Social and psychological drama -
: social and psychological drama

Grand Mikhail  -  A friend's frown...

:  [1]



Normality is not a criterion.


Have you ever lived, my humble wonderer,

Have you ever known why you are here?

Have you ever dreamt of distant galaxies,

Have you ever thought the magic is near?


All your earthy days have passed so emptily,

How many years you have wondered for!

Believe me, we enjoy the art of living...

You should know you havent lived at all...


Those healthy ill are hooked on nonsense...

You should know, my friend... I give you some advice:

You should think: Who the devil are they,

To decide what in the earth is wrong or right?


They can only see the masks and substance,

All unclear things are their taboo!

What is real for us is their fiction,

Their lives in coffins are seen to me and you...


They have never lived and wont live forever!

They just walk around and will soon go away...

They will be forgotten by all people -

They will disappear, this is what I say...


Since they were born they havent known,

How to fly in silence through the worlds,

How to be the authors of their justice,

How to rule their fates despite the threats of gods!


Slaves are those depending on illusions!

They are weak and their souls are poor...

Their minds are a result of bad diffusions,

Their magic wont impress a man like you!


Goddamn normality is not a criterion!

Devilish feelings are not at all a sin...

These are just some stupid superstitions,

Its a road on which we all have been...


Bozhena Glinska





Strophe (1)


The beginning of June was pleasant with warm weather and a lack of the impertinent rains which had tired everyone during spring. The sun rose high and it was already midday. A young fellow named Florian walked along one of the main streets of the city. To his left, the Opera House looked down from above. There were few people in Freedom Avenue, and for some reason it amazed him because this place is usually so overcrowded by this time of day that one can hardly move.

Florian had celebrated his 22nd birthday recently. But his birthday wasnt the most important event for him this year. Much more important was the day when he and nineteen of his fellow students received their lawyers' diplomas that was the event!

He was dressed in black shoes, jeans and a shirt to match the color of his shoes. The wooden hooked handle of his umbrella hung on the tightly pressed fingers of his left hand although the weather was good, the weather forecast on TV promised heavy rain with thunder in the afternoon.

A big clock in the city hall sang out one, and the young man sped up his pace. He was going to the cafeteria Library where an important appointment was scheduled for him, for which he was already a little late. Nothing can be worse than waiting and hurrying. Florian didnt want to hurry after someone, nor did he want someone to wait for him. He has always tried to be punctual. Yet his profession required him to show this wonderful quality. Looking forward he began to move faster, slightly hitting the pavement with the tip of his umbrella at each step.

A man sitting at the door of a grocery store caused Florian to slow down and sacrifice his reputation as a man who is always on time for appointments. It was the first time in his life that he had seen someone so dirty. The mans neck was dark gray, his hands were peeling, and the skin under his finger-nails was black. Only the middle of his face was washed, an area not larger than a palm. The young man hadnt seen him before. Perhaps he had never been there before

The dirty man without a job and a permanent place of living had been handsome once, but he had gotten married to a functioning alcoholic and stupidly lost all his money. He also lost nearly all of his teeth, hair and the forefinger of his right hand. The grip of the four-fingered hand was not as strong as it used to be, so the loafer dropped an empty white plastic cup intended for the collection of donations thrown into it by passers-by. A blast of wind carried it even further under the wheels of cars on the road. But the man didnt get upset. He took out another plastic cup from his rag-bag.

His hands trembled and he often dropped various things. Nevertheless, he was a drunkard so heavy that even five people would be unable to snatch a bottle out of his hands. It was hard for Florian to look at that but, to whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required! So, perhaps the social position of this loafer wasnt the worst of all.


* * *

When Florian entered the cafeteria Library his girlfriend Oblina was already waiting for him. It was the only time in his life that she had come first. Oblina was usually terribly late on various silly pretexts. This was the case even when the young man himself came 15-20 minutes later than scheduled.

Although the place was overcrowded with students watching something on TV, he noticed Oblina at once. He had learned about her being there having seen her car outdoors a tasteless yellow Renault presented to her by her father on her 18th birthday, which he had bought on credit. She was 19 now, and she passed to the third year of study at the University, but she was still unable to drive well. A crumpled front and rear bumpers, as well as a deep dent on the right wing testified to that.

The girl was sitting at their favorite table in the corner of the room facing him. He hadnt seen Oblina for a whole three weeks because of his practical training with a law firm located in another city. After this evening he would not see her again till New Year. But during this time they could eat some exotic dish, drink a couple of cocktails and have some fun on the refreshing, newly washed sheet of her bed.

Oblinas mother and father had left for some recreational resort, so the whole house was at her disposal. Florian choked up thinking of what he was in for after this dinner, and some part of him regretted they were wasting time on eating and drinking. However, the other part felt it would be better not to hurry and treat this dinner calmly and sensibly.

At a first glance it was pretty obvious that Oblina was worried about something, yet not too much insight was required to understand why. On the following day he was flying off to a big city in a strange country so that the day after tomorrow he could start his work in a solid law firm dealing with various cases of large companies. Half of the world was to separate them for a whole six months. They had never been apart for so long before.

He could always tell if she was troubled about something and knew all the signs of it. Oblina withdrew into herself, stroked everything that came her way with her hands napkins, her skirt, his tie as if she were smoothing out a way to some peaceful harbor for both of them. She never laughed and became ridiculously serious and wise. At such moments she seemed very amusing to him, as if she were a little girl who had put on her moms dress. He simply couldnt take her seriousness seriously.

Her present anxiety didnt have any logical sense as well; but Florian knew that anxiety and logic rarely go hand in hand. In the long run, he would never have accepted this job if Oblina had not forced him to do so. She didnt let him miss such an opportunity and rejected all his counter arguments pitilessly insisting that nothing was too bad if he tried his hand at it at least for half a year: If you dont like it come back home. But you are sure to like it!

This job was exactly what they both wanted to do, a job of their common dream, and they both knew about it. And if he liked it but he was sure to like it and wanted to stay in the strange country, she would be able to come to him. The University he graduated from, of which she was now a student, had connections with that law firm, so the question of whether she would be accepted never sprang up. They would start living together then. Dressed in lacy pants she would serve him tea with doughnuts in a family way, then they would be able to screw.

Florian agreed to her reasoning. He has always thought that the word pants was a thousand times sexier than panties. So he agreed to take up this job and was sent to another city to undertake three weeks of training in order to get an introduction to his profession. So, now he was back, and she was smoothing out a paper napkin which didnt amaze him at all.

He elbowed his way to Oblina through the crowded hall, bent over the table, kissed her and only then sat down in front of her. She didnt move her lips in response, so he contented himself by dabbing her temple and leaving some traces of her brownish foundation on his lips.

Virgil, weve come, said Florian taking the toy out of his pocket and putting it on the table.

He always did it. No matter where he was going, he took with him a small rubber polar bear not larger than half a pencil in size, talked to him as if he were alive and sometimes even walked him.

Oblina was an ordinary dudine wench, very primitive in view and peppered. Yet she was spoiled by her rich parents. She always had a layer of make-up foundation on her face as if she were suntanned. Her bookworm hair was bleached-out and dyed in the color of chaff. Her eyebrows were plucked absolutely and there were two narrow stripes drawn with a brown pencil in their place.

An empty glass of Martini was standing before her, and when a waitress came up to her she ordered another one, not forgetting to ask for a jug of beer for Florian.

Despite her artificial look the young fellow enjoyed looking at her, he liked the smooth contour of her neck, dull glitter of her hair, and at first he simply kept the conversation alive, murmuring something not to the point and almost not listening to her. So, one couldnt say they had nothing to talk about.

Florian began to comprehend something only when Oblina told him that he should treat his stay in a big city in a strange country as a rest from their relations, and even at that moment he decided she was only kidding. He didnt understand how serious Oblina was until she told him it would be better if they both spent some time with other people.

Being undressed? he asked her jokingly.

It wont hurt, Oblina answered, swallowing half a glass of Martini in one go.

The way she swallowed it sloshed him with a cold shower of anticipation more than words could do. Obviously, this girl had been drinking to keep her spirits up even before he came. She had drunk at least one dose, or even two.

Do you think I cant wait for a few months? Florian tried to make it clear.

A trite joke about masturbation was supposed here, but a strange thing happened. For some reason the young fellows throat became dry and he couldnt say a word.

You know, I dont want to worry about what will happen in a few months. We dont know what well feel in a few months. What I will feel. I dont want you to think you have to come back just to make us be together. Or to be sure I will come there. Wed better worry about what is happening now. Look at it from the following perspective. How many girls have you been close to? For the whole of your life?

Florian shuddered in surprise. So many times he had seen this frown of concentration on her face which suited her so much, but it had never frightened him before.

You know the answer yourself, he uttered.

No one except me, she confirmed. But nobody does it this way. Nobody spends their whole life with the first person he slept with. At least these days. Not a single man on the planet. There should be other relations. At least two or three.

Is this how you call it? Relations? Elegantly and with so much taste.

OK, Oblina said. First you should screw some other girls.

The people watching TV roared approvingly at something. And the barman even began to applaud looking at the flat screen.

Florian wanted to say something but his mouth was dry, his tongue refused to move and he had to take a gulp of beer. The beer that remained at the bottom of the glass was enough at least for one gulp. He didnt remember how this beer appeared on the table, nor did he remember how he drank it. The beer was lukewarm and salty like sea water. So, she waited to this day on purpose, she wanted to tell him this two minutes before his departure, to tell him this

So, do you want to break off with me? Do you want to get free from me? And you were waiting till the very last moment to tell me this?

A waitress with an empty tray and a plastic smile emerged at their table.

Will you order something? she asked. Maybe something to drink?

Another Martini, please, and another beer, Oblina replied joyfully.

I dont want beer, Florian said and couldnt recognize his hoarse, childishly offended voice.

Well both take lime martini then, Oblina decided.

The waitress went away.

Whats the hell is going on? I have a ticket for the plane in my pocket, a flat has already been leased out. They expect me to appear at work on Monday morning, the 10th of June, and you are giving me all this bullshit. What result do you hope for? Do you want me to call them tomorrow morning and say: Thank you for offering me the job for which seven hundred people fought, but I have to refrain from it after some thinking? Are you checking whom I love more: you or this job? Well, if this is checking, then it is time for you to understand that you are thinking like a child which is even offensive to me. In the long run, it is you who sent me to work there!

No, Florian, I really want you to go away, I want you to

To saw somebody elses plank?

Oblina shrugged her shoulders roughly. Florian was amazed at himself. He would never have expected his voice to sound so terribly. She simply nodded to this and took a drink from her glass convulsively.

Sooner or later you will do this.

A senseless phrase once said by his father ran through Florians mind: You can live your life either like a crippled or a weakling, or The young fellow wasnt sure his dad could ever say anything like that and, although this phrase could be imaginary and fully fictional, it came upon his mind as clearly as if it were a line from some favorite song.

The waitress put his martini before him cautiously and he nearly emptied the glass, having drunk one third of it in one go. He had never drunk martini before, so a sweet acute burn caught him unaware. Martini went slowly down his throat and occupied his lungs. His chest was like a burning furnace, his sweat pinched his face. His hand stretched to his throat itself, found the knot of his tie and loosened it. Why should he have put on a shirt with a tie? It made him burn now. He was in hell.

You will always be tormented by the question of what you have missed, Oblina went on. This is what all men are. And I just face the truth. I dont want to marry you and after some time win you away from my female friends and our baby sitter. I dont want to be a reason of your regrets.

Florian tried to regain his composure and come back to the tone of patient, mild humor. He somehow managed to restore his patience, but couldnt do anything about mild humor.

Dont tell me what other people think! I love you. You drive me mad more than its at all possible, but I want to live each of these annoying minutes with you, if you understand me, he looked at her. I know what I want. I want to live the life Ive been dreaming of for so many years. How many times did we discuss the names of our future children? Do you think all this was a mad spiel?

I think its a part of our main problem. You live as if we already have children, as if we are married. But we have no children and we are not married. Children already exist in your imagination because you live in your fantasy, not in the real world. But Im not sure if Id like to ever have children at all.

A hope and a thought of a loving wife and sweet children flashed through his mind and blinked off immediately. This is how a sailor sees the roofs of his town and church domes from the ship sinking near his home coast. They glitter before his eyes for a moment and then disappear forever in wild waters.

Florian twitched his tie off himself and threw it on the table. It was unbearable for him now to feel something on his neck.

But youve nearly deceived me. Last eight thousand times we talked about it you seemed to like it.

I even dont know what exactly I like. Since the time weve met Ive had no chance to get free from you and think about my own life. I didnt have a single day

Do you mean to say I suffocate you? Is this what you want to tell me? Dogshit.

Oblina turned away from the guy whom she had dated up to this day and stared into the depth of the hall with her empty eyes letting his wrath subside. He sighed deeply with a whistle and ordered himself not to shout but try to say something clever again.

Do you remember that day on the tree? he asked. In the shanty we couldnt find any more with white curtains? You said things like that dont happen to ordinary couples. You said we were different. You said our love was something special, and only one couple in a million can get what we are given. You said we were made for each other. You said the signs of destiny cant be ignored.

It wasnt a sign at all. We just slept over in somebodys shanty on the tree.

Florian shook his head slowly. Talking to Oblina at that moment was like wagging a finger at a swarm of bumble-bees. No sense at all, only painful bites.

Dont you remember how we looked for it later? We had searched for it for the whole summer but never found it. You also said it was our Secret House on a Secret Tree.

I said so because I didnt want us to look for it any more. This is, Florian, what I really mean. You and your mysterious way of thinking. A quickie cant be just a quickie. This must necessarily be a transcendental adventure changing the course of your life. This is wild and gloomy and I am tired of pretending its all right for me. Do you ever listen to what you say? Why, for goodness sake, did we start talking about that shanty?

I feel squeamish from such expressions.

Dont you like it? Dont you like to listen to me talking about quickies? Why? Doesnt it coincide with your idea of me? You dont need a real woman. You need a holy spirit you can worship.

So, you still dont know what to order? the waitress asked them she was standing at their table again.

Bring us another couple, Florian answered and she went away.

Oblina and he looked at each other. The young fellow caught hold of the edge of the table feeling it would turn over next moment.

We met when we were kids, the girl broke off again. We let it be something more serious than it should be between schoolmates. Once we start spending some time with other people, this may give some perspective to our relations. Maybe well resume them seeing that we still love each other as adults just as it was when we were kids. I dont know. Perhaps after some time well look upon what we give to each other from a different perspective.

What do we give to each other? Florian inquired. You sound like a bank clerk giving out loans.

Oblina rubbed her cheek with her hand smearing her make-up foundation across her palm. Her eyes became miserable, and only now did the guy notice that she was without her cross, the one he gave her some years ago. It was his first present for her. Did his absence mean anything to her? Long before they first made a decision to live together for the whole life this cross had become something like a wedding ring for both of them. Florian couldnt remember seeing Oblina without it. This thought made him feel some dangerous cold inside.

Did you manage to find somebody for yourself? Somebody you want to screw to give our relations some perspective?

I havent thought about it yet. I just

You do think about it, yet very intensively. This is what everything boils down to, you said it yourself. We need to do it with other people.

Oblina opened her mouth, then closed it and opened again.

Yes, Florian, perhaps it is so, she finally answered. I mean I also must sleep with somebody else. Otherwise it will be possible that you go there and begin living like a monk. Once you know I do this, it will be easier for you to do the same.

So, it means you already have someone?

There is one man to whom I was close. Once or twice.

While I was in another city, he didnt ask but rather stated. Who is he?

Youve never met him. This doesnt matter.

Still I want to know.

This is not important. I wont ask you questions about what you do when you leave.

Questions about what and with whom I do there, Florian corrected her.

Yes, let it be so. No questions. I dont want to know.

But I want. When was it?

What was?

When did you begin to date with this guy? This week? What did you tell him? Did you tell him it would be better to wait until I leave for my new job? Or did you refuse to wait?

Oblina half-opened her mouth to give an answer, and he saw something small and frightening in her eyes, and in a surge of fever he understood what he didnt want to understand. It became clear to him that she had been preparing herself for this conversation for the whole spring, starting from the moment she had first asked him to take up this job.

How far did he go? Has he already had you? Maybe even twice?

The girl shook her head, but the guy didnt understand if she meant not or simply refused to answer his question. She was already dashing away her tears. To his surprise, he had no desire to calm her down. He was in grips of something he didnt understand himself, some perverse mixture of wrath and excitement.

Some part of him discovered with surprise that it was pleasant to feel offended and have an excuse for causing her pain. To see how much pain he could cause her. He wanted to beat her up with his questions. At the same time, pictures began to spring up before his eyes: Oblina kneeling down on a mess of crumpled sheets, a bright shadow of half-opened drapes spreads across her body, somebodys hand stretches out to her naked hips. This picture outraged and excited him equally.

Florian, she uttered. Please

Stop saying your please! There are things you dont tell me about. Things I need to know. I need to know if you screwed him. Tell me if you screwed him.

No, I didnt.

Good, the guy nodded. Has he ever been there at your place when I called you from another city? Did he sit there letting his hand go under your skirt?

No, Florian, I met with him after classes at the University. And thats all. We only talked to each other. Mostly about study.

Did you think of him when I slept with you?

My god, of course I didnt. How can you ask about such things?

I ask you because I want to know everything. I want to know everything down to the last shitty detail you refuse to tell me, to know each of your dirty mysteries.


Because this way it will be easier for me to hate you.

The waitress was standing strenuously near their table and while she was giving them fresh juices she nearly turned to stone.

Why on earth are you staring at us? the young fellow asked her and she stepped back irresolutely.

The waitress wasnt the only one who stared at them. Heads from nearby tables were turning to them. Some of the viewers looked at them seriously whereas others, mostly young couples, were watching them with merry shining eyes trying not to burst out laughing. Nothing can be more amusing than a loud public quarrel.

When the young fellow glanced at his girl again she was already standing behind her chair. She held his tie in her hands. When Florian tossed it away, she picked it up and since that time she had been folding and smoothing it out automatically.

Where are you going? he asked her and caught her by the shoulder at the moment she was trying to pass him by.

Oblina swayed and hit herself against the table. She was drunk. They both were drunk.

Florian, she said. My hand.

Only then he realized how firmly he squeezed her shoulder, digging his fingers into her skin so fiercely that her bone could be felt. A significant effort was required from him to unclamp his hand.

Im not running away, the girl said. I simply need to make myself up a little, she pointed to her face.

We didnt finish our conversation. There are a lot of things you still havent told me about.

Even if there are things I dont want to tell you about this is out of best intentions. I simply dont want you to feel hurt.

Its too late to speak about it.

Because I love you.

You said and I believed you, you repeated and I began to doubt, you began to insist, and I understood you were lying to me! he remembered a proverb.

I dont believe you, he replied. Do you believe her? he asked the small rubber polar bear toy.

Florian said it, first of all, in order to cause her pain. He felt a wild surge of delight seeing that his words had an effect on her. Tears began to flow from her eyes. She swayed and caught the table with her hand in order to keep balance.

You see, even the bear doesnt believe you!

Please try to understand that if I conceal something, it means I want to protect you. I know how good you are. You deserve more than you get walking around with me.

In the long run, weve agreed on some points. I really deserve something better.

Oblina was waiting for Florian to say something else, but he couldnt because he was short of breath again. She turned away and began to move through the crowd to the ladies room, having left 1/3 of juice at the bottom of her glass. As he watched her going away, he finished his martini.

She looked good in the white blouse and grey skirt she was wearing; the guy saw several students turning their heads to her as she moved, then one of them told something and the other one began to laugh. It seemed to Florian that his blood coagulated and ran more slowly through his veins; he could feel his pulse beating in his temples. He didnt even realize that some man was standing at their table, he couldnt hear him say Im sorry and couldnt even see him until the man bent and looked him straight in the eyes. He had the figure of a muscleman, his white shirt fitting his shoulders tightly. Small foolish eyes looked from under the bony ledge of his forehead.

Im sorry, he repeated. We must ask you and your wife to leave this place. We cant allow you to offend our employees.

Shes not my wife. Shes just a woman I used to screw.

I dont want to hear such expressions here, the big man said reservedly (a barman? a bouncer?). Use them in some other place.

Florian rose, felt his wallet in his pocket, put two hundreds on the table, took his polar bear and headed off to the door. He was seized by the feeling of his rightness.

Leave her here, he thought.

While he was sitting in front of Oblina, he wanted to tear all her secrets out of her and simultaneously cause her as many unpleasant feelings as possible. But now, when he couldnt see her, he could sigh with relief and understand that it would be a gross mistake to provide her with new opportunities to justify her actions. He no longer wanted to hang around there giving her a chance to dilute his burning hatred with tears and new conversations about her love for him. He didnt want to understand anything, nor did he want to feel sympathy.

She will come back soon and find their table empty. His absence will tell her more than he could say if he had stayed. It doesnt matter if she is with her car and he is supposed to offer her to take a taxi. Florian is not a postman, and Oblina is not a pocket to deliver her to the addressee. She is a big girl, she can decide herself not to get behind the wheel while drunk. Isnt it the main point of her screwing somebody else while he is out of town? To prove she is already an adult? He felt no, he didnt feel anything at that moment!

Never in his life was Florian so certain of his being right and, as he approached the door, he could hear something like applause, stamping of feet and clapping of hands which sounded more and more loudly until he finally opened the door and saw a heavy shower pouring from the sky.


End of the fragment.



Mikhail Grand.

August 17, 2013.



:  [1]