Always Carmen

Always Carmen

© Pavel Barabash

A literary story based on events from the reality that it has already ceased to exist and is ruthlessly thrown away by time to dump history.

Snow fell in Khabarovsk. The cyclone was rampant for two days, then exhausted, subsided. Even this morning, snowflakes circled slowly and somehow thoughtfully, and now, at noon, the snow was already cheerfully bulky with snowdrifts on the roadsides, glittering and blind eyes. Snow gleefully creaked under the feet of passers-by. Of indefinite age, a woman marched with dignity along the sidewalk. 

Her face was grilled under a theater mask, a white face, like snow, a face-mask, with empty black eyes, looking somewhere inside themselves, like two extinct coal, all this caused confusion among some passers-by and curiosity among others. People stopped and watched her. Some have seen her before, but by that... You can't get used to it.

The woman had a black, time-wiped, short fur coat from a seal, a ridiculous old fox hat on her head, lathan red rolls on her legs, and an avoska with a loaf of white bread and two triangular packets of milk in her right hand. Behind her, wataga annoyingly fled children of seven to eight years old. They kept a distance, teased, threw snowballs in the back, and shouted after .

- Carmen...


- Carmen...  Carmen

One snowball hit her directly in the head, the old fox hat flew off her head, and she mechanically picked up and corrected the hat with a free hand, and slowly continued her journey, without even looking back at the mischief. She did not pay attention to the snow bulky on the sidelines, nor to the screams of the children, nor to the snowballs, which sometimes hit her in the back. Brela in her own way, thought about something of her own, secret, known only to her.

Two years after graduation, I again ended up in Khabarovsk, with free employment. And although I managed to get a job as a programmer in one of the numerous research institutes, there was no registration, especially housing. I walked just like that, aimlessly, with longing I looked at the glowing windows, in some windows a blue glow, happy people sitting in front of the TV, drinking hot tea. And here without housing, it's cold, itchy. It is urgently necessary to make a decision about the night: you can at the station with homeless people, only there are uncomfortable shops, and the policeman can wake up and drive to the street, you can at the research institute, persuading the watcher to miss work, if, of course, it turns out .

At first he lived in a hotel, it took half of my salary, then I was asked to vacate the room, according to the rules, you can't live in a hotel for more than a month, and I rented a room for 45 rubles, then it was a fortune, in a three-room apartment. He lived in it for several months, coming only for the night. The mistress was greedy, demanded a fee forward, hid shampoo in the bathroom, and constantly grumbled. One night, her acne and underdeveloped daughter, who pretty much drank, after her birthday, tried to crudely impose her society on me, I politely refused, in the morning my refusal was won back, and now I was on the street. A bag of things, all my possessions, was added in a storage cell.

There was already the end of November, at a thermometer of degrees ten below zero, and even a permeating wind. The whole body is frozen, itching. I walked along the tram line towards Amur Boulevard, decided to spend the night at the research institute, to be humiliated again, the mood is disgusting. He asked the woman carrying water from the column, just so, without any hope, barely reprimanding the words, because the face was frozen and the jaw barely moved, squeezing out the complaining words:

blamed, for God's sake. No one rents a room in your DD?

The issue was resolved in a matter of minutes. Of the two rooms, she gave me the smallest one for a modest fee. The mistress drank me with hot tea, her friend came to visit, played the guitar and sang old romances. Everything was like a fairy tale. I was happy this evening. In the kitchen, in the stove, firewood was cheerfully burned and cracked, heat was poured across the body. The eyelids became heavy, I tried to keep them open out of courtesy, but they themselves closed .

When I got used to this small two-story wooden house, a pre-revolutionary building, and met my neighbors, I learned that Carmen lived on the other side of the house, on the ground floor, a few years ago. Her neighbors remembered her well, and I found out something about this Carmen's life.

1937 began for Fira Lerme, actress of the Kiev Opera House, very successfully. She had a happy lot to play the role of Carmen. The Wheel of Fate, rotated by the director's whimsy, stopped at it. She could not dream, she considered herself unworthy, many all their lives worked in the theater and never...

Now her life was filled with endless rehearsals. In the spring, she married Andrei, a young lieutenant, they were friends at school. Fira did not want a child yet, and this upset Andrei. But he understood her... that role that went to her... That was her life, and he didn't insist.

On this winter December evening, she could not sleep for a long time: tomorrow - the prime minister, lay with her eyes open, tried to breathe smoothly to calm the excitement, inhale - exhale, closed her eyes... but mentally again and again returned to the upcoming performance, lost in her imagination every detail, every movement, every intonation of the voice. And Andrei was worried, smoked a lot. They fell asleep late, far past midnight. It seemed that Happiness was everywhere, there was so much of it. But the pendulum of Fate has already gone towards Suffering, ruthlessly striking behind the blow

It seemed that only fell asleep. Woke up from a knock. They knocked hard on the front door. What happened? Who could it be? Andrey opened... four broke in, on everyone - leather jackets, weapons. The eldest, with red hair, of small stature, smelled of vodka and tobacco from him, his face in freckles, with a brazen look, he stared at her while he was searching, passing by - he looked into the notch of negligence. She cordoned off, unable to understand how her Andrei could be the enemy of the people. She sat on the bed, smelling of negligence, eating into a lump, sometimes she was hit by nervous chills.

This is some creepy dream that will pass, and then everything will be fine. Time kind of stopped, the clock arrows showed 4 in the morning. They all dug up, scattered books, letters, wedding photos, walked on them with boots. Nothing but a volume of poems by Yesenin was found. Andrei was taken away. Red lingered, told him to wait downstairs, threw a hook on the door and roughly knocked her onto the bed. She didn't even resist. 

bitch, don't talk. Or you, as the wife of the enemy of the people. Do you understand, bitch? - said Red goodbye, fastening the width .

She did not go to the theater either the next day or to others. No one came from the theater either. Bad news spreads faster than good news. The wife of the enemy of the people should not disrupt the standing ovation of the public. 

Soon it turned out that she was pregnant. Probably pregnant with Red. Relatives advised to have an abortion, even brought a doctor, but she refused. She didn't care what happened to her, the baby. Life lost its meaning, everything was like a nightmare dream. All you have to do is wake up to move on.

After six months, Andrei was released, but it was already another person, a ham appeared on the temples, a beard grew up, some pathetic and broken, silent. He started drinking. Got a job as a loader in a store. He came late, often drunk, kept gritty silent all the time. He did not touch her breezily. A month later, in the morning, neighbors found him at the entrance. He hanged himself. Fate ruthlessly dealt Fira another blow. Relatives helped bury. Childbirth turned out to be premature. The child was born weak and died in the hospital. Again the blow of Fate.

Some Jews, instinctively feeling the impending danger, went to the Far East, to the Jewish Autonomous Region, to the reservation. She ended up first in Birobidzhan, then in Khabarovsk. She got a job as a telephone operator on the central telegraph. The work was given with difficulty, took a lot of strength. She lived as in a dream, poorly perceiving Reality, she did everything as a somnambula, connected, disconnected, some wires, someone's conversations, someone's destinies .

The hours of her own life stopped in those terrible four o'clock in the morning. Only the Past made sense, and. staying in it...

... she saw herself on the stage of the opera house in Kiev, represented herself as Carmen, and heard an unbroken standing ovation of the hall. Nice squeezed my heart. How nice it is to feel satin dress, and flowers... flowers on stage, with happiness I wanted to cry, then, now it is impossible, makeup will flow...

She bought expensive powder, expensive cream, cosmetics, in the evening she grimaced herself, imagining herself Carmen, became her, and, happy, fell asleep. At work, Fira allocated a small apartment on the ground floor of a small two-story wooden house of pre-revolutionary construction along Sheronov Street. And when she was in her little apartment, nothing prevented her from indulging in her memories, living in the past and dreaming, representing herself as Carmen, at these moments - she was happy, she was this Carmen .

During the war, all her close relatives died in Babi Yar. Another ruthless blow to her psyche. And she could no longer work as a telegraph operator, quickly tired, made many mistakes, was often ill, passed a medical commission, was given a disability, and was appointed a meager pension. 

It's been years. Twice a week, Fira went to the store for groceries, always bought the same thing: two triangular paper bags of milk and a bar of white bread. And what else can you buy for a miserable disability pension? Her route was unchanged: up Sheronov Street, then along Karl Marx Street, past the higher party school, past the medical institute, hairdresser, to the grocery store and to the bakery, then by the same route back. Now Fira could no longer afford to buy expensive cosmetics, as before, and modestly dispensed with crushed chalk and vaseline. A new layer of chalk fell on the previous layer... Her face resembled a theater mask...

Fira defined for herself as if the barrier separating events before that bad night, until four in the morning. All good events, thus, lay on one side of the barrier, they are colored, voluminous, brightly illuminated, filled with music and laughter. All subsequent events, on the other side of the barrier, they are flat, dim and blurred .

Stepping over the barrier meant for her to survive all the suffering that fell in black cards on the table of her Fate. Her unconscious brain assessed this task as impossible, and created Reality, in which there was no future, for events lying on the other side of the barrier.

The present, on the other side of the barrier, as if outlawed, as soon as the moment ceased to be real, it was immediately arrested and placed in the dim casemates of the unconscious, and consciousness did not want to know anything about the fate of this experience. To live and dream, thus, you can only be there, in that distant and happy past, when she was preparing for the premiere to become Carmen, and she did it many times in her mind then, in the past.

Sometimes the neighbors invited her to visit. Treated to tea with jam, Fira refused wine, and in general, was shy and felt awkward. Having become accustomed, she talked interestingly and remembering the past, about her childhood, about the theater. When she was asked about real life, or what was after that fateful night, her eyes, before that so alive and joyful, suddenly froze, looked motionless and detached, her voice became muted and complaining. She began to talk about herself in the third person, said that Fira wanted to sleep, that tomorrow the prime minister asked Fira to apologize, - put on an old coat and went to her apartment.

Neighbors out of pity for her, or maybe for things that were already old, out of fashion, unnecessary, but which were pathetic to throw away, offered her noses, but Fira always refused, and only by cunning, for example, having issued a handout as a New Year's gift, it was possible to hand her something. Actually, the neighbors are simple and kind people, they regretted and loved Fira in their own way, sympathized with her fate, but could not help her. For them, there was a future, and it was always ahead. They watched TV, and knew that under communism everyone would be fine. Only when it was built, no one knew.

So they went day after day, year after year. Vaseline, chalk, mask, walk to the store, snowballs in the back, happy hours of communication with the past. Perhaps she would have died on her iron teenage crib, neatly covered with fleece, would have died happy, would have died Carmen. Every day she turned her face into a theater mask. She wanted only one thing: to live and die like Carmen.

But she was denied this little. The Wheel of Fate again showed in grain. Suffering again. After all, the Bible says: "Whoever has, he will have, and whoever does not, take away from him what he wants to have." A group of Japanese tourists who stayed in the hotel and studied the surrounding area met on Carmen Street. Tourists snapped cameras, the movie camera, together with the owner, made some way with Carmen, then running forward, then passing her past herself. Great plot! There will be something to show at home.

Most likely, they did it without any malicious intent. But who knows? You can expect everything! And the city authorities reasoned like that. It may carry now, but in general it is not far from trouble. A madman wanders through the streets of the city, and there is no rule on this. After all, they may think that we lack psychiatrists, that only dissidents are held in our psychiatric hospitals. The case can take on political coloring. We need to take measures, put things in order: "Crazy people should sit in psychos!" And someone there, at the top, denounced by the power received from the Party (then there was only one party - the CPSU), drowned in his hearts with his leg, knocked his cam on the table, ordered. And Carmen, the same day, two dozen nurses were taken away.

that's not all! Fate has not yet come to an end over poor Carmen. The puffy nurse, hopelessly standing in line for housing for the second dozen years, on the advice of the chief doctor, began to nurse Carmen, feed her, and a month later she officially issued guardianship. And here, Carmen was discharged from a psychiatric hospital. The nurse, along with her high school daughter, registered in a small apartment  .

Two months later, the nurse, without any regret, according to the plan developed, handed Carmen back to the "mental institution." Red orderly - again red, he was similar to that of the past, he also smelled of vodka and tobacco, by order of the chief doctor, he took away her purse, where vaseline and chalk lay. Fira desperately pressed her old leather purse with her cosmetics (old lipstick, vaseline and crushed chalk) to her chest, her last wealth, and did not want to give away, resisted that there was strength. But Red, so big and rude, knocked her down, tore her purse from her hands so much that only a torn handle remained in her small cam. Handle from the purse - he did not take away. 

Fira took away the Past, took away Life, and Carmen ceased to exist. Life has lost all meaning to Fira. In the evening, Fira could not sleep for a long time, she sighed quietly and complained, looked into the ceiling, firmly clutching the torn handle in the cam and pressing it to the heart. And when she fell asleep, she had a wonderful  dream:

… she is on stage, worried, a full audience hall, in the front row is her Andrei with a huge bouquet of red roses... And here the excitement passes, she is Carmen, she lives... Success, a flurry of applause... the hall chants "bravo," she is littered with flowers, hugged, Andrei is next to her, she presses against him, she is so small next to him, so happy, crying with joy, happiness, how much he is today 

the same night, in early December, early in the morning, at dawn, Fira died without regaining consciousness, died in her Past. In her senile pinched cam, they found a handle from her purse, a piece of the Past that she carefully pressed to her heart. A smile froze on her face, she deceived the red orderly, she died on the stage of life, died like Carmen .

Temporarily, Fira's body was put in a barn. And two days later, the orderlies carried out from the barn the corpse of an old woman, wrapped in an old decommissioned hospital sheet. The frozen corpse, like a log, was loaded into a truck and taken to the city cemetery. Workers hurriedly lowered the body into the grave and threw deadly lumps of earth. Then they drank medical alcohol, smoked, kept quiet. 

Категория: Мои статьи | Добавил: PB (16.01.2023) | Автор: Pavel Barabash E
Просмотров: 13 | Теги: artist, carmen, security officer, Crazy | Рейтинг: 0.0/0
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