четверг, 16 января 2014 г.

Zelder winter stories
***

Do Care

Today the Olympic torch relay passed through my city. Everybody was so crazy about it that it was beyond my comfort zone to show any interest in the event. Traffic was closed at about 3 p.m. when I was dozing over my keyboard and typing unintentional letters in the middle of my report. I left work half an hour earlier than usual (because everybody wanted to see the torch and I didn't want to stay in the office alone) and at 5:30 I walked home through empty streets. It was eerily carless and humanless.

I couldn't lose the creepy feeling of being in a Walking Dead episode until I saw a crowd of people evenly (as on cue) distributed along the central road in my district. Music played in the distance and it was so freezing I wondered if the torch was going to hold any fire at all. I didn't want to think of the torch or join the craziness of people jumping from foot to foot from cold and anticipation. I walked along the road behind the crowd pulling the most emotionless face I could manage with some contempt thrown in. What's wrong with you people? - my face seemed to say - Don't you have anywhere warmer to be? Don't you already know that we have a Coca-cola factory and a Gazprom subsidiary in the city? Because I do and I really couldn't care less.

When I reached my corner several cars passed by (the coke truck was no doubt among them) and before I could turn the corner to go home I heard people shout that the torch was coming. I stopped and stared. 

The torch was carried right in front of me and handed over to the next runner. I didn't feel like shouting or clapping, I just felt that something important had just happened, was happening in the world at that moment and I couldn't experience that 'something' properly, but it was in the air. I wonder if it was the ghosts of the past bringing the unique sense of peace and unity with them that had entered my heart uninvited through the back door.

пятница, 10 января 2014 г.

Zelder Stories


The winter series of Zelder Stories has started...

***

When it started snowing, it got warmer and there were more people outside. A little boy waddled like an oversized duckling across a playground that was piled with snow. He stopped at a swing and blinked melted snowflakes off his lashes. An old man went by, snorted and wrapped his old scarf tighter around his neck. The boy's eyebrows made a puzzled twitch.

"Go home," the old man shouted to him over the shoulder, "no one plays here in winter."

The boy pushed the seesaw with his mittened hand and the metal bars screeched.

"It's frozen," a woman said. The boy turned to the voice and the woman brushed some snow off her long red coat and the wide brim of her black hat. "You can't play here, it's winter," she said with a smile and walked on. The boy looked up to the sky blinking and caught some snowflakes with his open mouth.

A young couple went by and laughed, whispering something to each other.

The boy caught some snowflakes on his mitten, puffed a warm breath on them and watched them melt. Then he caught some more, puffed again and watched. He stood there for hours watching snowflakes turn to water beads. He could have thought it was fascinating, had he known the word. He was simply happy.

***

There was an old half-deteriorated factory at the far end of the city. The building loomed against the snowless ground and bare trees. Two boys ran across the road towards it leaving deep footprints in the drowsy grass soaked in slush. Soon after the boys disappeared inside the building, the sound of broken glass echoed across the woods. 
I am a very curious person, so I followed the boys to see what they were doing. I found them on the second floor smashing bottles against the walls. I leaped to the side to avoid a glass shard that bounced off the wall just behind me.
"Why are you doing this?" I asked the boys. They froze terrified, though only for a moment. Regaining the juvenile sense of safety and carelessness, one of the boys said: " 'is just fun, lady."
 
Everyone was very optimistic in December and hoped for a White Christmas. Sometimes hopes are there to be shattered.