Waltz for K. Waltz for K.
Автор: Савицкий Дмитрий Петрович
Переводчик: Shorter Kingsley
Язык: en
Жанр: prose_contemporary

Случайный отрывок из книги :

After standing in a daze for a second, with a ringing in my ears, I was just about to start rushing feverishly about snatching things up, cutting a wide swath through this moss of disorder, when Katenka, still strange, still alien, came right up to me so that her breasts poked into me and set me afire—for some reason I wasn’t yet dressed that morning, or rather all unbuttoned still—and said the last thing I expected: “You’ll take pictures of me naked, won’t you? Stark naked?” and not waiting for a reply she swung into the air, twisting and turning. “He taught me too, he’s such a genius! He said it would only be the two of us. Only you and I would be given the secret.” And somehow she did it quite differently—I’m afraid to say “like a woman,” because if you’ve never tried it yourself, you will laugh at me—she floated up to the clothes line, where yesterday’s rolls of film were hung up to dry.

That evening distant thunder tossed and turned in its dry bed. Rolled its r’s. Played its skittles. Toward midnight the murk thickened ominously, writhing and swirling like milk. Shafts of lemon-yellow lightening struck at random. Windows banged. The poplar below our window shivered feverishly. Then the rain came down in torrents. It rained so hard it seemed the whole of life must be swept away. A generous, outlandish deluge.

I still have photographs from that period. One time, when I was already living in Paris, in an access of homesickness I showed one picture to a veteran of the art; he examined it at length, frowned, spilled cigar ash on the carpet, asked to see the negative. “I’ll give you half the Man Ray Prize,” he announced finally, “if you will explain to me how it was done.” I spread my hands. What explanation could I give him? In that sundrenched room, amid a disorder immortalized by my lens—books scattered about, portraits pinned up askew, the lines with her washing and my film hung up to dry; in that room, whose dresser still played host to silver sugar bowls that had somehow not yet found their way to the pawnbroker’s and icons that had escaped the depradations of the diplomatic corps—in that room, Katenka lay upon the air, her arms spread wide: wonderful, stark naked Katenka. Her hair—she had just tossed her head—whirled like a golden comet in the suspended air of that day that was happy almost beyond bearing. There was no gimmick.

On the table lay a big packet of our Moscow photographs: Katenka in the bathroom, lying flat, like at a fakir’s seance; one breast lolls to the side, nipple peeping at the lens; I stand beside her in a raincoat and hat (I had set the camera to auto-release) and hold the shower hose behind her neck—the sparkling cone of water fans down over her, time has not yet licked away the droplets on her skin. Katenka in the woods, in a little satin dress, diving head first in pursuit of a flower borne away on the wind; a bumblebee in his unseasonably luxurious fur coat provided her with a perfect bracelet, a buzzing woodland wristwatch. Or here is Katenka on a moonlit night (I was using time exposure): looking somehow already completely astral, as if drenched in the light of the full moon, in this picture she is resolved into a succession of translucent blue images—flowing turns, somersaults, silken glimmers of elbow and knee.

I cannot endure this, I don’t mean describing the photographs, but calling back the days cancelled by the calendar.... I would do better to burn the whole lot.

The master, honorary chairman of many contests and commissions, thinking it would be a nice way to bring me out of my trance—since I had already forgotten about my half of the photography prize—offered to buy this Moscow photo for the magazine The Eye. He even offered a sum several times larger than anything I could have dreamed. But I declined. I had to decline. The picture was now lying on the table on a pile of photography magazines. Black-and-white Katenka with her tear drop of a navel, with the transparent fuzz that edged her somehow always inflamed delta, Katenka, looking so real, so piercingly real, that I went weak all over—Katenka was, now and forever more, beyond reach.

But going back now in time and dropping down into that blooming summer I see the two of us, completely happy, not so much beautiful—although she was unquestionably a beauty—as bearing the marks of the half-swooning ecstasies we shared. Now I see that same nailbitten finger of destiny that was poked into those days as pointing the way (nowadays, with mockery in my heart for my own and everyone else’s absurdity, I often wonder when the index finger will be joined by its four brothers and the whole little family will turn into an avenging fist): because all the details of that life, the whole atmosphere of that time, have emerged as it were from mute obedience and cry aloud, mouth gaping wide.... Now it seems to me that if people in that society were made fools of, turned inside out to show their worst and coarsest side (hence the insane sensitivity of our life then!), that is, to reveal that on the inside they were lined with the drab fustian of the Party, now it seems to me that we were among the first to be demagnetized.

God, how mischievous she was! How many times did we do it in the air. The first time—the walls abandoned their right angles and rushed to intercept us, a lopsided picture broke from its cord and plunged into oblivion, a big bottle of cherries in brandy fell from the dresser with a crash (but didn’t break), a scratch on my back took a week to heal—that was the window catch which, seizing its chance, gouged me between the shoulder blades. We had to learn to respect the lamp, to be mindful of nails, we had to learn prudence enough not to go crashing into the window sill, crammed with jars, cups and coffee pot. One stifling night we fell asleep in each other’s arms and I awoke, after I don’t know how many minutes had rustled past, feeling her all tenderly wrapped around me, warm and moist—awoke with sudden alarm. For a moment I was completely disorientated; I knew only that somewhere close by deadly brilliant drops were flaring and dying, and near my neck something was scraping and scratching. At such moments the most difficult thing is to figure out which is up and which is down. Luckily for me a sliver of moon cut through the thick midnight clouds. Then from below came a harsh grinding sound, and I saw a shower of electric sparks. I got us out of there fast, holding her tight as she began to stir—we were in the street, we had floated out the window, we were lying almost on top of the streetcar power lines.

From that night on I put a net over the window, but we soon stopped sleeping in the air: autumn came on quickly, with prolonged bouts of icy rain; no matter how tightly we wrapped the blanket round us, it would slip off. And then, at the end of an Indian summer that blazed up in russet warmth, one day the accursed telephone rang, and we learned that Kolenka had been arrested.

Rumors that people who could fly had begun appearing in the land arose spontaneously. The first time I heard about people flying was in a queue. They were selling off a few scrawny superannuated chickens. Two old girls, complete primitives bundled up in quilted coats, were shaking their heads and sending up balloons with some pretty strange bits of dialogue. Hearing “... and he, God forgive us, just shoots up into the sky,” I moved closer. The narrator crossed herself, while her companion, a woman with permanently clenched features, nodded monotonously. “And Manya, he’s flying like an angel! Everybody comes running, of course. The militia draw their revolvers, take aim, but he’s already higher than the Pushkin monument. But one fellow, in civvies, shoots two-fisted—and gets him! We all run to look—but he’s already gone. They carted him off, of course ... to examine him. Maybe he wasn’t one of ours. But he looked ordinary enough, I tell you Manya. Flew over people’s umbrellas. Wearing trousers. Semeonovna, from the grocery, says she even saw a hole in his boot.”

I got excited. But the rumors were coming in from all over. Predictably, the talk around town vested the flyers with the virtues of old-styled heroes. Judging from the stories, one flew into the pawnshop opposite the Procurator’s Office and before the eyes of the dumbfounded crowd carried off a hat full of gold. Of another it was told how he carried away 25,000 rubles in cash through the open window of the House of Writers on Lavrushensky. The window, they said, was on the sixth floor. The fool of a maid, they said, had opened the windows to air the place and was gabbing on the phone.

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