Основатель Международного центра развития бизнеса и инвестиционных проектов (inbicenter.ru). С 2016 года работает над созданием Евразийского института культурно-экономического развития им. Исмаила Гаспринского. Общественный деятель, публицист, блогер. Пишет на русском, крымскотатарском и турецком языках (basiret.info). Организатор и участник международных и региональных конференций и форумов в сфере развития бизнеса и социально-гуманитарных проблем современного общества.
It was late and I had to go to Simferopol. But when I was leaving my town, the phone rang ominously. It was an old woman I knew, and her flat, tear-stained voice promised bad news. She knew that I was in town and asked me to come over. She didn’t need to explain anything, and I didn’t need to ask. I turned my car and headed for her.
The house reeked of misery, of utter poverty… Do you know the smell? No, no, it wasn’t the matter of the old furniture or of absence, not the matter of shabby walls or cheap food. On the contrary, the woman was very cleanly and hospitable. But the smell… Once she’d had an old house, her own business and a happy family. But then her husband died, and she tried to save the business, to save the family, to bring up her son, all by herself. Perestroika, gangsters, new environment, — and she was just a young mother, with nobody to put her back on. And so she let go of the reins somewhere on the way, and lost her little boy. And then a nightmare began: she had to sell the house, had to give her business away, had to do everything to save her son, to get him out of prison. The sense of impunity is a terrible thing. She beat the rap and he got into trouble again, she got him out ‑ and he got arrested over and over.
But everything has an end, and one day this came to an end too. She ran out of money, lost all her friends and connections. And one morning her eighteen-year-old son woke up behind the bars. He spent only first three years of his time there and was released. His mother should have been glad, but how could she? As it turned out, her son became a drug addict. And then he did the same as others drug addicts do. In the next ten years he sold everything he could. A lonely, sick, neglected mother’s only child.
I walked into a small dimly lit room ‑ the windows were densely curtained. It was clear that light got on the guy’s nerves. I sat on a chair and tried to crack a positive, optimistic smile, even though I understood that it wouldn’t work out.
“Hello, my friend”, I said sincerely, and it seemed to me that he felt it. I saw it in his eyes, and I felt very light in my heart. Have you ever seen a man with the seal of death on his face? I have. Imagine a man with a one-way ticket waiting for the train. All he’s got is a half of an hour, and he tries to give to and to get some hugs from everyone he loves, tries to remember their smell, to say something important. His face was as pale as the face of Death itself ‑ a face of a drug addict with fifteen years of experience, with AIDS, hepatitis C and cirrhosis. And his eyes… aloof, calm, submissive. I understood that I’d been called to listen, not to speak, and what could I say to a man stuck between two worlds, to a man who knew things that I didn’t know?
“I’ve not always been so sick, so feeble and miserable, ‑ he started. ‑ I used to be strong, bold, I thought I had the whole world in my hands. I just devoured delights: women, alcohol, pot, and then junk… Friends spun around me like moths. ‑ The word “friends” evoke a horrifyingly cold grin on his pale face. ‑ Yeah, friends! Where are you? ‑ he filtered through his dry, dewatered lips unwillingly. After a short silence, he continued:
“Getting hooked on the needle was really too much. At first I thought everything was under control, I even gave up several times and started over, to prove myself that I’m not like everybody else, that I can give up at any moment. Damn you, the Devil’s potion, damn you! It was smarter than me. I’ve been thinking a lot, where’s the point of no return? When did it break me? When I got hooked on again after a long treatment three years ago? Or when I gave up for the first time and then started again? Or with the first shot? The first glass, the first blunt? After all, if I had not been drunk then, maybe I would not have put the first needle? I don’t even remember which one of my “friends” gave me the first shot. Late Sanya, I guess. Well, does it matter? I am the only one to blame! Poor mommy… I’ve burnt her, I’ve burnt her alive, I turned her heart into ashes…
“Once, when I had another cold turkey, I was going to carry out a pair of earrings that my late father gave her, and she stood in front of me not to let me out. She was crying, she was begging me to give her my father’s memento back. I pushed her so hard that she fell down and hit her head! I wish my arms had withered and fell off, I wish I had died before! So, here I am, dying like a dog… I feel so sorry for my mother, my mommy… Every night I can’t sleep, I just lie in my bed, and my whole life passes before my eyes, and my mother too. Every single day I die a lot of times, but my mommy… I’m such a bastard, I’m a scum, what have I done to her? I don’t know if Lord would forgive me, I don’t know. If I.. if I… If I could…”
Tears of repentance were flowing all over the pale face of the dying man, and I his spiritual anguish and repentance took my breath away. I prayed to God to help him. I couldn’t speak, and I gathered all my strength to say the one, only one thing that I didn’t have even a slightest shadow of a doubt in. And I said it: “There’s no sin that our Lord would not forgive a sincerely repented person, no!”
A smile came to his tormented face, he closed his eyes and didn’t speak to me anymore. I realized it was time to go. When I walked out of the room, I saw his mother. She was sitting in an old armchair and crying. She had heard everything, and it was probably the happiest day in her life in years. I hugged her gently, as if she was my own mother, I kissed her cheek which was wet with tears, struggling to restrain myself. I didn’t say a word; neither did she. It was one of the hardest, but, at the same time, one of the most important days of my life. I don’t know, how much time I spent in the car crying frantically, and I don’t remember when I went back.
I almost drove up to Simferopol, when the phone rang again ‑ it was the call I was waiting for. I knew who was calling ‑ it was the mother of the poor guy who “stopped” in the very last moment. But not everyone is so happy, not everyone has the chance to confes before it’s too late. Without stopping, I made a U-turn on the empty road and pressed the full throttle. It was clear that I wouldn’t sleep that night…