The Denial. Joanna's Page 27
The Denial. Joanna's Page 27
And he ran knocking with his skis and continuing to suffer torments. 'I cannot go away; I must stop and think of something. But they follow me with their eyes, and so I cannot stop. It would seem suspicious.' He looked around: the car was still there. They were interested to know whether he would catch a train. 'But I can get off at the next station. I must go because they are looking at me.'
He went to a platform of a train, its doors closed. The train started off and began to pick up speed. Two boys smoked and Denis got light at them. 'Now I will tell everything to these ones and those sitting in the carriage, and they will get off at the next station. Volunteers will surely be found, they should understand the situation.
But what will I say? That I have left my wounded friend at one of previous stops and at six kilometers' distance from the stop Cherkasskaya, That not less than two hours have passed, but for an unknown reason I'm sitting in a warm electric train going to Moscow. No, I will say nothing.'
When he understood it, a sudden attack of painful tremble began to drive him somewhere through carriages. He frightened boys who had no tickets, and they join his running in a cheerful panic.
He was a prince charming who turned into an ugly monster and who realized that this ugly appearance was his essence, and he had to get used to this monstrosity and to things he condemned and despised before. He had to justify and love himself because he couldn't help loving himself.
Yes, he saved his skin, and he was right because his death was an end and nothing, but after Leonid's and all other people's death a lot of things would remain: his hot bath he would go into when he came back, his cutting room, his institute, his skis and also sunsets and sunrises, springs and summers.
Yes, he didn't say anything: neither to those in the car, nor to these in the electric train because in case of Leonid's death he would have been guilty in every respect. But now Denis Gradov who was sitting by the train's window was a usual passenger from the station of Cherkasskaya who reached Vlasovo on his skis but had no time to see landscape because a snowstorm arose, and he rushed through the forest to the station. Vlasovo is not far away from Cherkasskaya. Everything was right and everything coincided.
'An even if Leonid is alive.'
He didn't want Leonid to save his life, and again he was right because in that case.
'If Leonid would save his life it would be much more difficult to extricate from this situation. Leonid's death would the best way out, no matter how sad it would be.'
He shuddered at aversion to this new Denis; he wasn't indignant anymore but only mourned himself. This personality belonged to new Denis who could get hold of himself. 'Stop whimpering and shut up forever,' commanded this New One. His strong and ice-cold hand squeezed his throat, brain and heart. His nerves grew numb being bound by this pervasive cold and stopped aching and feeling compassion, and then Denis understood that he was killed and condemned forever to live, thing and act according to different and strange laws which had been nasty and unacceptable for him before. This punishment and this self-murder were even more terrible than physical or violent death. He killed a man in himself.
She was Denis who killed himself in comfortable warmth of an electric train going to Moscow.
She didn't have strength to reread things she had written. She left written sheet on the desk, locked the office and, going downstairs, heard the chiming clock on the radio. It was six a.m.
Then she went a long way home where every side street, every house, every front door and every lamp post was consecrated by his intimacy, whisper and touch.
She was saying farewell to Denis and looking into the sky, The daybreak sky, as if it felt sorry for her, covered her cheeks and eyelid with icy compress and she felt a little better.
It was a denial. She was Denis. She spent those several hours together with him: from tiring running along a silvery ski track leading to Vlasovo till dying in stuffy warmth of an electric train and denied him. She denied and condemned him because in her eighteen yeas condemnation and denial were synonyms. Condemnation meant denial. She was sure that her life was finished, and in that persistent thought of her there were both pain and purification. She sacrificed herself in the name of something loftier and more precious than personal happiness of Joanna Sinegina.
She denied cowardice, self-love and treachery and, killing her personal little happiness, affirmed Great Happiness of being human. It should be so. She did her duty. Yana was saying farewell to her happiness because her happiness was Denis, his close remoteness, his rough and hasty endearments, his hopeless egocentrism which she desperately attacked. That attack was as absurd and pernicious in terms of common sense as rock climbing, without which she couldn't live that time.
Let it be. She would work and write much; she would study because there were people who found strengths to work even being bedridden and being at death's door.
Denis - a sunny day.
Yana nearly lost her consciousness because of pity to herself. This was ravishing and mournful ecstasy of her self-sacrifice - to tear out her heart, so that it could give light to people.
She was eighteen.
Later she experienced two days of bitter glory beginning from the reception at Khan's office when he, being chary of praise, solemnly declared that he had nothing to teach her because her essay was written not only well but too well for a newspaper's essay.
He was really proud and glad for her. Her success allowed Khan to speak on equal terms with her, exchange confidences, confess to her, and she hardly listened to him struggling against her tears and a dream to steal from Khan's desk a pile of sheets and tear them into pieces with all their ideological and fictional qualities and then go in her imagination to the village of Lusinovka to see Denis again and die from contempt to her own weakness.
Did Khan know about it or not? But what about others who knew? Now when they won, and hateful Peacock who took away their Sinegina, was overthrown by her own hands, everybody looked after her bringing coffee with sandwiches and buying for her a stylish blouse with round on it. All the editorial office wore them, and Khan once said at a short meeting that now his office looked like a shooting gallery.
Her writing material which was widely hyped-up by Khan and printed by Lyuda as a bestseller with an additional number of copies was read without Yana's knowledge and hidden at her appearance. They did knew and were interested not only in the drama described by the author on eleven pages but also in personal Yana's drama, which they tried to read between the lines. That was why they concealed their curiosity from her but it was so natural and even more instigated by obstinate silence.
She wanted to tell them about her journey to Korzi and about the struggle of her feeling of love with her feeling of duty and confess shameful symptoms of her permanent love to Peacock who was absolutely unworthy of her love. She wanted to share all those symptoms with everybody, condemn and ridicule them and then affirm her rightness and strength in their support, understanding and compassion. Everybody and Yana herself didn't understand why she, a prodigal daughter whom they had always loved and waited for, returned to them and didn't fall into their embraces, why she didn't want to sit at the table but kept on silently and lonely standing on the threshold.
She seemed to return to them but didn't give them a possibility to reward her for this coming back and be kind, loving and generous.
She seemed to belong to them but now her heart was closed on the inside and didn't open, and nobody dared to force a lock. Being unnaturally cheery and talkative, she gave irrelevant answers or didn't answer at all. This Yana didn't belong to them, and both she and they could nothing to do with it.
Everybody felt bad because it was unpleasant and disappointing when your gifts from the bottom of your heart turned out to be rejected as unnecessary. Hurting them she reproached herself for her egocentrism but couldn't do anything with it. She worried about Denis who was described in those eleven pages and together with whom she died in stuffy warmth of an electric train, and then condemned and left him, though he felt much worse now, and their phone conversation was a disguise only.
'If I have no rights to love him, don't I have a right to come and help him? I cannot wash her hands of it. What can I do?' Yana tormented herself. Who could answer her questions except herself? At nights she asked God to interfere and work a miracle.