|© My evenness|
|Leontovych Julia Anatoliivna|
It is a something painfully familiar in Soul, as well as such mysterious and charming, he is attract Mia’s attention since them first meet on Heathrow airport, London.
But could she know that this casual acquaintance will change all her life and that guy is originally does belong to another worWorld where victories and defeats sometimes unequal and the confrontation of good and evil is being as main reason of rivalry of two ancient clans that lives along with people already during centuries.
Who is her new friend, and whose side he is an adherent?
What is her role in this game, pawn or just an accidental passerby?
Whose superiority would prevail and finally will rule in the World?
There are a lot of questions that asking herself young girl that arrived to UK to continue her study at university. And she should to get the true, never mind how hard it would be.
There lived one lassie, who being quite a child, enjoyed her world of fairy-tales, fantasies and imagination. There were no questions she would not receive answers to; everything was clear, simple and easy.
It was a magic, sweet and kind world named Childhood…
Oh, childhood, where have you gone to? Where shall I look for you?
“Where is this wonderland, this land of laugh and magic?” the grown-up girl kept asking herself. She asked herself dozens of other questions of interest.
She was sitting on the window-sill looking into the distance.
She loved watching the night sky, the bright lights of illuminated night city. She mused upon the distant scene and it seemed she was elsewhere among the stars or even further, in the space infinity.
It is beautiful and calm, quiet and good there. The hustle and bustle of everyday life disappears and fades away, and you feel at ease and peaceful. There is no daily grind, where everyone is in a hurry and is absorbed in his own thoughts, there is no lie, no hurts and hatred – just silence is all around.
Everything is different now, everything has changed, and nothing is now as it has been before.
The more duties, the more responsibility. Now she has grown up.
Now she has got even more questions than she has ever had before, she is not a child now, she does not have to answer all the questions asked, moreover – now she herself can find answers to all the questions, but that’s not the thing.
Day by day even more questions are left unanswered.
She was looking for an answer in herself, she asked passers-by, she asked the sky and night stars, she was looking for an answer to the question of interest, but she could not find the one.
Why is it so?
Why did she get answers to all the questions when she was a child, but now she gets no more of them?
Who can give the answers?
She does not know the answer; she has got only questions and that makes her feel blue and lonely.
As she was looking for the answers to her questions, she felt restless and uneasy.
The more questions she asked herself, the fewer answers she got.
Everything was just the other way before.
Once again she wondered: “Where are you?”
She does not know the answer to this question, she just wants to find it but she would not find it – everything is vain.
She longs to meet him but she cannot.
She repeats once and again: “Where can I find you, my life?”, and keeps thinking.
If only everything depended on our will, for as they say: “Where there’s a will…” Once more I make sure that it is in no way true, since I have a will, but you don’t come.
You will come once, bringing the answer with you. You’ll be my own answer.
But he would not come and she lost her belief in love.
A little hope nested in her heart. And there was he who gave her hope and dream that she so sincerely believed to be real and he so cruelly took away, broke and killed.
With no sorrow he killed everything that began to take shape in her.
He kept taking her strengths away – silently, steady and taking everything in his stride.
With tears in her eyes she waited impatiently for the night to come to tell the night city – her only friend – of her state of mind.
It understood her rather better than she was able to understand herself.
She loved just once, though unanswered.
Time after time she found the answers, comfort, courage and strength in bright city lights.
The stars shone brighter and brighter. Their light reflected in the young girl’s eyes. She was sitting by the window watching the stars. Feelings thrilled through her heart and her eyes welled up with tears, so pure as a mountain spring, so clean as wind, and so clear, deep down, as a crystal.
The stars know so much, they know where he is, they are everywhere, they see so much, they just do not talk.
Winter. December, 2008
“Mia, aren’t you sleeping yet?” Mom asked in surprise. Her face showed surprise as well: “It’s a late hour and you have to wake up early tomorrow, as far as I remember.”
“I cannot fall asleep, Mom. What time is it now?” I asked with interest and continued: “I was carried away by the sight of the night city. I love the street so much. It is fascinating when illuminated this charming way at night.”
“And you were carried away by your dreams, of course,” Mom replied.
“And lost any track of time,” I added with a smile.
“You have to mind your schedule.”
“Don’t worry, Mom, I surely will. It won’t be a problem for me to wake up tomorrow. I am no stranger to it,” I replied.
My parents came to visit me for some weeks. I also had a sister. She was 7 years older than me. Unlike my parents, she preferred to stay at home and promised to pay me a visit shortly.
She married recently and now she was pressed for time to see me.
So, my Mom’s name was Sophie, my Dad’s name was Nicholas, and sister’s name was Leslie.
Our names were quiet unusual for our native city, and such a mismatch could be explained only with the move, but let me tell of it later.
“How can I not worry?” Mom asked in a silent and kind voice – the voice I have remembered since my childhood; in spite of the past years it still remained unchanged and dear for me.
“I will always feel worried for both of you – you and your sister – I love you so much, you both are my life,” Mom said.
“And now it’s about time for you to fall asleep. It’s already past midnight. Talks are talks, but you have to sleep. You dream so much, Mia, that sometimes I do not understand you.”
Mom was really right to some extent, I was dreaming too much. It was not only she that did not understand me, I did not understand myself sometimes and that made me feel worse and even more restless.
“Good night, Mia,” Mom said easy but persistently.
That tone of hers left no choice for me and I had to go to bed.
“Good night, Mom,” I said in a sleepy voice, sinking in waves of drowse I could not resist to.
My eyelids became heavier with every minute and soon I drowned myself in deep and oblivious sleep.
The dreams were different before, but lately my subconscious mind found its reflection in my sleepy mind.
What are they?
What do we know of them?
They are a secret world for us, hiding behind the closed door. They are the other, different life that we live when sleeping. They can tell us much, but they also can embarrass and confuse.
Numerous scientific works were dedicated to this part of life; many experimental practices and research were aimed at studying of unknown ocean depth named the Dream.
I did not know whether it was good or bad, but every time of day has its beginning and its end. The things that have ended begin again and the things that have begun find their end.
The turn comes to the bad and dull, the turn comes to the kind and good, and the turn has come to a dream.
With definite notes of sadness I tried to open my eyes as the alarm rang and started to get ready whining.
I looked out of the window and saw the morning dawning. Apparently, it was cold outside.
It was winter, the first month of winter. Hence, the New Year will soon come and bring cold with it.
New Year, joy, fireworks and so on. Wonderful optimistic mood with obvious exaggeration, for outside are grey and routine winter days.
For some reason, unlike my friends or any other people, I did not like the New Year; I neither liked it as a child.
I did not believe in wonders as well. All these fairy tales about wishes and dreams coming true in the New Year night were better to be told to kids only.
I was not looking forward for the holidays. Moreover, I did not expect my wishes to come true. Children wait for the Christmas and New Year holidays with kind of special thrill. Santa’s coming is a real wonder for them. It means that they really need to have more alike holidays.
But I am not a child anymore.
I am twenty two now, I am a grown-up, and Santa could not make my wishes come true, even if he was real.
I have been a chronic dreamer and dead romantic that people do not usually understand and take seriously.
I was a dreamer, living in Great Britain. Moreover, I lived in the wonderful and absolutely unforgettable city of London that can blow everyone’s mind. But London was not my native city; my native city was Kyiv, Ukraine. It is a wonderful country with marvellous and picturesque city that was its capital. Nevertheless, I lived in my native city not so long. My father was offered the job he could not refuse and we had to move. I was 7 when we moved to Ottawa.
I loved my home city. And I was too little to have a clear understanding of things from the adults’ life.
The life has one peculiarity.
The time drags on and seems endless until you are 15. You want to outgrow your teen age that seem to have no end.
As soon as you cross the border of full age, the years begin to pass incredibly fast and you just go behind them. You look back… and the years have already gone.
Every spent day brings some changes to our lives. The man never stops; he never stands still and is constantly changing. Always… And sometimes it is too hard to take the man for someone he had been before.
Anyway, I suppose a man changes for the better throughout his life. He meets the next moment with all the changes he lacked for his next life stage and leaves all the moments that disturbed him in his past…
Invisibly to the others, invisibly to myself I changed inwards.
I felt it.
I was not anymore a tender girl I had been before. I was fed up with laying my heart open to the next attack. Though it has happened only once, but sometimes everything is so vivid in my memory, that I feel like going through it all over again and that makes me lay my heart open one more time. No more of me left, I changed to protect myself, since it was easier to live that way.
You may ask me how I happened to find myself in London. That’s how it was.
One day I looked around and, to my fear or, maybe, dismay, I could see nothing I could commit myself to.
Perhaps I will never forget that feeling penetrating me. I saw no future there. I thought it was waiting for me beyond some other horizons I went towards. My interest of photography and a completely new country became such horizons.
I submitted documents and my further expectation was rewarded: I was enrolled, I entered the university and all I had to do was to leave.
So, I had a chance to leave and change my life completely this way, at least I had to try and I made it.
University of the Arts London, Great Britain – that was my future I chose, and I thought it was much worth it. And in the future I have never for a moment felt regret for my choice.
I loved this country, although I knew nothing of it. I felt a little frightened and uncomfortable, but I longed for these changes.
There was another problem – I told my parents of my decision just after I got to know I was enrolled to the university.
Why did I do this way? I knew they would make their objections anyway, seeing that I will wander off from home, maybe forever.
Surely I will come back from time to time, but that will be the other thing. I did not want to disturb them beforehand – I loved them so much and I knew they would be worried about me and my choice.
Indeed, they made their objections, they tried to talk me round and they understood that all they had to do was to agree, because I wished only the good and my parents have been always ready to encourage me for my knowledge.
Everything was finally settled and I had just to do my packing and say goodbye to the city that became my second home. And I made it later, this time on my own.
When being 22 I moved to a new and desired place of living, study and work and began looking for my future, happiness and wonder that I had not ever believed to exist.
Could I ever suppose what would expect me here and what would I have to face?
I suppose I never could.
The time flew as the sand in the hourglass did. And the time told me of the year of my life and study that was coming to its end.
University of the Arts London includes six colleges that are probably known worldwide. And I studied in one of them – Camberwell College of Arts.
The great variety of disciplines was offered to be studied in this educational establishment and it included my favourite one – photography.
I loved photography and everything related to it, particularly I liked black-and-white photos, I could dwell on them for hours, since I was really stuck on them.
The study course lasted for three years and a half. Upon its completion I received basic educational degree. Then the next level followed, it was two years more but I received the bachelor’s degree.
Unfortunately, I had no time for work, for all my time I had to study, but I wanted to work.
“I cannot believe it! The whole year has already passed!” I thought. “It seems like I came just yesterday”.
I lived in a rental flat alone. The flat was nice. From the street it looked like a tiny and snug house. But indeed there was a couple of similar flats inside. I lived on the third floor. It was the Northern part of London, Notting Hill.
I have told you much of my past, but I told you nothing of my present, of all the things I lived with in present days.
I thought of it again and again. I thought of the things coming, I asked myself why it happened to me, but I could not answer this question as well as many other ones.
Perhaps I was not sure enough of tomorrow, of my future and of myself and that made me feel indefinite.
I just changed my place of living, but I did not escape everything I tried to escape – I did not escape from myself.
When I came here, my thoughts were different, but now everything turned just the other way round. I tried to find the least explanation but I failed to.
It was wild to me and I could not find any explanations to the fact that my hobbies inspired me no more lately. Every next day they favoured me even less, changing from pleasure to some kind of burden for me.
There were some moments when I could not understand why I kept doing everything I did, but then explanation came – because I really loved everything I did, I was really devoted to it, and that was why I came here for.
I came to study, to study the things I was fond of. But I had not got the least idea of why everything seemed different to me now. The only thing I could tell for sure was that everything changed in a moment and all the usual and dear things became strange to me.
It disappointed me very much and made me doomed to sadness.
Some thoughts conceived in my mind and they instantly spread in my head, reminding me of the day to come I wanted so much to pass by.
I hastily looked at my watches and saw it was too late, but they seemed to suddenly stop at 8.
Without skipping a beat I started getting ready. I did not even thought of what I should wear that day. I scrambled into my any clothes fit for such weather and made my way to leave the house looking for the keys, since my parents were still sleeping.
I came outside and the only thing in my mind was: “Winter, it is still winter”.
Every morning I made my way to Camberwell District where my college was situated.
Local DJs often performed in Camberwell College of Arts and poetry events were always held in Brixton Bug Bar, but these places were also famous as the centre of numerous artistic galleries and design studios.
The South London Gallery was situated near the College.
As to the age limit I could say the following: that was something unusual, because people of absolutely different ages and nationalities studied here. Particularly it related to my group but nevertheless there were no students under 18, since it was stipulated by enrolment conditions.
I had not got even the least idea of what was happening with me, but I tried to find benefits and remember of the most important thing that kept me afloat when I felt blue. But what happened to me now could not be compared to anything else.
What will it be? What will I do to achieve the desired result?
Will I use all and every effort to achieve everything that is dear to me or will my courage fail me and I will stay where I have been, feeling regret for the things that would never happen.
I clearly defined one thing: you have to live your life wisely, making the right choices so that you would not regret of the wrong and irreversible results.
You still have something for the present day, and tomorrow everything can change in a while.
You have to be ready to make your choice, to act rationally, to appreciate what you have. Your future will depend on you and your immediate desire to take part in it.
Anyway, you have to take some actions. And if these actions are worth learning, other people will learn something from you.
Other people managed to succeed anyhow. I differed from the other people so much. They were stronger and thus – happier, I was weak, and one shall struggle to achieve happiness.
I was completely confused. All days and nights long my head was full with perpetual chaotic flow of thoughts that haunted my mind. The main point of my devastation and failure to understand myself was the absence of that very man in my life.
Right, it’s true. The question “Why?” was not difficult to find the answer to. And I knew this answer.
Boys have never liked me and I have always been lonely.
“No, once there was a boy who liked me,” I thought. And even then I was alone.
That left its mark that expressed itself in coldness and mostly indifference towards men that took its roots in me when I fell in love for the first time. That’s when everything began.
Only this morning I recollected the past years at least twice, I do not even have the slightest idea why.
It seemed I was in a low spirit that day.
My way took some time and I had not yet approached my college.
What is more, that day was full of recollections of the past years. “How long ago it was,” I thought. “It was about five years ago. I was seventeen when I met him.”
His indifference to me was the reason of my composure and callousness to further life, or, to be more precise, of my attitude to love.
Today I might have recollected him for the first time and I wanted to forget him as soon as possible. This time forever.
Although, at that moment it meant nothing to me, since it was the distant past, and in no way I associated it with my present or future.
I admitted that and perhaps that was the real punishment for me. I might have been not so good and might have not deserved that.
Moreover, wouldn’t I feel more comfortable on my own than being with those who are indifferent to you or who you are indifferent to?
Oh, I felt somewhat under the weather and forgot that there were many positive things I could tell you of.
Let me begin with the city. I think of it and smile to myself, making my way to college.
I wonder if there are many people who can walk along the street smiling to themselves.
Numerous ideas and thoughts of various things were simmering at the back of my mind.
If I would say that London is a wonderful city indeed, every second man would agree with me and he would not object to my words but only prove them.
It is an amazing city, every district of which is a separate world. When looking at it from the distance it resembles a patchwork blanket consisting of separate different pieces of cloth, I mean these districts.
The districts, in their turn, resemble tiny towns, and when you get there you see the entire London life reflecting there.
The business district City has for centuries been the financial centre of London, but now I won’t talk of it, though I could take a couple of minutes and focus on this part of life passing in the daily business routine.
The City is quite an old district. It is the largest financial centre not only in London, but in Europe as well.
The area of the district isn’t large; the locals call the district “The Square Mile”.
The City is situated on the place of ancient Roman settlement. The remains of the ancient city wall remind us of that. As the story goes, it is the cradle of London.
Several hundred thousand people worked in the City. Reputable international banks, insurance and other companies were located here, but there lived only about 6 thousand people.
An interesting and somewhat surprising fact was that on weekdays after six or seven o’clock in the evening the City was absolutely empty.
With regard to architecture the City represented a crazy mix of ancient buildings, narrow and very narrow lanes with ultramodern skyscrapers.
Upon my arrival to London I did not know anyone of the locals, I had no friends or acquaintances, so all my free time, although I had not got much of it, I spent walking around the city, reading about culture, history and life of the city.
I may have known that much of the city because I studied it that way.
“I’m late for my classes, I’m late to college.” That thought made me feel uncomfortable, since they discouraged being late to the college.
Serious rules in a serious city.
Here I am.
I made my way to one of the local buildings.
I was rather tired of my way today, even before coming to college, but I still had to listen to my lecturers.
A little more time – and I am in the class, and then – at my desk.
My lectures were held either in practical laboratories or simple classes, if it was a theoretical course. Today was the case.
My first year in college was nearly over. I was glad to some extent, for I was definitely tired of some subjects introduced to the syllabus of the first year. Particularly, Photographic Camera and Its Structure, Photooptics, Laws of Illumination, Basics of Photography and Photographic Art, Photographic Composition and many others.
The next year promised to be more extensive and open for information that related not only to technical aspects of study of photographic camera and everything necessary, but provision of new aspects of photography and related subjects that we had never known before as well.
Now I was about to attend the Professor Allford’s lecture “Philosophy and Ideology of Photography”. He also gave us practical classes.
I gazed beyond the window. I was expecting something, but nothing happened. The lecture has not begun yet and it was a good reason for me to keep dreaming of something, having my head somewhere in the clouds. I could not say what I was dreaming of, but it was something for sure. Then I heard some strong noise, I shuddered and saw a girl in front of me – she was my group-mate.
I don’t know whether she had been calling me for a long time, since I hadn’t perceived anything for quite a long time. I took little care of anything – nothing could excite me as before.
Earlier, I was excited with every breath, with every word, with every potential look directed at me.
I felt no care of the people’s opinion anymore. I did not know the reason for sure, but at a moment I felt indifferent to everything. I did not care of people’s talks and thoughts of me. I did not care if people talk and think of me at all.
Rolling through in my mind everything again and again I smiled.
“I do not see anything funny, Mia,” Lucy said. “I have been trying to draw your attention for a couple of minutes. Would you be so kind as to devote me a part of your time?”
Here is the answer – I got distracted for a while, but she showed utmost discontent.
She was not a person who would repeat twice.
“Sorry, Lucy. I got lost in my thoughts. What did you ask me?” I asked with courtesy.
I was courteous indeed, but sometimes I failed to know myself.
“Which drawing do you like more, this one or this one?” she asked with interest.
She hold some drawings made on small sheets of paper that she had to submit as a kind of report, others called it home task. Apparently, she had little time to finish them.
She was waiting for my reply with genuine interest.
I was looking at those drawings but I did not see them, to my greatest disappointment. Maybe there was no difference between them for me or I was not able to differentiate them lately.
I dabbed at the first drawing and got confused. Then I asked myself what was happening to me.
“You know, Lucy, I find the first drawing with the city much more interesting than the other ones. But it is my personal opinion.”
She was unpredictable, so I could only guess what her reaction could be.
“You may be right, but I like the third one much more – this abstract one,” she answered, having looked at all the drawings again.
She seemed to have already known her choice well before she asked me, so her appeal to me was a mere interest, whether I can choose the things she chooses or whether I like them or not.
“Is it really the thing he wants to know most of all? I cannot understand it,” I thought. Lucy has already gone by that time.
She was a person I could not understand completely. She looked like an ordinary girl of twenty-seven and I could hardly bear to talk to her, even for some minutes now and then that I needed to give her some specific advice.
It was far beyond my understanding. I was so distracted from daily life that I could not notice anything around me.
We studied at the same college, moreover, at the same faculty. That meant that any lack of understanding from my part was at least inappropriate. Nevertheless, it was rather clear then.
“Today we are going to have the last class before the academic year ends. At the end of the class you will have to pass the control test,” Professor Allford said at the very beginning of the lecture.
Professor Allford was about sixty and he knew his job well as probably no one else did. He devoted to photography all his life and was a real master of his craft. He wanted to see the same in us.
Practice with no theory was not as easy as it may have seemed at the first sight.
“So today we will partially review the material we have already learned during this term. First of all, you have to remember and never to forget the very basis – what photography is, photography as a notion, when photography appeared, the way photography influenced modern world and benefits it brought,” the Professor continued.
Our group was full of other students that I did not manage to understand as well, though I did not even try. It is impossible to understand a person who does not want to be understood. But as the theory says, every cloud has its silver lining. I completely agree with that.
My silver lining was my girl-friend Annie. We studied together.
She was a well-disposed, positive and nice person. Her hair was of vinous ruby colour that resembled of ripe and juicy pomegranate. She preferred wearing a ponytail.
She was my only comfort and joy, she always could diffuse the negative situation that happened sometimes, as it happened in any other place, and that helped me much. Some balance shall exist in this world and I think my balance consisted in Annie.
She was kind, nice, funny and joyful. She would never leave me when I needed help. Never. She saw everything, even those things I tried to hide.
She was my best friend. Moreover, we both were of the same age.
Unlike me, she was born in London. The second difference was that she was the only child in the family.
Her parents lived in London, somewhere in the suburb. They said they liked it more than living in London itself.
Annie’s family was rather rich, but Annie was not the kind of person who enjoyed the benefits her family had already had. She wanted to reach everything on her own. This feature was characteristic of both of us and made us very much alike.
It is very difficult to find a person you can trust in modern world. Sometimes even best friends, as you see them, are not friends at all and once they will betray you. Then you see who the real friend was and who was merely playing hide-and-seek, pretending to be a true friend.
Fortunately, I was lucky and I never for a moment doubted in our friendship – it was absolutely true and sincere.
“OK. Let’s remember what photography is and how it influenced our modern life. Maybe someone wishes to add something personally? Who wants to help me? I wonder if John wants,” the Professor said with interest.
John was not a guy to be caught flatfooted. He seemed to always be there.
Concentrated and rather serious boy from Ohio responded to Professor’s wishes with great pleasure.
“Talking of the roots of the word “photography”, I can say that it originated from the ancient Greek “photos”, that in its turn can be divided into “photo-” (“light”) and “-graphy” (“depict graphically, draw”) by the meaning. It is a kind of technique of light drawing that allows us to receive and save static image on photosensitive material such as film or photographic matrix with the use of photographic camera, of course,” John finished his speech.
From his lips it sounded so ordinary as if he talked of that all the time as of something absolutely trivial.
Surely, we have learned it in the very beginning of the term. One could not forget it even if one wanted to.
“Really great, Mr. Murray!”
Judging from Professor’s Allford’s tone, he was absolutely satisfied with the answer.
I got acquainted with Annie upon my arrival to London. I had got another girl-friend, Vitalina, but she lived in my native town, unfortunately, so our meetings became even more than unreal after we had moved twice. But we kept in touch. They were all my friends, but they were the best friends in my life, that I think is rather important.
Several people are worth much more than a huge company of unknown people.
“The final image received in the result of photographic process and watched by a person immediately is called the photography, as well,” some voice from the class said. I turned back and saw Amanda.
“That’s true, Ms. Donovan,” the Professor said nodding.
I asked myself the same question, I do not know which time I asked it, for I have lost any count. Why don’t I feel any joy anymore from the things surrounding me? When did it happen? I may have been sleeping at that moment.
I was looking around and saw no place for me, just the same as I had not seen it anywhere before. My heart sank when I thought that he could have never existed.
Sometimes it really seemed that there is no place for me in this life. Lately these thoughts followed me everywhere.
What if it is true?
We are born and we cannot even imagine that we are the pieces of some invisible puzzles that would finally fit one day.
But what if it is just the other way? What if I am simply alone?
When everything went wrong with me, I did not know that for sure. All I knew was that I did not see the things around me the way I had seen them before. Now they seemed to be different, and it began not yesterday, but a long-long time ago.
“Would you like to add anything, Ms. Wates?”
“Ms. Wates,” the Professor repeated.
“Mia,” Annie called me.
“Shall I bring you back to earth? Come down from your dreams!” Annie exclaimed.
“Sorry, what did you say?” I asked as if I had just woken up.
“Ms. Wates, I’d rather recommend you to listen to the advice of Ms. Light. I have asked you the question,” the Professor continued.
Oh, I did not even hear him talking to me!
“I’m awfully sorry, Mr. Allford, I got distracted for a moment,” I excused. “Could you, please, repeat your question?”
“Ms. Wates, your group-mates have just told us of the notion of photography. Could you, please, tell us of the period when photography originated?” the Professor asked with discontent.
“Surely, Mr. Allford,” I said with a thin smile hoping it looked sincere.
Annie looked at me without any slightest understanding. I also could look this way, I think, but I could not see myself from the side.
“The photography originated in the middle of the 19th century, having radically changed the life. Although some attempts had been made in the 17th century, the year 1839 is supposed to be the year of origin.”
“Thanks, Ms. Wates.”
“Photography is an Art. It is an art of getting images, where the main process consists in finding and choosing the composition as well as light and appropriate moment to make an image. The choice shall be defined by the skills and mastership of the photographer as well as his personal preferences and taste, which is typical for every form of art.”
“As far as I understand you, you state that photography is a separate form of art, right?” the Professor asked with genuine interest and obvious surprise.
What was the reason of this surprised state? I explained his behaviour by the fact that he had not expected to hear any reply from me.
“Surely,” I insisted.
“Can you prove it, Ms. Wates?”
“Numerous disputes are conducted whether photography can be treated as a separate form of art. But those who are fond of photography and admire these pieces of art or take part in creating them do not need any answer, since the answer is obvious to them. Photography is an art that requires as much creativity and thrill as painting or music does.”
“Great, Ms. Wates. So, our class is over,” Professor Allford said finally.
I wanted him to say this as soon as possible, since I could not wait till the end of this class. One more distraction from reality at Professor’s lectures would be at least improper.
“Have a nice weekend. See you soon,” Professor said.
“Are you going?” Annie asked me.
“Surely, just a few minutes.”
“Well, I will wait you by the door.”
“OK. See you there.”
“Ms. Wates, can I talk to you?” Professor said to my surprise. I was not ready to hear this.
“Surely, Professor Allford,” I said getting myself prepared for a talk.
“Ms. Wates,” he said wonderingly.
“You can call me Mia.”
“Great, Mia,” he said thoughtfully.
Actually, his abstraction made me feel worried.
“You are a very smart girl. You have proven it to me for numerous times throughout the year, and, particularly, today. But I see your previous features and qualities less and less every day. I do not see your thirst for knowledge and desire to do more than you can anymore,” the Professor said with definite disappointment.
“I am sorry, Professor Allford, I did not behave in a proper manner today.”
“Not only today, I would rather say,” he said with the same tone.
“I see,” that was all I could say. I did not know if I could say anything else.
“Mia, you’ll be a great photographer, I know it,” he tried to hearten me. “Never give up to a weak moment! Everything that is real for you is eternal.”
“Thank you, Professor Allford, you words mean really much to me,” I said with inspiration.
“And now go to the laboratory or you’ll be late for practical classes to Ms. Holliday.”
“Thank you once more.”
Annie must e tired of waiting me.
“You are welcome, Mia,” the Professor said. In a minute I was already in a hall.
“Oh, you’re finally here! Have you decided to make additional report?”
Anny was out of humour but I knew she was not angry indeed.
“Sorry, Professor Allford asked me to stay some minutes more.”
“What did he tell you?” Annie asked with interest. There was no more discontent in her tone, as I have already said.
“He said he was worried with my behaviour and complained of my absent-mindedness.”
“He is right, Mia. Lately you are simply not you.”
“I know it,” I answered, but that was not an excuse and I knew it well.
“What was it today?” Annie continued. “Professor Allford called you for several times, but you would not answer.”
“I did not hear him calling me.”
– Mia, what’s going on?
– I don’t know, Annie, I don’t know! – I answered as we were entering another class.
Another half of the day has passed. Another day in the college was over. It was Friday. The weekend was ahead.
“My little victory,” I thought.
“Are you still in the laboratory?” Annie asked.
“Yes, I am.”
“Everyone went hone about twenty minutes ago. Are you coming?”
“Surely, I won’t stay here for the night,” I smiled.
“I am not sure. Your desires are difficult to predict lately.”
“Oh, stop speaking of me as of some absolute freak.”
“I tried to joke, indeed.”
“Rather smart,” I answered as I was leaving the laboratory.
It was evening but the street illumination made me think of the day.
We hid from the cold winter in London subway.
We were silent, my attention was drawn by some distant point that I did not see because I was being deep in my thoughts that would not leave me throughout the whole day.
Annie must have been thinking of something personal – she was silent too,
I think she was silent because of my behaviour that was rather specific today.
“Mia,” I heard again.
“What?” I replied. It seems I have distracted again for some time.
“Let’s go. It’s our station.”
“Surely, let’s go,” I answered in a hurry.
“You’re really strange today, what’s going on?” her eyes were looking for an answer.
“Everything’s fine,” I replied, because I had nothing else to say.
“I was telling you of today’s evening but then I noticed that you were not listening to me at all. You almost missed your station,” she replied with some disapproval in her voice.
“Were you telling me?” I did not understand her. “When?”
“In the subway, Mia. Please, note that we are in the street that leads to your house!
“I know it,” I said with a transient smile.
“You were not even listening to me,” Annie said. This time I definitely hurt her. And I heard it in her voice.
“Sorry, Ann. I was thinking of something and did not really hear you,” I said pitifully. “I am really sorry”.
“What’s going on with you, Mia?” she asked with the tone, signalling of her wish to help.”
If only I could know…
“Everything is fine, trust me.”
“I have never imagined that such an imponderable and devastated state can be called a normal one. Could you be so kind so as to tell me what is going on?” she kept asking.
She wanted to know where everything was coming from. I wanted to know it as well. Moreover, I understood that no third person could provide answer to this question.
There were two of us looking for immediate answer – Annie and me.
“I do not really know, Ann. I have been in a bad mood lately, nothing has changed, everything remained the same, and I feel becoming tired of that. I do not know. Sometimes it seems I can’t take it anymore, and sometimes I feel to quit everything and begin all over again in some other place.”
I did not wait for any wonder, since it was not available to me. And everything had its proof. Moreover, I did not believe in wonders anymore. Apparently, the wonder has not been waiting for me too.
Enough. I’m fed up.
“It may be all because of the college,” she said in a routine voice.
“Maybe,” I repeated.
“Come off it! I joke.”
“Sorry, I seem to fail to differentiate between jokes and truth today.”
“Haw, it happens sometimes… Try not to think about it and everything will be fine, you’ll see. Do not pay attention to these small worries of life. I often happen to be in a bad mood, but then it passes. That’s transient,” she tried to assure me.
No, it was not transient. It was so much a part of my life, it came into my life not at once, but gradually, and I cannot escape it.
Thinking over the daily life makes you listen to it and hear it rather clearly and distinctly. So clearly and distinctly, that sometimes all you want is to put on earmuffs in order not to hear any more of that. But you cannot do that, since you understand that the voice comes not from the environment, but from your consciousness, saying: “Stop for a moment and see that you are wasting your time and efforts in vane”.
“You must be right. I have been thinking too much lately,” my answer contradicted to my thoughts. I said so because I knew Anny wouldn’t understand me.
I could not understand myself.
“Well, Mia, it’s too cold. Let’s go home,” she said, paddling about.
“See you soon,” I said with a smile.
It was perfectly beautiful snowing all around.
I was going along the street at a saunter and watched the snowflakes falling. They were flying and falling to the ground. The dance of flying snowflakes was an amazing thing to see. Every snowflake was absolutely unique and original. They were dancing in pairs and falling to the ground together.
I was walking along my street and saw my house. I hurried to shelter from cold, but then I stopped.
I fastened my eyes on some indefinite point far off. It was taking shape gradually and soon I saw a beautiful dove. He was purely snow-white, even gleaming with blue. Perhaps, for the first time in my life I was impressed with magnificence of this bird. His wingspread made me admire even more.
I stood still. The snowflakes fell at my face and melted.
There was only one question arising in my mind. “What is the bird doing here? Where did this beautiful dove come here from this winter evening?”
I asked myself a number of questions that disturbed me.
“Does the bird feel cold? He may have been lost. Is the dove wounded?”
I stood looking at him and tried to understand what impressed me.
The bird was flying in my direction. I understood that the next moment it would fly by. Its beauty made my heart miss a beat. I wanted the dove to stop motionless in order to extend the moment of beauty.
It all happened in a matter of seconds, but it seemed to me to be the slow reproduction of a film, but then the bird sat at my hand and made a sound.
The dove was looking at me attentively, if I could say that was possible, and I was looking at it. I was gazing at it enchanted, being afraid to move in order not to frighten it away.
I stood still and the snow kept falling. It seemed to never end and gather pace.
“Here you are, darling,” I said in a low voice. “You are so beautiful. Where did you come from?” I asked as if I was sure it would give me an answer.
“Let’s go home,” I said, making a small slow step.
To my surprise, the dove kept sitting on my hand. I was really surprised, for I thought it would fly away.
When I came home I saw my Mom. She was doing something at the kitchen. Dad was watching some fanciful movie. I have always gladly watched the movies with him, but that day I was in no mood.
“Hi everyone!” I cried. “I am back. And I am not alone, come here and have a look!” I said hasty.
I came into our tiny kitchen and turned my gaze from Mom to dove and from dove to Mom.
“Where did you get him?” Mom asked with utmost surprise.
She was as amazed with the bird as me.
“It appeared from nowhere and sat on my hand. I was just near the house when I saw it.”
“The bird is beautiful, Mia” Mom continued.
“Do you really think so?” I asked.
“I really do,” Mom said, giving the bird an impassioned glance.
“You must be hungry, Mia. Please, do not deny it.”
“No, I am not hungry, Mom. Thank you.”
“You have to eat something. You have been absent for the whole day,” Mom kept insisting.
“But Mo-o-o-om,” I moaned.
“Sophie, our daughter eats according to the British schedule,” Dad said coming from the next room. He smiled.
“A true London girl,” he continued with a smile on his lips.
“Well, stop laughing at me. I am just not hungry.”
All this time my feathered friend was sitting on my hand.
“What’s on TV today? How did you spend your day?”
I seemed to have asked enough questions. It’s time for a break now.
“Ah, greatly. We were walking around the city a lot. And how was your day?” Dad asked. “How is everything in the college?”
My parents were very kind and attentive; they were the best in the world. I loved them so much. Do I need to express it in any other words? I think I don’t, for they are the best and that’s that.
“Everything’s perfect,” I answered with exaggeration. Everything was the other way round indeed, but I did not want to disappoint them.
“The most pleasant thing is that tomorrow is Saturday, I have no classes and we will definitely go to see Stonehenge, right? I am sure you’ll love it.”
I kept looking at my feathered friend from time to time. The dove kept sitting on my hand and I saw how attentively it viewed the happenings.
I kept asking myself questions. There were more of them with every next moment.
It was interesting how they understood everything, how they saw us. I did not know that but I was almost sure their view differed from that one of people.
The dove was sitting on my hand and kept making its sounds.
It was so nice and hard to believe.
“Stonehenge!” my parents said simultaneously.
“Great. I cannot believe it. As I remember, you have always liked it.”
“I have, I remember.”
“I remember she was a child when she saw a picture of Stonehenge,” Mom said falling in reminiscences.
“Right you are,” Dad added and a smile appeared on his lips. “She was so small then.”
“When did it happen?” I asked.
Misunderstanding and interest were my main senses.
“It happened before we moved to Ottawa,” Mom continued. “You were up to five then when you saw it for the first time.”
“I did not remember that,” I said being slightly confused.
“It’s not surprising. You were just five then!” Dad exclaimed.
Our talk passed to the tea-drinking that ran over till midnight.
“What kind of photo was that?” I kept asking.
“Our friends visited us. They just came back from a trip. They visited England and Stonehenge as part of their excursions.”
“And I saw it,” I said.
“Yes, you did. I remember it as now, you said: “Mom, look how beautiful it is. I wanna go there”. We all laughed then,” Mom finished and she was all smiles.
“And what was your answer?” I asked with interest.
“Honey, when you grow up, you will surely go there,” Mom replied.
“And here you are now, Mia,” Dad said. “You fulfilled your fantasies,” he continued.”
“We never for a second doubted in you and have always known that you will get your own way.”
That was what my parents said.
Right they are, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
It was partially true – a man cannot achieve anything if he does not want to.
Not everything depends on our will, of course, but I suppose will is the most important. It is a basis and there will be no success without it.
I was sure of that.
“I will rather go to bed,” I said.
“For it!” Mom said.
“Good night, Mom, Dad,” I said gently.
I tried to show them how much I love them and my sister, but I think it will never be possible to show my all love. They won’t see the whole power of my love for them, but I suppose they know it.
I loved them and this love was even stronger at the distance.
I took my feathered friend in my hands. I caught myself thinking that I got used to the bird. I went to my room.
It was well after midnight, but I took a shower and asked my electronic friend for help. I mean my laptop.
I sat at the window-sill that was all piled with small pillows. My favourite window-sill. I was burying in thoughts.
In some minutes the room filled with the sounds of quiet and calm music – something like alternative rock, accompanied with perfect and fascinating man vocal. It was falsetto.
I loved music and could listen to it for a long time. I listened to absolutely different music. Every style, every group or performer, in particular or in whole, influenced me in different ways. They were going with me hand in hand throughout particular periods of my life.
Of all others I loved man falsetto accompanied with alternative music.
All this time I was looking in the window, as I usually did at night, but then I looked at the dove and held my breath in surprise – I was admired with his appearance and the way it looked in the light. It may have looked as though I saw the bird for the first time, but no – it has been with me for the last several hours.
Never before I have seen the birds so unusual.
“Are you hungry?” I asked, knowing that, unfortunately, it would give me no answer, just as before. “Surely, you cannot answer. You cannot talk and that’s a pity. I wished I could talk to you. You cannot even imagine how lonely I am among this multimillion crowd.”
“No matter where I will be or where I am now. Wherever I am, he is not there. And that means I shall be in some other place too,” I whispered.
“Do you still need any proof?” I asked the dove. “I think you do not need any proof. The first and the most important proof is that I am sitting here talking to you now. I’m glad that Ann does not hear me now. She would think I am crazy for sure in case she heard me.”
I thought that she had never told me that, in spite of the fact that we had known each other for a year already. There was a kind of sad semi-smile on my face.
“How fine is that you do not understand a single word of what I’ve said. Otherwise, you would have gone crazy.”
My guest just kept looking at me.
I was rather lonely in my soul than crazy. I searched him with my eyes every day.
“He may be thinking of me now. How do you think?” I asked the dove. “He may feel as lonely as I do. But I doubt whether anyone can feel as lonely as I do now. It is not real. How can the person, who does not know me at all, think anything of me?”
I was born with one puzzle missing at the other place.
The feelings that filled me reminded of them every other moment. The pain grew stronger from its sources, it came from inside and came in my throat. That’s why even the slightest swallow caused extreme discomfort with every moment.
The words rushed out instinctively, breaking through the lump in my throat.
“I do not know where I will meet you and where I will be then. I hear your voice in the wind, I hear it everywhere I go, I hear every moment of every day, I feel your touch there in my heart. I see you as if you were real when I go, so I put out my hand wishing to touch you. You live in my heart, you live in my soul. Where are you? I am waiting for you.”
I repeated these words, changing into syllables, and felt harder with every second.
Tears trickled down my cheeks and I could not control them anymore. I would rather say my tears controlled me. They would not obey me, so they just kept raining down my face, one by one, falling to the floor.
I kept sitting on the window sill, thinking of everything at once, even of the things that flashed in my mind and of anything else.
The window-sill was rather wide. I loved sitting there, so I often used to fall asleep right there. There was enough space for a pillow and even for a blanket, but the blanket often fell down.
My mind slightly reacted to the music; I was looking somewhere too far, far behind the window, somewhere at the illuminated street I loved so much.
I swallowed the ashy tears and fell asleep with tears being still in my eyes.
Tomorrow everything will be the same as today, like in the Groundhog Day. The same shit, nothing changes. The Groundhog Day was invented to keep things unchanged. And I am sick and tired of it.
It’s a strange thing to say, but when I fell asleep I forgot about everything, nothing could disturb me or make me feel sad.
I forgot about college, about my dreams that failed to get realized and made me feel worried, about him – the one I did not know, about myself.
I felt imponderable, as if I were the air particle that could fly. I am free, light as air and lonely. No one needs me. No one has ever needed me. My parents are the only ones who need me. At least it seemed to me. Actually, it has been so.
Unfortunately, it all nested in my subconscious mind. As I rose with the light, I understood that it had been just a good dream. A good dream, where we were together.
The night was too short for me to have a rest of myself.
As the day broke, my environment crowded and pushed me. I felt a stranger in this world. A stranger, who did not know where his home was, who had no one to expect support from and no one to love him.
An Excursion to Stonehenge
Bright sunshine falling through the window of the second storey made me wake up.
I wondered what time it was and then I fell asleep again on that very window-sill.
“However, yet again,” I told myself reproachfully.
I had a very strange dream.
As I jumped down to the floor, I thought of fragments of my dream.
The dream was pretty unusual, not like all the dreams I have had before, and it seemed to me that it had some unprecedented notes of reality.
Today’s weather promises to be excellent, though frosty.
Here came the day I did not want to come, but I also knew it cannot last forever.
It was Saturday, and it was the last day of my parents staying with me. They are leaving early in the morning on Sunday.
The time flew very fast by their side, maybe because time is never enough when being with them. I will always say the time flies fast by their side, regardless of how much time they will spend with.
Anyway, two weeks had already passed and they had to return.
They had their own lives and their work that they left for a while in order to visit me.
My mother was a social worker and my father was a journalist. Moreover, he was one of the best journalists and his numerous diplomas proved that.
Thinking of that and something other I went to my parents to see whether they had already woken up.
Their room was empty, so I went to the kitchen. Parents were there. They were cooking breakfast.
“Morning, Mom! Morning, Dad!” I said with love.
“Morning, darling! Have you already woken up?” Mom asked.
At that very moment I felt some discomfort. But I did not know the reason for it. Something was wrong, as if something was missing. I went back to my room hastily.
As I entered the room I understood the reason. I felt discomfort because of that dove that was here yesterday. Nothing reminds of him today.
“No vestige of him, there is not a single vestige”, I repeated in reflection.
He just disappeared, as if he melted into thin air, but how could he? It was a kind of a riddle for me.
I hurried back to my parents. As I returned I kept being influenced by the strange disappearance, but as I entered the kitchen I pretended I couldn’t care less at all.
“Where have you run away so quickly?” Mom asked.
“I wanted to check something,” I said with a smile on my face.
As soon as we had a breakfast, we started discussing our route.
“So, are you ready for a long journey?” I asked hopefully.
“Surely,” Dad said. There was a familiar smile on his face, so kind and ingenuous one.
“Well, yes, we are,” Mom replied. “Will you leave that lovely dove home?” she wondered.
“I think it would not be a problem, if he stayed, but, unfortunately, he flew out of the window,” I said in a drawling manner. I decided not to tell my parents the true reasons of his disappearance, although I did not know them too.
“Oh, that’s a pity; it was so charming!” Mom noted.
“He was,” I added and took thoughts.
“So, let’s drive for a walk,” Dad offered.
“Let’s go,” I finished.
Afterwards we went along the agreed route.
The city was beautiful in winter. The beauty of its suburbs was also worth special mentioning.
Everything around was covered with a winter blanket, but in spring everything will be in a green blossom.
The road was not exhausting at all, so we did not become tired. We were very interested and had a good mood. We were together.
A trip of several hours separated us from London and made us closer to the Salisbury Plain.
It is a beautiful ancient construction, the stone riddle of all the times. It is situated in the South-Western England, on the Salisbury Plain, and we were right there.
I remembered the story that my parents told me about Stonehenge and wondered whether my childish dreams could influence me. Did the dreams, that I cannot even remember, influence the knowledge I had now?
I find it difficult to answer, but it seemed to me that there was no sense, and yet I knew so much about it.
I looked into the sky and I noticed something remarkable that draw my attention. To be more precise, I noticed someone.
These were doves.
There were three of them; they were flying freely around high in the sky.
It was strange, but the birds reminded me of my guest that disappeared as soon as it became so dear to me.
I looked at them again, it even seemed to me that my dove could be there among them, but that was fool thing of me to think, for it was a mere assumption, and also I just wanted to see that dove again.
A mere assumption.
Paying no attention to my stupid and baseless assumptions I returned to reality.
“Do you like it?” I asked in a few minutes.
I saw how much they were involved in their exploration of Stonehenge, yet I broke the silence with my question.
“It is rather unusual, I do not understand why I have never managed to see it before,” Dad said with approval.
From his words I understood that he was glad to have come here.
It again flashed in my mind that it was a mere assumption, and then my thoughts continued unconsciously.
They are so beautiful!
“Just look how mysterious it is!” Mom admired.
“What do you know about it?” she asked with much interest.
“It’s not a difficult question. Stonehenge is one of the most mysterious and ancient architectural constructions in the world. The other details – the stages and periods of construction, the origin of material, the authors and the executors of the ‘project’ – have been the subject of heated discussions for centuries. Perhaps, we may never know the real purpose of a giant stone ring that has existed for several thousand years. The name ‘Stonehenge’ comes from the Saxon name. Annually this megalithic construction welcomes many tourists from all around the world. According to the generally accepted version, it means ‘a hanging stone’, but some people interpret it as ‘a stone hedge’. However, both variants correspond to what can be seen on the Salisbury Plain now. The uniqueness and singularity of this man-made stone miracle could not but become the reason for appearance of various versions of its origin. As numerous legends state, the stones of Stonehenge have some healing power and bring health. Africa is said to be the place of their origin, where they were used by pagans as healing stones and then were transferred to Ireland by giants. According to some assumptions, Marilyn carried them by air to Britain then.
Unlike many other ancient monuments, Stonehenge remains alive today, and it is still functional in a sense. Its name is a template used to give names to other buildings.
Despite the existence of numerous images, copies and parodies, many people treat Stonehenge quite seriously.
The representatives of various religious traditions unanimously state of its exceptional energy and physical sensation of its singularity that cannot be justified by any scientific reasons.
“Well, we suppose you shall think over working part-time as a guide,” my parents smiled.
“Okay, I’ll think over it,” I chuckled.
“You seem to visit this place quite often,” Dad continued.
“Let me surprise you, I have been here only once with my friend.”
“But I think it is the first place you went to as soon as you had an opportunity.”
“Yes, you’re almost right.”
I got distracted and forgot about the object I observed. When I looked in the sky again I did not see the doves there.
They were somewhere away.
“I am taking everything so close to heart and I am so easily impressed,” I thought.
Seemed like I had never seen the doves before.
“It’s high time to come back home, the evening will come soon,” Mom said.
“Perhaps,” Dad added.
We were coming back along the same route. We were tired a bit with a long trip, but it could not prevent us from sharing our impressions. That’s why we were talking all our way home.
We returned to London late in the evening.
Later my parents started packing their things getting ready for tomorrow and I was sitting nearby not able to believe they are flying back tomorrow and I am going to stay alone tomorrow night.
“I’m so glad you visited me. I will miss you,” I said with joy and sadness at the same time.
“We will miss you too. We miss you every single day,” Mom said. “Would you like to go with us? We would be only glad if you could come back.”
Mom seemed to be confident of my desire to come back home.
“Mom, you see, I have nothing to do there. Now my life is here, I have studies and friends here, and what is the most important – I like this city.”
“Do you have a boyfriend here?” she asked and she stung me to the quick, but I tried to carry it off.
“No, but I had not got a boyfriend there too, so everything is just fine,” I said, trying to force a smile.
“Oh, come on! Sophie, our daughter still has everything ahead,” Dad said in the affirmative.
“Ah, you always support her,” Mom noted.
“It’s not true.”
“No, it is.”
“No, it’s not,” my Dad put a period to this talk and his face expanded in a smile.
They often argue in such a way and it reminds me of a kind of naughtiness.
“I just want our children to be happy,” Mom said.
“Me too,” Dad added friendly.
“Oh, come on!” I tried to interrupt their discussion in such a way. “I am happy.”
It was pretty late, perhaps, well after midnight.
Once I happened to hear from random passers-by that Londoners do not go to bed before midnight and I completely agree with this point of view.
“Good night and sweet dreams, Mia,” parents said and went to their bedroom. I went to my room as well.
I was almost confident that despite my fatigue I could not fall sleep, but to my greatest surprise I fell asleep rather quickly.
“I am happy,” I repeated in my mind, thinking over my own words.
The alarm clock woke me up as if it wanted to say something like “It’s high time.” The night seemed to be the shortest one.
I went to my parents’ bedroom and watched their last preparations before they leave.
“You are ready!” I said trying to be as optimistic as I only could and not to show them my deceitfully sad mood.
“The flight is in two hours and we want to arrive to the airport a bit earlier,” Dad said.
So, everything was ready and the only thing we had to do was to go out and catch a cab.
That was what we did next.
London bid farewell and stared after. The streets and silhouettes were left behind. They accompanied our flying taxi that was gaining even more speed.
As soon as we arrived, we hurried to come in.
London Heathrow Airport.
The boarding will be announced soon and they will fly away.
An ocean of emotions raged in me: there was sadness, disappointment and regret.
It was more tolerable at the distance, but as hard as now. And now I felt much harder.
I did not want to let them go now, when they are near. But I had no other choice.
Life is life. The only acceptable explanation was that we do not part forever, but just for a while.
“It’s time for us to go, Mia,” Mom said gently.
“Let’s get in touch by phone,” Dad added.
“OK,” I replied with a smile that was rather rough.
“We love you,” parents said unanimously.
“Love you both too,” I answered. “Send my love to sister!” I said with uncertain tone.
My feelings were mixed with my emotions and left their mark on my tone.
I was standing aside, watching them showing their tickets on the checkpoint. Soon they disappeared and I could not see them anymore.
A Surprising Meeting
Being somewhat devastated, I made my way to leave the airport.
It was noon, the twenty eighth of December, just a few days until the New Year 2009 would come.
Oh, the New Year again…
It is nothing more than a mere switch of time, just a year forward.
The day was quite frosty and I felt frozen a bit.
All I wanted was to catch a cab as soon as possible. I hoped that will be a kind of shelter from terrible piercing wind that was cutting me to the bone.
I was trotting trying to find a free cab on the go, but they just kept driving off.
Suddenly I heard a voice behind, a rather pleasant voice. Moreover, as it seemed to me, it was speaking to me. I turned to call and saw him.
To be more precise, I saw a boy standing in front of me.
I did not see notice if anyone followed me, though I did not turn, and I paid no attention to any things, since I lost myself in musing.
I had a quick peer at the boy, for I did not want to seem impolite to onlookers.
I saw a handsome and charming young man, probably of 23-25 years.
I watched him closely and could not understand what was wrong with me.
My imagination did not work as I was looking at him.
Every feature of his face played a separate part. These were sophisticated and somewhat aristocratic features, for they produced unforgettable effect and were worth much.
Sunken cheekbones, sharp chin, delicate nose, astonishing grey eyes with the colour of marine breeze, beautiful eyebrows. All this characterized him altogether.
I could not miss his lips. They were ripe and red, they inspired life. Once I saw them, my heart sank and my breath was taken away.
He was 6 feet high, that is 1 feet higher than me, but looked so simple and graceful.
His black hair was a bit long, his haircut looked nice. Striking through clouds, the sun played with his hair.
I was looking at his hair but did not know how to characterize it more precisely. It looked originally and deliberately messed up.
“It is rather natural”, I thought.
From time to time he touched his hair, stroking it with his hand.
The way some simple and unremarkable hair could look on some definite man was surprising.
His hair was sharply edged and smoothly fell down to his eyes. His eyes left no choice but to look in them and from then on never look anywhere else if it was possible.
In some time I could not pull myself together and take my eyes off him.
The whole universe seemed to reflect in his eyes. They were like a bottomless ocean: you dive and lose yourself.
The only thought lingered in my mind: “I have been looking for these eyes for all my conscious life”.
I have seen and read so much in his eyes that I had never seen in anyone else ever before.
All the next thoughts flashed in my mind telling just: “Look here, he has those beautiful eyes you have been looking for throughout all your life. You believed in him, in his existence, your belief was strong, and now the moment has finally come and he stands before you”.
Stay with me, don’t go away.
Two puzzles… They fit perfectly… But what is happening to me?
I see. Here you are.
Thank you now and always.
He was dressed neat and tasteful, delicately and fine. He wore nothing special but there was something unforgettable in the way he dressed. He was unforgettable himself.
They say it’s not the gay coat that makes the gentleman, and I totally agree.
“Hi,” he said finally.
It seemed to me that he said nothing for a long time, because he took up all my attention. As soon as I turned back I watched him like some priceless and fabulous work of art.
I was aware of the fact that it was not very polite to stare at him that long I did, but I kept looking at him with abating breath till I felt smarting in my eyes.
“I hope he has not noticed that”, I thought. “I pray for it would not have been so obvious”.
“Hi,” I replied, having almost lost my breath and being affected in a strange way by the feelings he recalled.
“Can I help you?” I asked him in astonishment. Why did he call me?
If to think sound, such a boy he was would prefer some babe rather than talk to me.
It was easy to come to conclusions and make assumptions.
My life proved my words for many times.
“You have already helped,” the boy said smiling.
“Sorry, I don’t understand,” I said. There was some confusion and misunderstanding in the way I spoke.
“Can I help you?” he asked, repeating my words.
“I do not need any help,” I said steadily but somewhat detached.
“Anyone does some day,” he went on. I still had not got even the least idea of his intentions.
“But not me,” I answered abruptly, not being able to avoid the influence he made upon me.
It was the influence of a stranger asking odd questions. But it was not unpleasant; it was appealing with something I could not define. All I wanted was to be by his side and not a single step further.
“I believe you,” he said.
“And I do not know you at all,” I went on.
“That is not a problem, I suppose,” An easy and kind smile played on his lips.
“Do you want to get acquainted?” I asked him in surprise.
“And you, don’t you?” he replied with another question. “Sorry, you might be in a hurry and I might be distracting you,” he said in tender voice that seemed quite familiar to me, I do not know why.
“I don’t”, I drawled.
“Are you in a hurry?” he asked.
“But you were?”
“I only tried to find some shelter from cold.”
He smiled again and his smile was charming.
“You were seeing somebody off, right?” he went on asking with immense interest.
“Yeah, my parents.”
“They have been here on business,” he assumed.
“Not exactly. They came to visit me on the New Year. They miss me much and I miss them too. Sometimes even more than ever. You know, they are so dear to me,” I said with a smile, thinking of them.
I did not understand what I was talking of, I did not control myself and I definitely did not want to let him go.
That was quite a strange thing. I knew him for a couple of minutes but he seemed to be so familiar and close.
“Our parents are our foundation,” he said smiling.
“And what are you doing here?” I asked him the same question.
“I had some business here, just a drive-by visit.” He answered indistinctly as if avoiding my question. “You wanted to find a shelter from cold, so I do not dare to keep you anymore. If you don’t mind, I’ll catch a cab for you.”
“Indeed I do not, I suppose. Oh, I just wanted to say I do not mind.”
“What a silly thing of me to say!” I thought.
“I am glad you don’t mind,” he said and a smile appeared at his pretty face.
“I don’t mind,” I answered more steadily this time and gave him a smile.
“One little problem,” he said. “It’s rather difficult to catch a cab at this time, so I dare to offer you to give you a lift.”
“I don’t think it’s a good idea, sorry,” I answered with discontent.
I was unpleasantly surprised with some strange feeling. It was rather indefinite, but no good for sure.
I don’t need him, I don’t need his car, and moreover, I don’t need the offers I seem to receive from him soon.
“And that’s what they call help,” I said to myself. “I do not need such help”.
I wonder if I will ever stop being so naive and stop seeing my beloved one in every passer-by. Now I see my beloved one in him and all the others can’t even claim to be compared to him.
The other day, the other news. That’s what I thought. I was sad and tired, tired of being fed up with everything.
I turned my back on him and made some steps in my initial direction I followed before I met him.
But he got ahead of me and stopped me, standing in my way.
“Look, Mia. I didn’t want to hurt you.”
“I need to go home, indeed,” I said with a rush.
“I am really sorry,” he repeated.
“I don’t need your help.”
“I did not mean to hurt you.”
“Please, leave me alone.”
“Yes, you can.”
“No, I can’t.”
“I do not need your help,” I repeated one more time, but he did not let me make a single step.
“Please, listen to me. We have misunderstood each other,” he said embarrassedly and confidently.
There was some regret in his tone, but I did not believe him. There were very few people I could believe.
“Have we?” I said.
At that moment I did realize something else – he called me by my name.
“Look, you’ve called me by my name. How do you know it?”
These fifteen-twenty minutes of our meeting seemed to pass like in some dream. But I was absolutely sure I had not told him my name.
“I say I didn’t want to embarrass or hurt you with my offer.”
“How did you get to know my name?” I repeated, for I saw he wasn’t going to reply.
“Such a pretty girl as you are cannot have a name less wonderful,” he said looking into my eyes.
“Oh, you’d better stop looking at me this way,” I thought.
His glance was passionate and I felt ill at ease.
His passion seemed to spread all over the city, but I had the benefit of enjoying it now.
The city will have strength to resist, but I won’t – I will give up and drown in him.
Oh damn it, what am I thinking of?
“Stop immediately, you silly girl”, I repeated and asked myself the question, why this strange boy attracted me so much and why I felt the way I felt, why these feelings were so strong and I could not control myself.
It should not be this way.
As I made helpless gestures with my hands I saw a bracelet on my hand with tiny letters hanging around it “M”, “I”, “A”. They said my name.
“It is clear now, my next omission. It is neither first, nor the last one”, I thought.
“Ah, did you get to know my name from the bracelet?” I asked. “Then you’re attentive, because it is not rather visible,” I said concentrated.
“Right you are,” he said seriously. “I would rather say it is visible, because I managed to notice it,” he said with the same concentration.
“Sorry for my offer,” he said delicately with some amiable persuasion.
“Look,” I wanted to call him by his name but I understood that I did not know what his name was. “Let’s suppose we are done then. I’m not a girl you took me for, and you’re not a boy I would accept any help from even if I really needed any help. You can pick some girl up in any other place,” I bit nose off. I escaped and made some steps, but he stopped me again.
“Please, stop it, Mia. Oh, how can I explain this to you? I am truly sorry, with all my heart. If only you could give me a chance to improve,” he went on. “Let’s do it this way: I’ll catch a cab and we’ll go anywhere you say. You can go away whenever you want.”
I looked at him and did not know what to say and what to feel. I was in two minds. In two absolutely different minds.
“Please, please, Mia,” he begged again.
After his numerous pleas and cries I felt uncomfortable and thought: “What if it really was some mistake?”
Seemed I was in luck with mistakes – the whole chain of mistakes following me everywhere I would go.
“Well, let’s give it a try,” I said in a low voice, more softly this time. “But is it worth it?” I continued talking to him.
“Here is the cab,” he said, forcing his pace. He kept looking back to check if I followed him.
In some minutes we found ourselves in the cab and the driver asked us an obvious and simple question, wondering where we were going. But I was undecided.
“Where do you want to go?” he asked with definite notes of interest in his voice.
“Anywhere,” I answered, still being in a strain.
I had no idea of what I was doing in that car with a stranger. All I knew was that he was the only one I really wanted to find myself in one car with. It made me feel even more confused and self-deceived.
A few minutes ago I asked him to live me, being in a kind of disarray caused by some circumstances that were not quite clear to me. But now I could not believe I asked him of that.
I was sitting close to him. Quite a strange and unusual feeling. For the first time I felt so good and calm.
“Anywhere,” he repeated with surprise.
“Sorry. I don’t want you to think anything odd, but I want to leave this place, no matter what.”
The car started and we moved in some unknown direction.
“How do you feel?” he asked, looking at me closely.
“Everything seems to be fine,” I replied with a smile.
“Here we are,” the driver interrupted. A little time has passed, as it seemed to me, or I was carried away by the presence of this mysterious stranger.
“Thank you,” we said in unison.
As soon as we arrived this mysterious trip began losing its mystery and the answer became clearer.
We were somewhere nearby the central square.
We stepped out of the car and made our way to the building entrance.
It was a local café. Inside it was very nice and beautiful. I have never been here before.
I also thought that I would not be able to visit all the cafés and pubs of London districts even if I would have visited them throughout the whole period of my being here.
“What would you like?” he asked, watching my every movement.
“Let it be tea,” I said steadily.
“The time for London tea has not yet come,” he said with a smile.
“Right you are, let’s not step out of line. Then let it be coffee.”
“I suppose so”
We could dilute the silence between us with a talk, but the talk was all watching and looking.
He watched me, playing with his look, and I gave as good as I got.
He moved with his hand and that draw my attention – there was a thin dark braided bracelet on his hand.
How could I not have noticed it? Oh, I could not have noticed it, we were outside.
It was rather simple, but… rather unusual.
Though, everyone says that genius lies in simplicity. And I cannot disagree.
“What has drawn your attention?” I asked finally, for silence tortured me.
“You have,” he said calmly and quietly.
“Me? You must be joking!”
“Sorry, we did not get properly acquainted at the airport. My name is Soul.”
“Nice to meet you, Soul. My name is Mia. Though, you already know it.”
Soul, Soul, Soul.
Quite a strange thing – this name has never stand out among the other names.
I dare say I will never forget it from now on.
I repeat his name again and again. It seems to be one whole with the person bearing it.
This name touched my life and stayed in my memory.
My mind trembled every time I heard this name and all I heard was “Soul”.
“Your name is amazing,” he said.
I quivered. It was rather unusual to hear this from a boy. As a rule, I heard such things once in a blue moon.
“The same is yours, Soul. But I suppose there shall be some continuation that shall be even more amazing,” I said, being intrigued.
“There is some,” he said easily. “But let it be our intrigue.”
“OK, let it be,” I said with discontent.
“I only meant that if you want to know more, we will have to meet once more,” he stated with superiority.
“You can keep intrigues, Soul,” I said, smiling.
“Nevertheless, what were you doing at the airport? You appeared rather strangely, at least as it seemed to me.”
“That means I succeeded,” he said indefinitely.
“What is it?” I looked at his bracelet.
Now I could see more of it – it resembled of dark turquoise.
“Uh, this?” he asked, touching the bracelet with his fingers. He smiled. “What do you think of it?” he asked instead of giving any answers.
“Do you always answer questions with questions?”
“No,” he said easily and unstrained.
“It looks quite casual but unusual. I do not know what makes it look like that.”
“It is something a kind of an heirloom. Moreover, I got addicted to wearing it,” he said and continued, “I know it sounds rather silly.”
“No, I understand that. I think it’s nice.”
“I really do.”
“Have you ever worn anything similar?”
“No, but I think it is really nice.”
He always smiled and there was some mystery in his face. As it seemed to me, his face was charismatic. There surely was some grace in him.
“Anyway,” I continued.
“What?” he replied.
“What were you doing at the airport?”
“I was having some business nearby, and then I saw you and decided to follow you.”
“A really strange thing,” I said in a low voice.
“Maybe, a bit. And… I could not allow myself to lose sight of you.”
“Why?” I asked, since I understood nothing at all.
He looked into the window instead of giving any answers.
“Then I won’t have any chance to find you,” he said as if it went without saying.
“Pity, but I haven’t seen you.”
“Sure, you have been deeply lost in your thoughts and had a funny look,” he provoked me.
And he did it once again.
“Is anything wrong?” I asked. I could not stand his snaps directed to the window behind me.
I turned around too, waiting for the answer, but I have not seen anyone and turned back.
“What are you talking about?” he asked, for he had no idea.
“You are looking in the window all the time.”
“Just a couple of times,” he replied in usual manner.
“Maybe it’s time for you to go? I understand it, it’s OK.” (“At least I will try,” I thought).
“No, I’ve just got a little distracted,” he answered decisively.
“Tell me something about you, it is very interesting,” he said. His spelling was amazing.
“What would you like to know about me?” I asked in perplexion.
“Everything,” he said slowly and passionately. “Particularly, what you do, how long you have been living here, what you are interested in and what you like,” he just kept asking questions.
“Wow! Just that little?” I replied with a smile.
“I am interested in everything related to you. And one more thing…” he said it more than gently.
“What else?” I asked. It seemed I have lost my breath that very moment.
“…I like being with you here now,” he continued passionately.
“You are the one who can make me laugh,” I laughed, but indeed I was really surprised.
Honestly speaking, I’ve never heard such words from such a guy.
It seemed to be a joke, and I wanted to ask the bartender where the spycam was and where I have to smile at.
There was something in his voice that made me worried about.
From the moment I heard his sweet, passionate, gentle, cheerful, kind and unforgettable voice, I could not do without him for a single moment.
“Don’t you believe me?” he asked.
“Believe you?” I asked him.
Having held that thought, I continued.
“How can I not believe you?” I murmured with no comprehension.
“But you do not know me at all!” he continued.
“That’s what I really want. I want to know about you at least something! Can you do me a favour?” I asked him.
Fire spread through my body, something impossible was going on with me.
Anything similar happened to me only once, and not so long ago I have recollected that.
Even now, 5 years later, I cannot escape from my memories.
Well, since then I have felt nothing at all, my feelings seemed to have left my life forever.
Now everything was absolutely different.
I was sitting close to this boy now and felt only one thing – the need. It could not be compared to any feelings I had ever had before.
It was different and it was so strong.
I felt it now and it told me about my need, need of being with him. I couldn’t stand a thought that everything will change in a moment and he will not be with me.
The feeling was impossible to feel, and it was hundred times stronger than me.
I did not know him, and I knew that, but when I looked into his eyes I failed to understand anything.
“Do you really want it?” he said slowly.
“Sure. Most of all.”
“Okay, but you will be first.”
“Perhaps, next time, when you tell me your surname, I’ll tell you something about myself.”
“It’s not really fair, don’t you think so?” he asked playfully.
“OK. But just because I crave to hear your life story.”
“Well…” he said waiting to hear my story.
“You know, to tell the truth, I do not like talking about myself. Don’t you think that it is a kind of uncertain estimation in the attempt of characterizing yourself? I can characterize myself inaccurately or incorrectly. Don’t you care?” I asked.
I was trying to express my thoughts in the most precise way, but failed to.
The words were in my mind, but when I spoke they sounded like absolute nonsense.
“It would be better if you get to know me yourself, than entrust me with this.”
I kept trying to wriggle out of telling boring stories about me. Moreover, there was nothing special I could tell.
Just a few words and the story will finish, having even not begun.
“You didn’t get a chance to fail even if you want it most. And I don’t care a damn. You seem to be the girl who cannot describe herself wrong.”
“Really?” I said with some misunderstanding.
“You know yourself bad or underestimate,” he assured.
“Why are you so confident? You have known me for several hours and you talk as if you have known me for quite a long time.”
“Your eyes… they speak for you. I look into them and see your essence in them, but there is one thing I cannot understand…” he interrupted his speech.
“Which one?” I asked.
“Why are you hiding everything inside? Why don’t you express your feelings? Is it easier to be that rough and tight?” he wondered.
“Shall I answer?” I asked thinking over his words.
“Only if you like to.”
“So, I am rough. Maybe you are afraid of me?” I exclaimed in a voice resembling of a growl.
“Of you? Oh, not of you, anyway,” he laughed and continued: “But I will keep it in mind.” He turned his look to the window.
I looked back but I saw nothing there.
“So, you asked me, then listen.”
“I have lived in London not very long. But sometimes it seems that it’s been such a long time. It is not my first place, but I really love it.”
“I would be glad to have met you in this big city before. But I also understand that I could not have met you at all, so I’m glad we have finally met.”
“It is hard to notice someone, who does not differ from all the others,” I murmured.
“I don’t agree with you,” he said with a confidence in his tone.
“And you are very polite in what you say. What about you, the stranger?” I asked, being intrigued.
“I still have no answers from you,” he said delicately and gave me a wink.
“I warned you.”
During our conversation I lost any track of time, and the next time when I turned on my own will I saw the dark dusk behind the window.
It was the evening in the city.
As it turned out, time passed rather quickly, but it seemed to me that we have just come.
For some period of time I escaped from reality to think over my thoughts.
Perhaps, it was obvious; his questions to me proved that and brought me back to reality.
What was I thinking about?
It is strange but I was thinking about everything at once. We were together the whole day but we were still strangers. Nevertheless, I felt he was my close person.
I could have forgotten about everything. I did not even think about that.
For the first time ever I felt free and easy and I was grateful to him for that.
“Is everything okay?” he asked.
“Sure, sorry, I was deep in my thoughts,” I said in a low voice.
“I have made you feel tired with my questions,” he said with some care in his tone.
“Why? Not at all.”
“Sorry for that confusion at the airport, it was an awkward situation,” he said.
“It’s OK,” I tried to sort it out. “Let’s get it over.”
“By the way, you know, I am glad that you had stopped me there.”
“Are you sure?” he asked me.
“More than ever before in my life,” I said.
He smiled holding that thought, and kept giving me his charming look.
“Thank you,” I said quietly, but steadily.
“What for?” he asked without any idea.
“For today and for our acquaintance.”
“I can only tell the same.”
“I really wanted to say that.”
“Had a bad day?” he asked me.
“Not anymore,” I said staring at him.
“Would you mind if I see you home?”
His look instilled the desire not to let him go. My voice disappeared deceitfully every time I had to answer.
At the same time I understood the reason.
I could say only one thing in defence: I was ready to listen to him all day long, but not to speak, since my interpretations, in contrast to his words, were not to listen to continuously.
So it was hard to squeeze out some extra words every next time.
“How can I refuse now?” I asked smiling.
“Stop this,” he said sorely.
“Stop what?” I did not understand him.
“Your smile is just as beautiful as you are.”
“I don’t believe you,” I replied with a smile.
“No, I don’t,” I answered with similar tone.
“You know, I can prove it,” he said with the same playful tone.
“Indeed?” I asked with bated breath.
“Indeed,” he said, giving me a glance that burns to ashes.
“How could he do it?” I wondered. Could these beautiful, brave, clear, unique and memorable features of his face be intended for me only?
“Are you ready?” he asked.
“Yes,” I nodded in response.
We left the cafe, I felt a tremble. It was very cold outside, and my coat was not warm enough for such evening weather. It was snowing and the snowflakes were falling one after another. It was amazing but cold.
“Are you cold?” he asked with anxiety.
“Just a little,” I assured him.
“No, it is not a little, lean on me,” he said. But I did not take any actions and tried to assure him of the contrary. Then he embraced me and drew me close against him.
I inhaled his scent and enjoyed the warmth of his embrace.
“It is really better, you are so warm,” I barely said in a shuddering.
“And you are cold. Aren’t you afraid of catching cold?” he asked discontentedly.
“Not with you.”
He smiled in response and I was still in his arms. We were waiting for the cab that would not come.
While we were waiting we kept talking.
I stood motionless. I did not want to make even the slightest movement.
I looked around the street, hoping that cab would come soon, my attention was drawn by something other than what I initially expected.
It was a raven.
“Look,” I said to Saul. “A raven.”
The raven was flying in the evening winter sky of London, not far from us.
“What a strange colour is the one he has.”
He was of a rich black colour and that made him so terrible and caused such an unpleasant association.
While I was looking at that raven, Soul managed to catch a cab.
“Get into the car,” he said.
There were some drastic changes in his voice, and now there were notes of rigidity and unprecedented severity.
Still, it did not prevent me from enjoying his voice again.
“What happened? Why do you hurry?” I asked confused.
“Please, get into the car, be quick” he almost ordered.
“Okay,” I replied in confusion. I sat at the back seat of a black car – one of the main attributes and attractions of London – a classic black cab. He sat down beside me.
“Where do you live?” judging from his tone, he could not stand waiting and the response had to be a momentary one.
“Notting Hill,” I hastened to reply.
The car started.
“Will you explain me what happened?” I tried to find out. “Why did you decide to leave that place so fast?”
“It seemed to me that you were cold and I decided that it would be better if you would get into the car.”
“That’s all?” I said with a doubt.
“That’s all,” he said tensely but with relief.
“Do you always pay so much attention to such trifles?” I kept asking him.
“It was not a trifle. You do not want to catch cold, do you?” he said carefully. “It is December now.”
“No, I do not want,” I replied because I did not know what to answer. “I do not want to catch cold.”
“I thought so too”
“Thank you,” I said with affection. “You are very attentive.”
“You are welcome, Mia,” he answered. “I could not do any other way.”
Soon the cab stopped near my house.
“Thank you,” I repeated, being under the influence of uncertain feelings, I forgot any words and did not know what to say.”
The moment of parting worried me and I simply could not bear this thought.
I did not know whether I would see him again and this thought made me sad. The smile disappeared from my face deceitfully, because I wanted to see him again.
Again and again.
Having said these words in my mind I realized the power of my will, but I had no strength before it.
“I was very glad to spend this day with you,” he said with affection. “And I have said it before, that I am glad to have met you very much.”
“The same with me, my stranger,” I said.
The cold reminded of it again.
“See you later,” he said in a tone that made me believe it would really be that way.
“Great,” I said, getting even more cold with every next minute.
“You are cold, I cannot watch you trembling,” he said with notes of sadness in his voice.
“Do not worry, everything will be okay,” I replied.
He walked away from me, made a few steps back and then stopped to see how I was going to enter the house.
Another moment and I’m home.
I needed a few minutes of complete silence to cope with my thoughts, and just then I turned on the light.
I tried to understand everything that had happened today, everything that I had to live with and feel today.
Again and again I recollected everything that had happened that day. I could not believe it was true.
It was my dream, a dream where he – Soul – was present. I’ll wake up soon and everything will be the way it has been before.
My strength was running low, if it has been any strength in me by that moment. I finally jumped on my pseudo-bed, I mean window-sill, making everything as before.
The street was very nicely illuminated, just like it was every evening.
Thoughts were mixed and were running in my mind back and forth. I stared into the night sky and felt my eyes closing and sleep carrying me away.
I fell asleep soon.