A Train to nowhere. Ignatius' Page 2
A Train to nowhere. Ignatius' Page 2
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Thus, in the mid-fifties Ignatius turned out to be in Leningrad.
Khrushchev's thaw approached - the time of exhibitions, desperate discussions, various festivals and erosion of the Iron Curtain. In this gratifying time for all of the creative intelligentsia, especially students Ignatius began to notice a complete lack of interest in problems that troubled thawing society.
When they began to say that the leader was not 'a great friend and leader', not 'a flight of our youth', but quite the contrary... that white turned to be black, good turned to be evil, but the truth turned to be a lie... When they began to criticize 'orders in the carriage, change berths and curtains, run to a formerly forbidden restaurant car and other carriages, sometimes completely staying over there, tear away portraits and hang new ones. Ignatius in the years of Khrushchev's thaw continued to sit idly in the same place at the carriage window.
He had seen the future rushing toward him, which immediately turned to the past behind his back.
If, however, you sat with his back to movement, you would see the past blowing away.
The present was not outside the window.
A commotion in the carriage, grumbling to a new conductor that it was time to bring tea and alluring comfort of other carriages - all seemed too real to be so.
Reality was rails only once for all that was laid once for all and flitting time behind the window.
And it is not their conductor, who was himself just a passenger in the train of condemned people but a machinist who was eyeless immortal. He was the only one who decided when his passengers should go out of cozy carriages to the darkness.
He was eyeless because the rails securely led to nowhere, the train could not get off. He was immortal until he had work kill to kill somebody.
he was immortal until the train was going.
He was a killer of every life; he collapses to nowhere with his empty train as a captain who performed his duty to the end.
Only he kept tickets, strung together like beads on the thread of life.
He sleeps, turning over their knuckles from time to time lifting and throwing of used through an open window in the carrier off the past.
"It is curious," thought Ignatius, "If these ticket with a penalty dates were handed out to passengers, would they deal with problems of their refuge with the same satisfaction?
Even those who had a few decades in reserve would have realized with particular acuteness that only one of them would have to go away.
The exact date - does it really mean a great deal?
After all, in any case in a few decades there will be nobody of those who are going by the train now. Why do they live so, as if they would never leave the train?
What creates this strange illusion of immortality?
Are we humanity? While it is alive, am I alive too? What nonsense!
Why do everyone crazily fear of a universal end of the world and do not realize that everyone has his own, persona, beginning and end of the world?
Birth and death.
Everyone is closed in a world in himself that has a beginning and an end.
And when wonderful mirages like 'our engine, flying forward to everyone's happiness' collapse, when tragic daily life presses one to the ground, it remains only to feast during plague in anticipation of when you will be called out without your things.
They work hard, breed, have fun and distractions as they can.
They even try to turn that our common hearse into a worldwide exemplary mobile train of progress.
One of his paintings portrayed the endless string of linked hearses, from which legs in black stockings, or sport trousers, or a hand with a fork half-eaten piece of meat were stuck.
Or with a folder for papers, with a gun and garden shears; dead head in curlers, hard hats and professorial caps.
Life is a tragic absurdity, it was clear.
And if it is silly and ridiculous to design happy, funny, innovative and technically equipped hearses, not to speak of shedding one's own or other people's blood in the name of these projects: if trying to live mindlessly-animal life is vulgar, and selfishly elitist is base, then it is no use jumping off the train before proper time."
"I'm an artist," Ignatius was trying to convince himself for the umpteenth time. I can speak to the Creator Himself in the language of creativity instead of asking useless questions about the meaning of the world created by Him.
And Ignatius, not from short-term considerations, but simply to console himself, tried to continue to ignore and write major and beautiful things.
But if he formerly easily managed to do it, now he had to artificially maintain a life-affirming attitude in himself.
However, he boozed like everyone else, not more, and was on the up and up. He passed through the Film studio 'Lenfilm', the Union of artists, solo exhibitions and benevolent press.
His aunt died, bequeathing him her apartment.
He married; his daughter was born; he bought a car.
His wife Alla got her driving license.
It was only his guilt of what had happened.
Alla ruin herself by drinking; he saw it and did nothing.
She was unhappy with him; she remained a flighty kid and absolutely could not know how to keep her feelings that were violent both in sorrow and in joy.
This primitive naturalness of her that attracted him at the beginning of their romance turned to him to be a trap or a jail of high security.
She noticed every manifestation of insincerity, injustice, callousness on his part immediately. And if he does not show signs of repentance, was presented to public discussion by his relatives, friends and even first comers.
She sincerely believed that If he is guilty, we must collectively help him to improve himself.
And against this it was hard to argue if you perceive the world as initially good one as she did in her childish way.
Where they only need to punish each other for mutual benefit.
Ignatius resisted, defending his right to be bad and gradually flying into a rage.
He stopped staying at home.
His craftiness was replaced with real falsehood, injustice with malice, callousness with cruelty. Now the tiger trained his trainer, teaching her to his animal nature and protecting his beastly freedom and right to be wild.
Externally Alla seemingly yielded, but her hidden protest against imperfections of life in the face of her husband turned out to be an escape from this reality.
When after a couple glasses of champagne (she drank only champagne, sweet or half-sweet one) the flushed preacher with phosphorescent and wonderfully stained eyes began to call for universal love, truthfulness and chastity, a crowd of guests gathered around her.
Alla spoke beautifully and movingly, almost in a childish voice, and in some improvised strange parables.
Although it was clear only to both of them, Ignatius came into a rage.
He specifically bought her a car and did not learn to drive himself, but Alla managed to subdue even the toughest cops.
She smacked the guardian of order to his cheek and asked for forgiveness. Her kisses were the most innocent, but it worked.
She never said, 'I won't do that anymore' and invented any justificatory stories as other ladies who drove cars.
'I drank two glasses of champagne,' she said, 'they were that such large ones. Please forgive me...'
That evening she drank much more...
She started drinking at home and told her parables to their daughter.
Ira was even a more appreciative listener than guests were; she cried demanding more and more tales and did not want to to eat or go to bed without them.
When Ignatius stayed with Ira one-to-one, he could do nothing with her.
Ignatius felt he began to hate his daughter too.
That evening, Ignatius saw that Alla was getting drunk. And he purposely teased her, flirting with the birthday girl, her friend from the fashion house, bitterly hating and Alla and her fables of the biography of Ignatius Darenov, enthusiastic audience and his own humiliation.
Choking with rage, he poured himself a glass of brandy, and once tipped for the health of the birthday girl 'Helen'.
This was his last booze in his life.
In the bottle, as it turned out, was not the brandy but brandy spirit, a gift from sunny Georgia.
It was a drink of killing power, from which Ignatius completely went out and allowed Alla not only to get into the driving seat but also to seat Ira next to her.
He regained consciousness a few days in intensive care, being completely broken.
He was told that they were in the hospital too.
They were buried by their relatives.
Then he returned home to her aunt's apartment.
To their apartment, where everything was untouched since that fateful day.
Scattered Stockings, cosmetics, hairbrush, unfinished bottle of yogurt in the refrigerator and moldy piece of bread on the table were left. Alla returned hungry and pounced on the food, although they were waiting for a visit.
She survived Leningrad's siege and could not endure hunger.
Ignatius then watched her choking on bread and kefir and was angry.
He said something; she began to cry and did not want to go.
Then they reconciled, she had to retouch her eyes again.
Ira' books and toys were scattered around. Mother ordered to remove them but she did not. Potted flowers withered, cockroaches were scurrying everywhere.
He had a rush job for a new film. Ignatius went to his room and began to paint.
His still felt giddy, all his body pained but thankfully his right hand was still intact.
He painted and painted.
His mother came to him from the Urals. She cried a little, cleaned up the apartment, stuffed refrigerator with food, cooked borscht, cutlet and pies for a month ahead.
And left again.
When he finally decided to leave his refuge, ate mother's borscht with pies, remembering its taste forgotten from his childhood, got used to conveniently rearranged furniture, to unusual purity and silence, to the cozy lampshade over the dining table ( mother bought two ones for him and for her home in the Urals), Ignatius cried for the first time.
Not so much over them who were dead but over himself.
He was more dead than they were, he felt nothing.
Nothing, except fatigue, dull pain throughout his body and healing gradual immersion into unaccustomed quietness and cleanness of the apartment, into the forgotten sweetness of freedom.
So he lived once together with his aunt.
Suppose that his marriage was a failure and he was not a good father, but didn't he really love them, his wife and his daughter?
Six months ago, when Ira was sick, he rushed in panic through the city until he got right medicines.
What was it, an animal instinct, fear for offspring?
And now, when they were swept away like by a wave and nothing depended on him, he felt no pain. As if an artificial tooth were broken away and the wound did not bleed.
Lord, was he not a monster? Whom did he love?
No, he despised and hated himself. He mourned his dead insensibility, his utter loneliness, which he only now realized; he had always suffered from it as much as he could remember himself.
Blood vessels that connect his 'self' with other world were broken or did not exist at all.
He was an alien graft, rejecting its tree and dying for that reason.
It was a strange feeling; he thought and felt the world around him and at the same time rejected it.
It was self-defense, which led to the complete helplessness.
It was freedom and death.
He shuddered with disgust and pity to himself, and even more from impotence to change something in himself. Then he pulled bottle of champagne, which was once hidden from Alla, out of the bookcase, and then it dawned upon him.
He invented how to avenge himself!
Being a defendant and a prosecutor in one person, he sentenced itself: not a drop of alcohol for his life.
And he took himself into custody.
At the fortieth day obit Ignatius burned his ship by declaring his decision to present people. Alla's bottle and another string bag with bought vodka were drunk by his friends and relatives under distrustful looks of those present Ignatius drank compote of dried fruits cooked by his mother in law and gloomily enjoyed the knowledge that finally he forced himself to suffer.
Conversations at the table and guests themselves were unbearable, and also the entire funeral ritual full of hypocrisy.
But the prospect of being left alone when they all leave was even more unbearable. And his thought that he was a coward and could not just jump off the train.
The punishment really was too much for him.
Reality without the usual protective 'kef' once again fell upon him by its senseless fuss of the train going to nowhere.
Fuss about poor living benefits and running up marching down the escalator were also meaningless... In the end, he inevitably became exhausted, sitting on footsteps of the escalator, and submissively slid down along with everyone.
Ignatius locked at his home, turn off the phone and invented for himself a new life program: the correct way of life, gymnastics, self-restraint and rupture of relations with previous companies.
It was freedom without time, space, restrictions, former unwanted ties and family duties.
He practiced yoga for two weeks, poured himself with cold water from the tap, struggled with his desire to go to the usual low dives, call to someone and visit someone.
He choked porridge, worked tirelessly on corrections and wishes of his bosses.
When he finally corrected everything, when his body got rid of its previous symptoms, and his soul got rid of passion and vanity, when he drove out all his monsters of selfishness and prepared to finally enjoy true peace and freedom, he was suddenly horrified to find that he, Darenov Ignatius, was no more.
There were left only his body appearance healed yoga and asceticism and emptiness inside him. Terrible chilling emptiness.
Not even emptiness but nothingness.
Maybe it was 'divine nothingness'.
It was blissful Nirvana, the same state, which one need not be afraid of, but to merge, dissolve, disappear into the bad infinity of the universe.
But Ignatius, suddenly realized that except the very monsters of selfishness, passion and hustle, which he hated and cast out, there was nothing in him, that he is hopelessly empty - only a disembodied and ice bad nothing.
Let be monster of passion, love affairs, boring debates and demeaning, stupid fuss but not this state.
He left his compartment, made his way to the platform and opened the front door.
The hell is like this, if it is.
The rain has sped away, leaving you alone forever.
There is only your ego, infused with ice and hellish 'nothingness'.