ome to me. Joanna's and Ignatius' Page 4, 35 Door 3

Yulua Ivanova

Come to me. Joanna's and Ignatius' Page 4, 35 Door 3

* * *

"Your eyes, the falcon, that honey in the mountains ... and the light and dark. And the sweet and bitter ..."
They did not part anymore, although they would see each other once again only in nine years.

She had no memory or hallucination but in some special state of mind was happy feeling his presence.
When she only remembered or thought of 'Ignatius', a warm golden-amber light broke through any thawing, filling, as it seemed, every cell of herself.
Time stopped for a few seconds, and if lucky, maybe more.

She calls him out as spirits were invoked.
But sometimes he came himself, especially during any troubles or illness.
Ignatius then told her that similar things happened to him.
That when fever rose (he like most men began to die at thirty-eight degrees) he imagined her name 'Joanna', where he went into as into a cool blue lake.
And he was healed.

Sometimes he called her. Most often late at night, when Joanna was reading in bed, and Dennis was asleep, resting his ear on the cushion (he used to sleep so when baby Philippe was yelling at night).
Ignatius said, "Joanna" No one called her by full name of it anymore...
Or 'Come to me'...
She pressed the receiver to her cheek.
Some favorite music Ignatius' Sounded, and again they sailed, embracing each other in the beautiful timelessness.

All words, even the highest, became unbearable falsehood there and talks about current affairs, secular chatter became impossible.
All usual stream of life flowed somewhere in another dimension.

Then, in order not to disturb a telephone operator by their silence and listen to voices of one another, they found a great way to just read any neutral text one by one into the phone, something like a collection of tasks in algebra.

Newspaper editorials suited for this purpose even better, their language had always been Martian for Joanna but she could not grasp their meaning, however hard she tried.
But in the mouth of Ignatius these shells of words were filled with music and secret meaning.
They were singing them to each other like two birds of on a branch of a paradisiacal tree.

Sometimes a cocktail of Moscow and Leningrad editorials gave an unexpected comic effect.
Then they started to laugh.
Star thread between Moscow and St. Petersburg stretched as a string, rang from their laughter, dropping star dust on heads of belated passers-by living in a straight line connecting the two cities.
And, until busy tone were heard in the receiver, hair and hands of passers also smelled of stars.

Then one day in the autumn his call would find her in Pitsunda in the house of creativity.
She rushed from the molten heat of the dining room to the unexpected call suggesting that something happened to Philip and reassuring herself that mother in law would probably called not her but Dennis.
She grabbed a receiver, heard Ignatius whether asking or claiming word 'Joanna'
And that he eas going to leave Russia.

That he had long waited for a visa and lost any hope. That the resolution fell on his head as snow, and his plane was in a few hours.
Therefore, him she would not have time to accompany him.
That he had spent a week searching for her.
And if not for Regina...

In the receiver a guitar screaming, laughing and rattled.
Probably a harem accompanied Ignatius to a foreign land, perhaps, Regina was there too...
Was he leaving alone or with anyeone?
What matter it did

"So, you are going to change the carriage?" Joanna remembered his comparison of life with a train rushing to nowhere.

"I'm changing my ward," he replied, " from number six to six hundred threescore and six".

She did not understand then, that he was speaking of 'the number of the Beast'.

"Wish me something for the way, Joanna... Come to me and say... That's it. We still have a minute..."
"Can you remember the multiplication table?"

This feverishly painful hilarity, residing in him even later, when he called her already from 'there' and, choking with laughter and French language, tried to read in the tradition of Parisian newspapers and asked what the weather in Moscow was

And then, when he apparently mastered 'the carriage, with obsession of a maniac traveler he began to change berths and compartments...
And in his night calls he choked with English, German, Italian and unknown printed media.
And with that strange laughter, from which her anxiety was growing increasingly as at a dog before an impending disaster.
She wanted to howl, to give up everything and run to to help Ignatius.

Meanwhile, he was successful judging Western broadcasting and reliable sources of Regina, with whom after Ignatius' departure she again established diplomatic relations.
Regina, furtively and by whisper (the only possible way of speaking about iGnatius now) told somewhere at a viewing about the success of his next exhibition, about unimaginable prices for paintings by clarifying who bought and for how much. About banquets and receptions of any VIPs.
And in general, she seemed to be waiting for her hour, when it would be possible to publish memoirs about how she found, raised and presented Darenov to humanity Ignatius.

She showed clippings from newspapers and magazines neatly laid out on the envelopes, where even more unshaven and thinner Ignatius stood among his own masterpieces, dignitaries and foreign beauties proudly looking into the distance from under hair that hug over his forehead, resembling a pirate patch.

Pirate is winner of the traveler and the rebel.

Now Blue Bird was hiding in Regina's bag woven from ropes.
Blue reflections made Regina's hands magic, and Jonna followed Regina as a sewn to her in anticipation of new news about Ignatius' success.

But months passed one after another, and the next night's call was like 'SOS!'

He said, 'Joanna' or 'come to me', and this that embraces of theirs, breaking the iron curtain and borders again reminded a jump without a parachute, when the earth inexorably approaching, and there was no salvation.
And in happiness of flight foretaste of death is dissolved as in the poisoned wine.

They were disconnected.
John put up the receiver, but her sense of fatal-sweet embrace in the necessity of falling did not leave her for a long time.
Anxiety was sitting in her heart like a splinter.
Jan even tried to go abroad with a group of filmmakers there but she was not allowed to. And they even directly asked her in a confidential conversation if she kept connection with anyone from the former Soviet citizens.

Yana replied that if they were referring to the artist Darenov, he really sometimes called her and they exchange information about current events here and there, reading each other excerpts from newspapers.

She was gently asked what newspapers they were.
Yana replied that they were central ones.
She read editorials of major newspapers, and nothing subversive was in it.

They answered that yes, of course, without our editorials Darenov would die there. But it is unclear why the Soviet citizen Joanna Sinegina is interested in the then rate of exchange or results of the last derby.
Anyway, what fools they are both playing?

Yan said that henceforth they to indicate the source of any reading passage, page, etc. pledges in their conversations to make sure alert comrades that their telephone conversations with a former comrade Darenov had nothing to do with espionage.
Everyone is allowed to play a fool.

Alert comrades said that they are not fools. That their telephone nonsense had long been fixed and examined with various x-rays. That it has really to do with psychiatry or the lawful husband of Comrade Sinegina, so let her be careful.

They settled on that.
But Yana would not be allowed to go abroad.

* * *

And then she dreamt just as the night under the old New Year's Eve.

Joanna early ran from her visit, being jealous of Dennis to his regular woman.
By the time, such spats occurred more often between them as frequent lightning before an impending storm.
She went to the shower, washing away her makeup, malice at Dennis and her gloomy idea that now the whole year would be so: jealous thoughts, returning her again and again to the house from where she had just ran away with disgust.
And in general she felt aversion to this whole stupid live of theirs, in which she hopelessly immersed.

After a shower and it became for her easier to think that it was even good that it happened: she did not have time to drink too much, swallow cigarette smoke and could sleep properly.

After kissing sleeping Philip, she had finally calmed down. And it was already a quarter to three, when she with pleasure stretched under the covers and turnof off the light.

She dreamt of an escalator going up; it was full of with people, conditional faceless crowd as Ignatius paintings.
In general, this dream reminded Ignatius' painting: two escalators going up and down.

She, Joanna, slowly flew up and saw a faceless crowd and Ignatius flying towards it, who somehow stands with his back to the motion.
She at first recognized only his back and hair as on the self-portrait in the train.

She still doubted whether it was him.
But here they passed, and she sees his face pale, eyes closed, like a mask.
She shouted at him, but he floated by like a statue motionless.
Yana saw his plaster-white face and runs down, forced his way through the crowd.
Again and again he cried, he did not hear.
And Joanna understood with horror that the escalator gradually disappeared with passengers in a black hole of a mine.

Again she yelled.
And finally his eyes opened, his person revived.
He saw her taking a step by step up to meet and slightly smiling uncontrollably filling up back in the black.

By an incredible effort of her will Joanna emerged from a dream. With wildly beating heart she sat on her bed, catching her sight on saving rectangular windows going into the night like a ghostly sail.

Then she slipped on the carpet and on her knees, feeling that she was going crazy with fear for him, stretched out her hands to the whitish sail of the window.

"Lord, save him! You can do everything... Kill me, if needed, just save him. Help him, Lord."

Choking with sobs she will pointed her forehead into the carpet. Suddenly she felt heart tumbling down. Once, twice...
And in the approaches nausea she thought that her sacrifice was accepted.
This idea did not scare her.

"Save him!" she repeated, looking at the sail of the window that flew away, gasping for air and waiting for death in the same way as they wait for some inevitably painful procedure.
Just to quickly...

At that moment she heard striking of the clock in the dining room.
The clock struck three.
"It is impossible," she thought.
"It cannot be that only 15 minutes passed since she turned off the light.

The improbability of what was happening gave her strength to crawl to the bedside, turn on the wall bracket and make sure the alarm clock shows three.
And in the light everything seemed to be not so hopeless.
She found a vial of valokordin on the bedside table and cups of water as if were carefully poured by someone.
Counting drops with her still shaky hand, she clearly perceived an invisible smile of someone unknown. He watched her gradually decided not to die.

A few years later she found out that hundreds of miles away in the same night Ignatius' car raced in the direction of one of the suburbs of Paris, where public usually gathered, with whom he had no contact for several months, while he was undergoing treatment at a private clinic, and believed that he would never again come theere.

In any case, his physical well-being was quite normal and he could do without 'this' that was the only means by which he succeeded in recent times for a while to get rid of all the frequent and familiar tightening episodes of illness - subconsciously deep rejection of life.

It was a train of condemned people where constant mindless romp of passengers, including his own, seemed to be madness.
With growing alienation he enviously looked at their quiet or distorted worldly passions: who was insane, who was ill, he or they?

Dying time outside, an eyeless driver, pull tickets from the general heap one by one: is it not yours?
Do not they realize that here it is - the only reality?

Are they seriously concerned about their miserable problems like that lonely old man-pensioner, Ignatius' neighbor in St. Petersburg... Who once knocked on the door and, complaining of his health, asked him to visit him in the evening.

"And I'm afraid, Ignatius, I will die before the tenth."

"And what will on the tenth, Grandpa? Ignatius asked."

"I will get a pension."

It turned out that Ignatius' disease was congenital.
It cannot be cured nor by change of place, nor by benefits of advanced civilization, nor by democratic freedoms of movement, express oneself and exhibit one's works.

Nor by popularity, nor by success that was somewhat exaggerated by Regina, but by acceptance, so to speak, introduction to European and world culture...

The fact that most of humanity does not notice or trying not to notice, the ultimate absurdity of life was for him that very fly in the ointment, which was present in every barrel, even in the highest quality ointment.
Intoxication by youth, strength, wine, creativity once saved him...
But lately, even creativity became his disease and curse.
He seemed to be a mad-doctor to himself who cut the sick, not knowing what to do next. And every once fled in panic from the operating room.

But he had no place to escape.
It seemed as if two people lived in him.
One whispered that during the plague it was most reasonable to feast closing his eyes and ears on the grief and suffering around without hearing any sound of wheels of a hearse possibly following you.
The other tormented his conscience, convicting such a feast as bad and immoral.

The only way out was 'ithis' that lived in the cell. It was as a mighty genie, giving several hours of deliverance.

It all started back there in the Soviet Union but only occasionally and sometimes there were big problems with getting of ampoules.
Here was another problem to endure, when they told that 'the goods arrived'.

Most of all Ignatius gave up.
And then the door of the tambour open wide and he spread its wings and slowly with delight flew up.
The train with its bustle, suffering and absurdity rumbled somewhere far below, past and future did not devour each other.
Minutes, hours, days, years and centuries in an ecstasy were circling around and flew together into endless blueness.

However, his decline was inevitable and with ever more horrific: an infinitely long and painful flight into the abyss.

"Joanna!" In a terrible breakdown and in agony he called her. And she always appear stretched out his hands.
His fear and hopelessness of his loneliness disappeared; they were now falling together in a painfully sweet and dying embrace until they touched the ground.
Where Joanna turned into a lake, and he immersed himself in his cool-blue blueness.
And he fell asleep at the bottom, where an eyeless driver could not reach him by greedy fingers.

Ignatius, of course, understood that all this would end badly. He treated and even believed that he would recover. He turned off the phone and worked hard.
A sudden recurrence too him by surprise; it was a fierce attack of aversion to everything, especially to himself.
The resumption of the fight seemed futile and meaningless.
He wanted nothing, he was tired, his life was painful and boring.
And if he were to die in a fall from a height, even illusory one, but in the fall, it will not be the worst kind of death.

So he said to himself, dialing the phone number of the villa, which was about forty kilometers from Paris.

Where he had not called for several months now, and where he raced, seeing nothing except opposing headlights and the ghost of a coveted ampoule beckoning him as a mirage in the desert.

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