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Title: To Vadim Summary: The morning after - the news hadn't broken… - Write THIS Now

User: writethisnow (posted by crimenamoris)
Date: 2007-08-06 07:34
Subject: (no subject)
Security: Public
Title: To Vadim
Summary: The morning after - the news hadn't broken yet - the first of the troupe to arrive at the theater found a letter taped to the door.
A/N: At first I had this rather convoluted story about a bunch of gangsters in Monaco, but I gave up and wrote most of it in French, didn't feel like translating. I'm very proud of this one, though. It's embarrassing to admit it, but probably the first thing I've ever cried while writing.

To Vadim Vasilyevich Badeyev c/o Bolshoi Theatre
The red house on the right side of the street
About half a mile from Sverdlov Square,
when traveling in no particular direction.


To Vadim

Vadim. First words: Forgive me. Writing this to you is preposterous. I know full well that this letter will make you feel guilty, uncomfortable, and disgusted - yes, even disgusted. I know that begging for compassion like this makes me no better - and worse yet, no more bearable - than the drooling old imbeciles standing outside the whorehouses, prostrating themselves and clawing at jacket-skirts for alms.

The only dignified thing to write in these situations is "The gentlemen in question declined to comment."

By now the news has reached you, and you might look on me with a little more sympathy. Please, shoulder my burdens with the same heavy indifference as when you trudge off to work at - I'm sorry, you never did tell me what you did for a living. Judging by the looks of you, you're no longer a student. You've got the soul of a poet, sure, but you couldn't Scheherazade your way out of work with a baby coming.

Picture this: from out of the warm folds of your heart comes an old mouse, pelt tattered, and crawls shivering from cold into the breast pocket of your old worn coat. Sentimentality has gone out of style. Even the King of Dreams has knobbly grey knees sticking out beneath his gown.

I'm getting old.

You don't know it, but I spent my thirty first birthday with you. Thirty - that is, one year past twenty-nine, and one year past that, too. Where did I meet you? Sverdlov Square; night before last. You were coming out of the Bolshoi, although there wasn't a performance that night. You must be a dancer at rehearsal, or a thief. As for myself, I was standing in the gladiolas. What was a man doing traipsing around Sverdlov Square on his thiry-first birthday, alone? Precious little. As to how I got like that, let's just say I lived badly and didn't love enough in life. There's no room for the gravitas of personal histories. Tolstoy could make a doorstop out of my sins, that's for certain, but that's not in the playbook tonight.

You're surprised I remember (more or less) your address. We were drinking vodka. Not even vodka, by the time we got back to your place we were drinking cologne, and once we jimmied the door open we got into your wife's perfume. I don't know how we got from the stately and reputable Sverdlov Square to a place of drunkenness. When we got to a place of drunkenness, I'm not sure how we managed to drink, because I remember the both of us being penniless and "unarmed." Last night was totally impossible unless we got intoxicated merely by meeting one another, which is a mawkish sentiment found only in bad poetry but is nonetheless inclined to be true. I'm not trying to be clever, I'm just pointing out that it's what I believe happened, in spite of everything.

Look, I used to believe in love - I want to tell you right away that I still do believe in love - and although I loved little I did it wholly. A "loved one" brought me two grams of cocaine in a vial two nights ago. I wanted to save it for later, I thought I'd need it. But if I don't take it now I'll get tired, and if I get tired I'll give up and go to bed (this is the most fatalistic of nights), and then I'll wake up in the morning. That would destroy everything.. I know I'll wake up to some sparkling morning in which nothing can go wrong. The idea of sunlight and happiness disgusts me - no, exhausts me. Not out of malaise but of exhaustion. I no longer have the energy to be happy, and even if I slept twelve years that wouldn't change. I'm not even the least bit miserable now - instead, quite calm, I'm almost whistling, but it seems perverse to whistle in this situation, as if someone were watching me and every part of my behavior needs to fit together - but I'm tired, I'm so tired.

Now I am unscrewing the cap, now I am preparing the flat side of the toothpick, making a little funeral mound on the tip. I only need a little just now. Do you know how we do it, Vadichka? I bet you've never done it in your life. You're a good boy, Vadya. You told me that you loved your wife and had never even thought about harming her before. I believe you.

But, although I believe in love, I'm not used to . . . love. I'm used to the imagination of love. The love we think up at night. You know, even since Stalin you can still meet the worst kinds of people and do the worst kinds of things, and read the worst kinds of books about it in the worst kinds of detail, but my whole childhood and even much of my adult life I never imagined that such a thing could exist, and everything that inspired me was through imagination. Stolen bits and pieces. Appropriated. Even now in my old age nothing gets me started so much as a scene in which the protagonist thinks back to his childhood, memories of comforting a friend who was in tears over some fight by running his hands through his hair. Pedantic art books thrilled me, even those without photographs. The most erotic and awe-inspiring phrase is "idealization of the male form." I won't even go as far as St. Sebastian, but the rough strong torsos of farmers twisting their sickles in provincial paintings made me ache.

How could you ever have lain down with a man like me, you exalted boy?

I don't want to say anything about you other than that. I could go on about your hair, your eyes, your gentle manner. But after all, the world's oldest recorded poem is only one line: Oh, to touch her hand!

After that, we should have all thrown away our tablets, there was nothing more to be said. Anything else written down could only get farther from the truth.

Vadichka, this is my last chance in life for honesty. I love you. And once I'm done with this letter I'm going to kill myself.

You know, that morning, I was still in the busy part of Moscow come dawn. I saw the shadows cast by streetlamps disappear in the morning light. Clear gold was being poured over everything. Like the sunlight reaching across the valley to the far peak of the mountain, I saw things I hadn't seen before. That cold morning, I saw two young men from the conservatory leaning close to one another for warmth, buying flowers from a vendor. They were pressed close together, maybe for warmth. In their black heavy coats they looked like one entity. Their heads touched, so that the vapor in the air from their breathless, laughing conversation mingled. It's strange, but even though I have always been looking everywhere, I never would have noticed those two men without having met you. I will never forget those innocent faces. But then again, I won't have time to.

I thought that there was some other world that authors invented in their minds for romances, that people did not love in life anymore than everyday men are heroes or fools in Christ. When I fell for a classmate or a colleague from afar, although I was never sure whether or not to think of it as love, I knew I was the thief of fire. I thought that, in loving someone, I had taken something from world that wasn't mine. But, looking back on it, having met you, I see now that love is all around me. Everything has been illuminated. Love is the heart of everything.

Vadim. I want you to live a long life. I want you to never suffer again. I want you to try to love your family. I hope the baby is a girl. Tell everyone you know that when you die, someone important to you - I'll be making you lie, forgive me, forgive me - that someone important to you, someone who won't be here to see it, wants them to hold a Requiem Mass in your honor. I hope the whole city turns out in black to lift you to their shoulders and carry you through the streets. But live a long life, Vadim, live a long life. My way is not the true way. You know that. Only, don't think of me as a coward. It could not be helped.

Now it is done. I have said everything that there is to say, I have used up all the words in the universe, in every possible combination. I find myself now at the ends of the Earth. Don't show this to anyone. They'll burn it, for your reputation and for mine. I need you to keep this note, Vadim. I wanted to leave this one last proof of my existence, the only proof that I ever existed in this world. I wanted to leave this one last proof that I did love in life, that for one night I did love with all the strength in my soul. And here is my whole heart, which beats only for you. The burden is on your shoulders now.

Last words: forgive me.

- S. E. Konstantinov
better known by his pen name
Lenin Prize laureate Viktor K. Arsenyev
who wrote the acclaimed romance novel
Mothers and Daughters
and didn't mean a word of it.

[scribbled on the envelope, as if at the last minute: oh, to touch his hand!]

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User: siriusaboutsev
Date: 2007-09-23 17:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
'sup with this community, eh?
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User: crimenamoris
Date: 2007-09-23 19:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:dimitri vankerkoven
Silence! I am busy neglecting it! Do not ruin my perfect neglect! *shields it*

Ugh, I should probably get someone else to run this thing. I suck at personal responsibility Livejournal communities in general.
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User: siriusaboutsev
Date: 2007-09-30 15:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yes, you probably should 'cause I kinda liked it, even if you only did it for one week. *glare* xP
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my journal
October 2007