Мне 27 лет. Я живу в Москве и работаю переводчиком. Люблю путешествовать, изучать иностранные языки и постоянно открывать для себя что-то новое. Пишу давно, но «Хрустальный сад» стал моим первым серьезным романом. В своих произведениях я ищу ответы на вопросы: как найти свой путь и сделать правильный выбор.
I’m 27 year old. I live in Moscow and work as a translator. I like to travel, learn foreign languages and find something new. I’ve been writing since childhood, but Crystal Garden is my first serious novel. In my works I try to answer the questions: how to find your way and make the right choice.
(Introduction to the story of life and choice of the Lord of Illusions)
The moonlight almost did not penetrate through the narrow lancet windows of the medieval Bohemian church. Small candles dimly lit old frescoes depicting Saints. The church was quiet and deserted. Only an old priest was dozing over his book. Almost noiselessly the door opened, letting in an icy wind. The young man lingered in the doorway, as if thinking of his next move, and then closed the door and went along the aisle straight to the altar. The sound of his footsteps echoed from the stone walls. Snowflakes sparkled in his blond hair and melted, leaving footprints on his white coat. In his hand he carried a long canvas package. The man kneeled in front of the altar, put the package on the floor and unfolded the cloth. Ancient sword with engraved words glistened in the candlelight. The young man put his hands together, bowed his head to the side and looked at the image of the crucified Christ.
“So, here I came to you,” he said in English with a slight German accent. His voice was quiet. “You know, this time I did everything I could.” He fell silent, thinking of something, but then spoke again. “I want to ask you only one thing – take care of them.”
I was born on a cold rainy day in October of the year nineteen eighty six. My mother told me once in a fit of candor how she was getting to the hospital that day, in a pouring rain, all by herself, just because the father worked. As usually. As long as I remember him he was always working somewhere, day and night. As for my mother, she wrote for the local newspaper, giving tips on how to build relationships or grow gladiolus. Here’s a perfect example – to give advice you don’t have to be specialist in something. In our family, everyone was on their own; actually we were not even a family in its primary sense – just a group of people under one roof.
So, no wonder that I became a troubled teen, in a sort of way. I was not a brawler or drug addict. Oh, no. I studied well and came home on time. My whole “trouble” was that nobody knew how to communicate with me. I kept silent most of the time simply not understanding why bother open your mouth to discuss such simple things as weather, football or the film I watched last Sunday.
The only person, who could bear me, was Sunny. Actually his real name was Robert, but nobody, neither his parents, nor the teachers, called him so. I don’t remember where he got this nickname – Sunny. Maybe because of his red hair and freckles…
…Life went on, and when we were fourteen we fell in love with one and the same girl.
Sunny was the first to make friends with her. At break he sat down at her desk and they started to laugh at something. That upset me so much that after classes I caught him at the school backyard and nailed to the wall ready to give him a fight.
“Leave Annie, find some other girl.”
“But I like this girl,” he pushed me slightly.
“I like her too,” I continued to hold him by the collar of his jacket.
“You will never come up to her!” Sunny pushed harder, so I almost lost my balance. “You will never do anything,” he pushed again. “You’ll better suffer alone than come up to her…”
And then I hit him. For the first time in my life. With my fist. Right into his face. He was taken aback and looked at me surprised. But I was in fury and struck him again, and only then he hit back. His first blow reached my jaw, second my eyebrow. We fell down. We were fighting until were both exhausted. Sunny was the first to give up. He sat leaning against the wall, breathing heavily. His jacket was torn and missing one button. The blood dried on his broken lip. I guess I did not look better.
“Gosh, you surprised me,” Sunny said. “I couldn’t imagine you can do anything like that. Because of a girl,” he smiled.
“I said I like her,” I sat beside him. My anger passed and I even felt some kind of moral satisfaction. I guess I really needed to blow off steam. “I’ll ask her for a dance on St. Valentine’s Day.”
“Deal,” said Sunny and held out his hand. “Peace?”
“Peace,” I shook his hand. “I’m sorry.”
Suddenly I felt ashamed. He is my best friend, always together and all that staff, and I behave like this. Who knows, what if I didn’t let go of my feelings and there could be something between him and Anna? Everything could be different.
For the St. Valentine’s Day I was preparing very thoroughly. No wonder. There was nothing more important in my life than to ask a girl for the first dance. I put on my best jeans and even ironed my shirt. Sunny, though formally he gave up his claims on Anna, dressed up like a bridegroom and even used some perfume.
But to our great disappointment the first dance with Anna was won by that fat guy Martin.
“Let’s go and beat him?” Sunny chuckled, nudging me with his elbow. “Let’s go, huh?” I knew he didn’t say that to tease me and I was no longer angry with him. But I was angry at the rest of the world and its unspeakable injustice. If only I knew then what the real injustice was…
…That summer everything went wrong. Sunny was always hanging out with his new friends whom I did not like, and I was busy with my comic book. If I only knew how little time we had, I would have done anything just to spend that time with him. But I didn’t know. It seemed to me that he betrayed me. In fact, probably it was I who betrayed him. I was too occupied with my personal drama with Anna to pay attention to his sudden and strange metamorphoses, though I noticed them almost immediately. Sunny became unsociable, his mood changed twenty times an hour. Everyone thought he was just growing up and these are just usual teenage problems… But when the time to raise the alarm came, it was too late.
That November day Sunny and I decided to skip classes. We walked through the park. It was a crowded place in summer, but that day there was nobody at all. Snow was falling since morning, and the trees bowed under white caps.
Sunny was happy as a child. He was jumping on the fresh snow, picked it up and tossed into the air. I looked at him and laughed, but all of the sudden he fell on his knees. His shoulders were shaking. I did not see his face and at first I thought he was laughing too. It lasted probably less than a minute, but it seemed eternity. I rushed to him. He was sitting with his hands scooping snow and was looking in front of him. The tears were rolling from his eyes. First time I noticed how blue his eyes were, like the sky in January. And the teardrops were just huge.
“Hey, what’s up?” I asked, sitting beside him.
There came no reaction. He continued to stare at one point. It seemed that he didn’t even wink.
“Sunny,” I slightly patted him on the shoulder. “Hey, what happened? Tell me.”
He closed his eyes, but didn’t make a sound. The snow kept falling down and melted on his cheeks, mingling with his tears. I was embarrassed. I never saw him crying. We were sitting like that for a long time. My jeans were wet from the snow. His hands seemed to be freezing, as he put them into his pockets, but he didn’t change his position. I felt that I was getting cold too and already wanted to offer to go home, when Sunny spoke…
“…They offered us some pills,” with effort Sunny rose to his feet. His knees were wet with snow, but he didn’t even shake it off. “I couldn’t say “no”,” he said quietly and turned to walk away.
I kept sitting for a while trying to think of his words, then I rose and went after him.
“Sunny, you…” I started to say, but couldn’t finish. He stopped and slowly turned around. I can still see that look full of despair, hopelessness and fear.
“I’m an addict, Walter,” his voice broke, he turned and ran. I ran after him, but soon fell behind. I didn’t want to catch up with him. I wanted to wake up. I wanted this conversation never happen. I wanted last summer never happen as well. I thought my world collapsed…. How wrong I was! My world would collapse a little bit later…