Iva Olenina

Ищу сюжеты, делюсь рассказами, истории не делаю.

I’m looking for the plots, sharing my stories and don’t make history.

Перевод «Пианино наверху смолкло»

The Piano Above Fell Silent

If prediction at the bottom of the cup is anything to go by, everything has already happened. And now his life as if it was a read over book should be sent to internal exile of dusty shelves.

Everything has already happened.

Anxiety was spreading around his mouth with the bitter taste of the coffee. And it was oddly familiar to him. It seemed once he had already sat just like that in the middle of his room. And thought. And tried to remember. And got surprised with the coincidences. The sun flecks had already drawn the Great Bear constellation on the wall then trickling to the floor. And the shriek of untuned piano had already dragged through the ceiling depth raping Gershwin’s rhapsody. And his head had already responded to that with the severe headache.

But who will believe the predictions? Who will be looking for the answers in the dark spots of the coffee grounds? It is foolishness, sheer foolishness to believe that, and indulge consciousness, allowing it to lead his own game

He needed to stand up and stop it all while keystrokes clanged somewhere above did not knocked him into the parquet floor, while the headache did not destroy him. He needed to do something while he could think, and move, and make sense.

He needed to make some more coffee.

* * *

‘More coffee, please’, – Anges mouthed to the waiter passing by, the waiter nodded back to him. It was 7 p.m., and the bar just started filling up with people. It was the first place Anges noticed after moving his new apartment. The bar was close to his apartment. There were plain furniture, warm colored walls with the mess of posters and photographs on. The public was a mix of clerks, several local buddies escaping their wives, and pods of art college students – boys with long hairs and girls with shaved temples and bright lipsticks of extraordinary shades. It was popular but not really noisy place. It was convenient to get quick coffee in the afternoon and something stronger in the evening, just as he liked. It seemed that the barman started to recognize him and greeted less formal than those who rescue there rain or came accidentally after aimless wandering through the city.

A simple white cup on the same simple saucer appeared just in front of him on the table and interrupted the flow of his thoughts. Anges held his head up to give thanks, but there was nobody, as if that all was just his dream.

* * *

Silence interrupted his dream.

The piano above fell silent and everything went quiet along with it. Consciousness was slowly getting back together with the idea to buy some stuff to furnish the apartment as it was his place of living.

Ripples ran over his back after feet touched the cold floor. It started feeling entirely uneasy. Approaching the window Anges pulled the curtains away – bleakly and quiet. Just like in the apartment. Just like afternoon. But now the lantern light instead of sunbeam crept through the curtains to the room showing the emptiness of the insides and the outsides.

Another house just as a twin soared across the street – the window right to the window, the door right to the door, the porch right to the porch. Perhaps they were being even built simultaneously. The building blocks were placed, the concrete was poured, and the claddings were made by the repetition of the same movements. The builders as if they were a well-organized corps-de-ballet, moved in step on the both sides of the street reflecting each other. Anges thought that if he hold his head up and look trough to the opposite window he would see his own eyes.

All the objects began to move away, float somewhere behind, escaping and tearing up all the links. The world around was transforming in a photo from somebody’s album – boring and uncomfortable whatever it showed even the favorite place on Earth.

Stepping back, Anges knocked against the only bag he took along but did not unpack. Every time a moving to a new place promised him something that caused tingling in his fingerprints. The row of new, yet unknown countenances and places passed through his conscious. New job. New hobby. New habit. It was possible, as they say to become anyone. It was possible to allow himself something he had not before – throw out the old, forget the nastiness? Put aside the odd? A brand new glossy beginning is the most favorite plot of our days.

* * *

That whiskey was rather one too many. His legs became weak and the head heavy. When the bartender told you, ‘Buddy, you’d enough’, it’s worth to listen to him. But his apartment was within the easy reach – just cross the street, walk a couple hundred of yards, then turned the nearest street.That’s it. Anges stopped just in front of the company that got a little too much too. Girls wiggled on their heels, young men diligently tried to get a sense of their jokes and replied smoothly. Sometimes they didn’t fail. Everybody smiled.

The red traffic lamp sank red light, the green one turned on the green one, people came forward. Anges also went, feeling the movements of the passers-by more than seeing the light. Forward. Forward. The turn. And then was the building. Anges patted on the pocket with the keys.

The porch lamp winked him sleepy; the elevator coughed and began descending. The buttons with the floors numbers blurred one could think that there were eighty-eight or even eight hundred and eighty-eight floors in the building. ‘There must be no place to breathe above,’ flashed through his mind. The elevator’s doors opened.

His fingers could not hold the keys, the key did not enter the lock, and the lock did not give up to the bitter. Anxiety began tickling his back when the door opened. The dark entrance hall swallowed him completely.

* * *

The sun hid behind the clouds completely. The gray sky yawned spilling the jelly of dull light around. It seemed that day never came.

Anges roamed the stores, ordered furniture, choose crockery, tried on clothes. It turned out that there were mostly books in his bags – did anybody still read books instead e-book or take them by too? – and there was almost nothing in the apartment. Too friendly shop assistants scented sitting duck, hounded him, and made an offer, and another, and another. In the evening Anges without any stumble, stated convenient delivery time and confidently quitted loyalty cards. He wanted to get rid of all that stuff quicker and get some rest.

The friend bartender waved his hand, ‘Hello, buddy.’ People were buzzing as usual. Anges seated on a chair at the counter between two couples. It was not the best seat but at the evening even it could be hardly found. The couple to the right laughed either over her, or over his feeble joke. Silence and empty glasses reigned to the left. A girl in an orange jumper and her friend sat with their heads low. The glass began to cool Anges fingers, and whiskey to warm his stomach. The barman hurried up to the new visitors. The song changed to contemporary mix of Gershwin’s melody. Anges unexpectedly wanted to wink to the girl to the left. What if she answered him? Or got angry. Or pretended she did not notice him, addressing her friend a quickly-made question. But she suddenly got up and went to the entrance without saying any word to her friend and pulling on her raincoat – the bright spot disappeared behind the gray fabric. Her friend, as if he did not notice anything, stayed on seating with his head down, but then alone. Laughter sounded to the right. Anges did not want home.

* * *

Anges wanted to turn on the light but failed to grope the switch. Walking along the wall he reached the bedroom. There was an empty cup on the bedside-table like a clue to his lazy breakfast. His bag stuck out of the bed as the turtle staying the half its way. Draught passed through the little window.

The light came on the opposite window. Anges always watches just that window out of the corner of his eye. He hoped to see… What? It was just his curiosity. Usually the curtains tightly covered the window, and only sometimes flashed red in the evenings or at night.

Anges reached for the window, closed it and went to the bed without taking off his clothes. The day was calm and then the calm night would come. His neighbors above that tortured their piano had moved out. All the week was a fuss above his place and a lorry stood near the porch. The loaders prowled like ants working smoothly and quickly. In the morning Anges found out from them that all belongings had been moved out including the piano. The owners kept the piano till the last day hoping to sell it but no one got interested.

Falling asleep Anges thought that it would be funny to buy that piano and become somebody’s torturer himself. He didn’t play the piano.

The curtain in the opposite window began to shiver. A shadow flashed in a narrow gap. Then the gap became wider, trotting out a bed rim and a part of pale wall. Somebody’s hands put confidentially a simple white saucer with the same plain white cup on it on the window sill.

Everything has already happened.

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