they were talking, looking closely, as if studying each other, the first heavy drops of rain struck the leaves of chestnut trees, jumped on the asphalt, raising spouts of spray.
"There's a cafe near here, we're going faster, there we wait for the rain," Olga said. And she rushed to start with a thunderstorm, and he followed her. Having run into the cafe, they flopped down, relaxed, and breathing heavily, at the chairs at the table by the window overlooking Khreshchatyk.
The rain intensified. Looking out into the street and hearing the "cannonball" cannonade, Stas thought: "This is for a long time." And he asked Olga:
- Would you like some coffee?
She nodded her head affirmatively.
"With a cake?"
"I love the custard, if you remember," she said.
"I still can not believe that I see you, so many years have passed," he said, taking a sip of coffee and glancing at the whole of her good figure.
Olga sat half-turned to him and seemed to be indifferently staring into the misted window. But it did not slip away from him, like her cheek turned towards him, her neck and even the auricle turned pink at once.
"Yes, time flies, that your express train," she said thoughtfully, and turned to him. Embarrassed, he looked away, drowning his eyes in a cup of coffee. And she began quietly, singing, reading:
On all the flights summer flew,
We are fascinated with ourselves.
And all that the distance was carried by the planet,
It was called life and destiny.
And nothing to do
We with this fact could not.
The earth spun and flew,
And the showers were coming, and the showers were coming ...
It was his, Stas, old, still student's verses. "Wow, she remembers and recites them by heart!" - He was surprised.
"Do you still write?" She asked when she finished reading.
"Sometimes," Stas squeaked.
"What do you mean, sometimes?
- You understand, poetry, like love, or it is or is not.
"Are you saying that you are alone now and free like a Cossack?"
- I'm talking about the fact that both the first and second are the highest manifestation of the human spirit.
"Do not bother me with platitudes, Stas.
- You see, you understand everything, but you ask.
"Have you even tried to publish a book?"
"I've published it," he said, either in the affirmative or in an inquiring way.
"And how did you name it?"
"That's what he called:" And the showers were going ... "- he started all the heavy ones.
"It's in memory of the Fontanka, right?" Do you remember about that time?
- But why?! - in Olga's voice resentment sounded.
"Because it's been a long time," he said.
- And it seems to me, more recently! - she made an accent on the last word. And again she turned to the window.
The downpour stopped. Olga and Stas went to Khreshchatyk. Showcases of cafes and shops sparkled, washed just passed the rain. From the wet chestnut trees, hanging for a while on the carved edges of the tapped leaves, as if reluctantly dropping large drops and, flying a second or two in free fall, hit with a hollow slap on the wet asphalt.
- Well, it's time for me, - Olga suddenly said.
"I will lead you," he responded with youthful readiness.
"Do not, I'm in a hurry," she said, as though she was pouring ice water on the tub.
Under the arches of the metro station, rummaging in her purse, Olga took out a business card, handed it to him.
- Call me. I'll be free tomorrow after two, "she said, without explaining anything, and left.
Remaining one, he looked after how Olga, passing a turnstile, took a step on an escalator and as failed through earth. Only after it, awakening, he dashed after. Getting down in an underground, searched her in crowd and hidden after a column. A train, dense human mass, suited, catching up them, pulled in inside carriage. "Why did you follow after her? - he thought as about someone extraneous. - As impossible twice to enter the the same river, it is so impossible twice to appear in a the same bed".
Olga, thoughtful, stood in the corner of the overcrowded carriage, holding on to the hand-rail, looked through a window. Стас squeezed nearer, became for her after a back. On the next turn of train someone leaned heavily on him and pinned against her. are you!? - looking around, said, being confused, Olga. And, twisting a head from a side aside, as reprobating him, pronounced conciliatory-sacramental: - Mad!
Olga lived in Poznyaky - in a new area of the capital, not unlike new buildings in other major cities. Maneuvering between the puddles left after a recent rainstorm, Stas and Olga walked in silence. Both felt uncomfortable: much is said, and most importantly, it remains unspoken. At last they went out to the Princes Zaton Street.
"Here I live," Olga said, pointing to the gray concrete parallelepiped with her head. We went a few more puddles and stopped at the first entrance.
"Thank you for spending it, I was glad to see you," she said in a casual voice, stretching out her manly hand for a shake. And, having typed the code on the front door, added:
- So you call me? ..
At home, disguised, Olga went to the kitchen, preparing dinner. "Do I still love him?" - she asked herself between the case. Everything fell from her hands. Cleaning the onion, cut the finger, the potatoes, as she did not try, burned, removing the pan from the stove, burned.
Soon the son returned home, whistling a melody.
- Stanislav, do not bring in the house - there will be no money! She said irritably.
"They are not there, why worry in vain!" - followed the usual response already.
- Do not start! Go, better, eat, I cooked your favorite fried potatoes, "she said, patting her son on the curly, unshaveed head, thinking to herself:" It's good that he does not look like Paramon ... "
Brewing strong coffee, Olga with a cup went to her room with a firm intention to work. After turning on the computer, she opened the file with the doctoral thesis "Metaphor, its variants and functions in the novels of Yuri Ostroverkh".
"The theory of metaphor is thoroughly developed by the world literary and theoretical science," she read the academic banality. And she ran her eyes through the paragraph to the end: "Every metaphor is calculated ..., the ability to see the second plan of the metaphor ... the detailed metaphor realizes the task ... the metaphor is a kind of lever ..."
"God, what melancholy!" - she was angry with herself, at her lack of talent, at an unhappy family life, and finally at Stas, who did not want to understand her. "Well, at least it was not so cold - still not strangers. Or are they strangers? So many years have passed ... "- thought sadly.
Turning off the computer, Olga got up from the table, extinguished the table lamp and, as was dressed, and rushed headlong to the bed. Through the noise of the rain, I heard the creaking of the front door, a fuss in the hallway, unsteady steps - the husband came back home to Professor Paramon Polupan! He looked into her room with a ghost, filling the air with the exhaust of wine vapors, and, making sure that she was asleep, left. Fortunately, the apartment is three-room.
As soon as her husband closed the door, Olga rolled over on her back, staring at the unseeing glance at the ceiling. Outside, the monotonous rain was still rustling. The same protracted rains went even then, in the village of Fontanka, where their course was sent to clean the tomatoes. The memories of youth warmed the lonely female soul. She saw herself and Stas - young, in love, not remembering themselves from happiness. Here they are alone on the fountain beach, here in the sovkhoz hay. It's raining, somewhere under the slate roof, they cooed about something their pigeons, smells like a dung and mice. But this does not stop them from loving each other ...
"What a fool! - grumbling discontentedly Paramon, pacing up and down the room. - The husband came home, and she sleeps to herself, as if nothing had happened! And what a lovely, affable girl when I ripped her from the province, "he continued. - I made a man out of it, brought up my son as my own, and she twists her nose, she's a bitch! "
Glancing back at the door, he took a bottle of liquid that looked like absinthe from the cupboard. "Here would be Katerina, she would have arranged everything quickly!" He said dreamily, pouring into the glass of "absinthe". And, overturning the greenish liquid into himself, he grinned greedily, and went out to smoke on the balcony.
"And why did not I stay with her? - shivering with dampness and cold, recalled Paramon, a young graduate student, with whom gloriously spent tonight. "She's good, but I'm still nothing!" Taking out a packet of Marlboro from his trouser pocket, he took out a cigarette, lit it from the lighter, and took a deep puff.
Whether from the bitterness of cigarette smoke, or from drunk alcohol, he suddenly felt dizzy, nausea came to his throat. Instinctively, he stepped toward the railing of the balcony, leaned over them and launched the contents of the stomach into the night. And when the second urge of vomiting came, he unexpectedly slipped on the wet ceramic tile of the balcony, lost his balance and found himself on that side of the railing.
"Why did not I hide the bottle? My wife will be unhappy, "- the last thing he thought about ...
"Strange, I still remember his caresses!" Olga smiled in the darkness of her room. And almost physically I felt long kisses on the lips, in the neck, his hot palm sliding along her waist, down the abdomen. In exhaustion, she threw back her head, bit her lower lip, so as not to scream ... and heard, as she thought, the insistent trills of a phone call.
- Stas! This is Stas! I am now, now! Olga jumped out of bed. And only turning on the light and feeling the cold floor barefoot, realized that this is not a telephone. This someone unknown persistently and loudly knocked on the front door of the apartment and did not release the button of the electric bell ...
The firm train "Chernomorets" carried away Stas Kazhana on a rainy September night. In the compartment of the sleeping car he was alone. And he will not have to share his living space with someone today. Maybe already before the morning. He sat at the window, took out chestnuts from his jacket pocket and, rolling them habitually in his hand, remembered the meeting with Olga. He, like every man, had a rather sophisticated mind, to talk about the business and other qualities of a woman, to lose sight of his participation in her destiny.
"A new apartment in the capital, a loving husband, an honored son, a prestigious job, a doctoral dissertation on the way - what else does a woman need for happiness ?! - sincerely rejoiced for Olga Stas. "She made her choice and seems to be very pleased with him ..."
He spread out the bed, comfortably stretched out on the lower shelf, and, with a thin cloth blanket, closed his eyes peacefully. And as soon as I closed my eyelids, I saw myself and Olya Tkach. They stand in the office of the dean of the philological faculty, Professor Ivan Duzia, shifting from foot to foot.
"Stanislav," said Ivan Mikhailovich in a soft fatherly voice. "Take Olya's hand." Did you take it? And now lead her to the registry office. And, look, without a marriage certificate to the faculty, do not come back, - the dean's voice already had strict, principled notes that do not allow any objections. - So know, without him you will not get a diploma!
Stas and Olga, holding hands like guilty students, went down to the hall, went out into the street. There, by the flowerbed, they were waited by fellow student Vitaly Kahovsky riding a motorcycle "K-750", which he won in the lottery.
"Sit down," the motorcyclist said, smiling good-naturedly. "Ivan Mikhailovich instructed me to take you to wherever."
Olya obediently sat in the stroller, Stas settled on the back of the saddle. The motorcyclist let go of the clutch, went to the French Boulevard and headed for Arcadia.
- Well, hold on! - Vitalka shouted, and added gas. The motorcycle, gaining speed, jumped on a cobblestone roadway. The oncoming wind blew their faces with an elastic stream, frantically shaking their hair on their heads. Out of the corner of his eye, Stas saw Olga grasping her two arms tightly over the side of the carriage, expecting nothing good from this crazy ride.
Suddenly, a heavy car, accelerating, jumped, flew over the highway and began to rapidly gain altitude. Far below there were a cafe "Ogonek", where they went to drink coffee, university botanical garden, hotel "Youth", sanatorium "Russia". Above the Arcadian beach they were picked up by the rising air and carried higher and higher. And here they are three of us - Stas Kazhan, Olya Tkach and dashing pilot Vitalka are riding on a motorcycle to meet unknown storm clouds coming from somewhere ...
- And the dream is the same! - burst out at Stas, when he went to the platform of the Odessa railway station, flooded with the morning sun. Today I'll call Olga! "He thought. But while wagons with children's food were unloaded, they left Kiev before him, while the necessary documents were being made, he forgot about his intention. He did not call Olga the next day, and in the following days he was somehow in a hurry to dial the number of her phone in Kiev. A couple of weeks later, he had already decided finally that it was too late to call, it was awkward, and there was no need.
1) Kazhan – Кажан – на украинском языке Летучая мышь – на русском. В данном контексте это игра слов и понятий
1) Kazhan - Kazhan - in Ukrainian - Bat - in Russian. In this context it is a play of words and concepts
Рассказ опубликован в художественно-литературном журнале “Южное сияние”. 2016 г. # 4(20)