On the other Side. Joanna's Page 34
On the other Side. Joanna's Page 34
She came closer, slowly sinking into the painting like into a dream.
Her awakening - unexpected tears. They ran behind her ears, the corners of her lips, behind the collar. They were hot and irresistible, running from somewhere in the deepest depths of her self.
Joanna walked to the window.
Parallel flow of cars and passers-by, a gray sky of St. Petersburg, cucumber smell coming from somewhere reassured her.
She moved of the only chair in the room to the picture, sat down, resting her elbows on his knees, clenching burning cheeks by her hands.
And she looked and looked...
A carriage of an electric train. A man sitting behind and looking like Ignatius this back of his.
Outside, in turning blue twilight the opposite of an empty car and the woman's face reflected, as if a woman sitting opposite her reflected in the glass.
But on the bench there were no one except a painted horse from papier-m?ch? with a flaxen mane.
That was all.
The center of this picture was nowhere female face outside the window coming from nowhere. It was a mysterious and beautiful vision, a mirage, which was pierced by some flickering light.
It was not a person, but a face.
And yet it was undoubtedly her, Joanna's face with a striking portrait resemblance. And it looked as if it were suspended and without age.
With flying hair in the blue twilight, which was bound not with a blue ring of plastic but with an old twisted cord. With his childish mouth, which was slightly open in surprise, Denis always joked: 'Close it, or else a crow will fly into'.
With huge eyes, as if they absorbed blueness of dusk outside the window and recent green of coniferous forest, which was barely discernible in the dark.
They looked as if from eternity in a pathetically desperate desire to catch up, obtain flesh and be reunited with the world flying in a different dimension.
They were doomed to eternal separation on the other side of life.
Joanna could not say whether she liked the painting.
In painting she rightly considered herself a complete ignoramus and never expanded on this topic.
At exhibitions she just walked in silence and looked, completely unpredictably preferring works, which would seem to be of the most different directions and degrees of talent.
Rude, deliberately sloppy strokes, indicating Ignatius' back a piece of a bench, a horse made of papier-m?ch? - this way usually intimidated her.
To appeals of friends 'to understand, learn and get the idea' Yana replied that any sphere of knowledge, culture, or even just a craft will be extremely interesting if it would be 'explored and felt'.
Whether it were higher mathematics, or all sorts of experiments in art and science, beekeeping or art of aerobatics in aircraft.
But where one can get time for all of that?
However, the dark and heavy structure of the paintings seem to underline the ideal-ghostly beauty of the vision behind the window.
It was not Yana with Yana's face.
It seemed as if her features, like a mask or a decal, were attached to the face of the other Yana, from whom only eyes left.
Those eyes, their indescribable expression, evoked Yana's irrepressible tears.
What did she weep? Whom?
Herself? The other Yana? Or both of them?
A key turned in the lock.
Jan jumped up, pushing his foot against the wall chair, as if she had been caught at something shameful. The chair fell with a crash.
Her thought that somebody would notice her resemblance with the one behind a glass and would compare them was unbearable.
The newcomer Ilya Ilyich suspiciously looked around the room, lying chair on its side, blubbered Joanna who hid her face and announced that Ignatius called.
He said he would come in a moment and asked to wait.
But it is better to wait downstairs, because Darenov, of course, is hero, but why to break chairs?
Again along jump followed until in the director's office in the middle of pendants, wall newspapers and sports equipment Ignatius suddenly materialized in an unbuttoned short sheepskin coat, hatless, with melting snowflakes in his hair - he appeared from a long jump as she did.
He silently pressed her hand, and the parachute above them opened, and it became easy and relaxed.
Again, Joanna was struck by a marvelous sense of their profound inseparability, which rejected all usual attributes of a love game-war for the sake of their connection, increasing excruciating thirst for both domination and slavery.
Their parachute opened and floated in the sky high above the world.
And while Ilya Ilyich discussed some current affairs with Ignatius, and Yana waited for the end of their conversation, studying Photogazette with sporting achievements of the club, she always felt his look by her back. And she knew that he did not hear a word of what Ilya Ilyich spoke.
And he knew that she saw nothing except his eyes.
Parachute carried them to an unknown place, nothing could be done about it...
In the delightful authenticity of this flight there was no place for fear, game, argument or even cosmetics, to which Yana did not touch for all the day.
Although she was convinced, passing a mirror that she looked like a wet hen.
'Joanna does not like my pictures,' she heard, 'she loves Levitan and ' A Girl with Peaches', Vivaldi's music and commercial cinema with happy ends.
This meant that Ignatius was released.
It was amising that he was not far from the truth about it. Ilya Ilyich doubt:
'It is impossible. I testify, she broke a chair in delight.
'In resentment, Elijah,' Ignatius said, rising.
' Oh Lord, Joanna, what might you not like?
'The Chair,' Yana said.
Perhaps, it was their only the mention of the exhibition on this day, including the cause of her arrival.
At first, they did not talk about anything, even though they walked from the club to the center. They went hand in hand as if they were lovers are teenagers.
But the latter are usually in happy anticipation to even better things. For them this state of happiness was absolute, marginal and almost impossible.
So would they wander over the years by Luzhino forestbeing eaten by mosquitoes, until a path was not completely erased by darkness, but the only reference of theirs was a distant chorus of Luzhino dogs.
But now there were blocks of new buildings, which were gradually replaced dying mansions of Petersburg suburbs. Snowy sidewalks and regulated and unregulated intersections.
The same snow from under wheels, silhouettes of passers-by floating by them as if they were on a snowy screen. Space and time floating past them where the only reality was snowflakes in Ignatius' her hair, the warmth of his hand through the leather gloves.
And sometimes instantaneous touching of his eyes as the night gold star.
Then they dined in some cafe or restaurant.
And somehow it was implied that they could not go to his home or to places where they were known and to nowhere else.
Each of them had its own life. But what happened to them had no relation to this life.
Again this overworldlyness of their approaching made it impossible to realize what had happened.
Washing hands in a toilet of a cafe or a restaurant, why not to tint her lips, as she would do in any other situation?
Why couldn't she chat with Ignatius about one thing and another?
Why did it become impossible what had always been possible?
Subsequently, she could not remember what they ate, and whether they ate anything at all.
Probably they ate but not only sat opposite each other to a waiter's disappointment!
And she only remembered that the waiter's name was Oleg.
In front of her Ignatius' face shone; it was incredibly beautiful and perfect. It was nearby, at a distance of an outstretched hand.
She knew that she could not watch all the time and forced herself to avert her eyes.
And looking back, knowing that she now shone form this light of happiness which was greater than human power.
She was happy to see Ignatius' face at a distance of outstretched hands glowing as if it were from eternity and feel by every cell of hers irresistible attraction of the mysterious dark amber depth of his eyes.
Yana remembered that he did not drink and also flatly refused. Instead, they drank a lot of coffee
It was then started; it seemed it was their mutual confession, which lasted during their endless whirling through the city on some squares, benches, cemeteries and caf?s.
All that lay over the years at the bottom of their souls was meant only for their personal use; it was shaken out and dumped at the feet of Ignatius.
With him it was impossible to talk about one thing and another, any game and deceit - all that she formerly told others.
There has been a surefire instant screening, which found that there were two Joannas.
The one that circled the city with Ignatius was perhaps even worse than the one on the other side of life. And it was impossible to figure out which of them was true - the one that was lying or the one that was speaking truth.
The truth lay at the bottom of the well. There were dirt, any strange objects and possibly gold coins at the bottom.
She quickly filled her bucket at the bottom, being afraid that she had no time, and Ignatius patiently pulled a bucket after bucket.
If he opened his hand, a bucket that was full of mud from the bottom of her soul would have killed her, standing at the bottom.
It would be death.
But Ignatius did not go away.
He listened and listened, and, as she thought, did not utter a word.
However, when they were sitting in a station restaurant, waiting their train to be announced, she was also knew everything about him.
And this, of course, was a miracle too. Because she could swear that only she spoke.
And as the well became purer and purer and secret becomes clear, and golden amber light of Ignatius' eyes penetrated deeper and deeper until he reached the bottom of her soul and touched something she herself was unknown of, some deep secrets of her self, the moment stopped again.
It stopped whenever Ignatius raised his head after a next cup or after a next cigarette.
And warm golden-amber glows, slipping on her mind, went out again when his hair like a pirate patch fell upon his forehead, covering half of his face...
They were heavy wet locks that had absorbed thousands of melted snowflakes that day.