Short story “Short Stories”
THE NIGHT VISIT
When of a New Year’s revelry in a student dorm was about to settle down and I had decided to go to bed, someone knocked at the door of my chamber.
– Who is it? – I asked. Nobody answered.
I arranged my dwelling so that laying the bed I managed to reach a refrigerator, a coat hanger, a table and a light switch. At that moment I regretted, that I had to get up so as to open the door. I began to pull on my trousers urgently. The bed desperately creaked under me. Someone was waiting patiently…
The Snow Maiden’s green eyes looked at me artlessly. Her kokoshnik (“crown”) lop-sided a little. In the worn blue costume she looked like other Snow Maidens inviting buyers in a loud and hoarse voice
– Happy New Year, Gurami Marble? – sounded affably. The matter was I had stuck the picture on my door depicting an aquarium fish with the name which sounded as mine.
– It’s a pity, but I did not order a Snow Maiden. By the way, I am about to go to sleep! – I said coldly.
Not saying a word she squeezed past me into the room and sat down on the unmade bed.
I became furious and attempted to protest. She interrupted me quietly.
– Gurami Diamond lives on the eighth floor’, – she said and smiled to herself.
– I suppose you have visited all the men of the dorm! – I said and realized that I overdid with the sarcasm. She did not answer and only smiled mildly.
Just then I heard the heavy steps in the corridor. Dragging a sack Santa Claus came in. He had a wool beard. His red coat smelled of glue and he himself smelled of vodka.
– Let us go! – He pronounced in a brutal bass. She stood up and came up to me. The kiss of the beautiful lips, light and dewy was her unexpected present for me. I petrified. Perhaps, she looked back, when was leaving. I could not say definitely. The entire doorway took back of Santa.
Next day a little shocked I asked neighbors about the night visitors. Nobody knew anything. I talked with Gurami from the eighth floor – my namesake and fellow countryman. He only shrugged his shoulders and said:
- Be careful, you don’t control your libido.
Why did not I ask the Snow Maiden her telephone number!
On clear days she settled down on the bench in the courtyard at the gate. She would bend over the threshold of the gate and peer out into the street. Passersby could see the carefully coiffed head, girlish breasts, and coquettishly curved back. The rest of her body from the waist to her feet did not obey and cohere to Dodo, and her lifeless form rested on the bench behind the iron gates. It had been fatally damaged in an automobile accident in her childhood in which her parents had died. Dodo was almost weightless. Every morning and every evening, her grandmother would carry her out of and back into the house.
Thus, days would pass, and sometimes she was alone , sometimes neighbor girls gathered around her.
Strangers were a source of lively interest to Dodo. The cobblestone road made a turn not far from their house and passed into a steep climb. Each new character, if going upward, appeared unexpectedly because of the turn but soon disappearing from sight because of the thick trunk of the old acacia that grew at the gate. The field of vision was narrow. She eagerly stared at newcomers with the aim of catching and fixating on a new impression.
The Bohemian Revaz would attract her attention, a student of the local art school. He resided at my house situated well above up the ascent. Revaz liked the view from our balcony, with its picturesque sights of the town. A rural guy, Revaz, considered himself to be an urbanist. The young artist drew landscapes of the ancient Tbilisi for some reason deserted. From time to time, tiny figures appeared in his pictures, but so indistinct that it was impossible to discern their gender or age.
- Her skull is beautiful. Shells of ears are in proportion. Eyes are so alive!” – He would remark about Dodo.
Nobody could imagine that this urbanist had not noticed the physical disability of the girl. Each time, coming out from the turn, Revaz looked around. Their eyes met and both said “hi!” when he appeared or “goodbye” when he disappeared behind the acacia. One day Revaz stopped. The first question that he asked was why she did not play with other girls in the street. Her tears made the artist realize everything at last. The boy ran home. I observed how he feverishly sorted out his pictures and then rushed out with one of these down along the street. The artist decided to redress his inadvertence with a gift. After that day, Revaz would make a detour to Dodo’s place.
Hamlet, a neighbor of mine, did the same. He was an unsophisticated person, a driver. Once we played dominoes with us on the balcony. Hamlet looked depressed. I urged him to tell us about his problems.
“It will help you to relax,” I said him.
He heaved a sigh and told his story:
- The day was awful. The cardan of my car was broken, so I had to stop at a garage. Hungry and dirty, I went home. Dodo hailed me when I passed by her gate. She cheered me up. When I came home and found nobody there, I got in a rage. The fridge was empty. Only bread crumbs and a bulb of garlic were in the kitchen. I ate it up greedily. Suddenly, I became excited as I remembered Dodo. I don’t know why.