Читать онлайн «Force Majeure»
– Well, I think, could person who has everything: both family and wealth, sacrifice his people for personal goals? These are unhappy and malignant people who avenge the whole world for childish insults, – I spoke out.
The students were in shock. At first, everyone fall silent, bewildered, and then they laughed at me. Everything was like in slow motion, at the same time my heart sped up. With every particle of my body I felt my nothingness and watched as they making a ‘cuckoo’ sign and laughed, saying “damn loony”, “stupid”. Unable to withstand the pressure, I wanted to escape, but I didn’t feel my legs. Nevertheless, overcoming myself, I slowly headed towards the door. And finally, outside the classroom, I tried to run in any direction. Time gradually began to come to its usual rhythm. It turned out that all this lasted for several minutes, though it seemed to me that it’s been ages. The teacher ran out after me. But I ran so fast that she could not keep pace with me. Finding a hideaway, I hid under the stairs. I burst out crying with shame and injustice. I heard teacher somewhere far away: “Damir! Wait! Do not run away!” I decided to never leave this place, so that no one would ever laugh at me. But after five minutes, Ms. Swan found me.
– Oh, here you are! Gotcha! Nobody could run away from me yet! – She tried to make me laugh. But I was in the depth of despair.
– Well, okay, they didn’t know what they were saying. Damir, come, – she kept saying, carefully pulling me out from under the stairs.
– No, I will never leave this place again! – I jerked back my hand.
– All right, so may I sit down next to you? – she asked.
– I don’t care, – I turned away.
– You know, I agree with you, – she squatted down beside me.
– What are you talking about? – I was puzzled.
– I mean that each of them was unhappy in his own way. For example, Genghis Khan, as a child, saw his father killed – she carried on the conversation as usual.
– Yes, I know, – I replied to the teacher.
– See how smart you are. And Napoleon? – asked Ms. Swan.
– He was a short man, – I told her.
– Right! Therefore, in order to show to the world that he is worth something, he started the war. While this is a rough allegory, at the moment it is not the point. And now do you believe what classmates said about you? Fine, show me at least one who knows the same thing as you! – she was gently touching my face and wiping tears away. Oh god, my heart messed a bit. She looked into my eyes so soulfully and then hugged me. At that moment, my heart began to pound, my breath was quick and I felt strong affection to this woman. Yes, I was head over heels in love! Finally, she persuaded me to return to class. When we went into the classroom with her, everyone was whooping it up, but after seeing my tear-stained face, they quietened down.
– Guys, I am very dissatisfied with you, – Ms. Ida Swan sternly: – Is it right thing to do it this way? This is your classmate, you spend the whole day together, he is kind of your family member, and you do not even let him express his opinion. I loved your class more than anyone else, and you get in wrong with me. Now, ask Damir for forgiveness!
Only some of the students dryly pronounced: “sorry”, “pardon”.
– I told everyone to ask for forgiveness, – the teacher raised her voice. I looked at her, like “it’s not necessary, enough,” she said out loud: “How long should I wait?”
– Forgive Damir, – the class answered in one voice.
– Ok, Damir, now go to your desk. And if I find out that you are laughing at him, you won’t find it funny – everyone glanced at each other and nodded. But then the bell rang and everyone ran out of the classroom. And I slowly headed for my desk; I already didn’t give a damn about my classmates. My thoughts were occupied only by her. After this incident, I began to run after her, even though there was a difference of eight years between us. I brought sweets and stealthily left them on the table. She always asked who it could be, but I did not dare to confess and only silently watched her joyful face.
Moreover, I tried to separate out: on her lesson I wear old fatherly perfume and put a tie on. Every night before going bed I looked at her picture and wished her good night. I hid it under the pillow so that no one could see it, and I do not care that there were thirty-three more faces on it. It was a photo of the whole class, where I cross out the faces of all but her. Even my face was crossed out, since I did not want to have a single mention of studying in this class.
Each lesson of Ms. Ida Swan was worth its weight in gold. She was the only person with whom I was at ease. Ms. Swan and I talked on various topics, and only she accepted me as an equal. She differed from other teachers: she always listened carefully to me, allowed me to speculate freely, analyze different situations and express my point of view. This concerned not only history, but absolutely any topics.
But after a couple of years, she silently quit, not telling anyone, the whole class was shocked. We were all very attached to her, so we were extremely puzzled by her decision to quit. We all tried to get any information from other teachers: about where she is and what’s wrong with her; but no matter how hard we tried, no one said anything. And I was heartbroken. “After all, she didn’t even say goodbye to us… to me… and didn’t even tell about her future plans. And besides, about the decision to leave. My loved one left me again”. I almost stopped eating, slept only for couple of hours a day, and even more get into shell. Mom noticed the changes and could not understand what was happening to me. She tried many times to get out what was happening to me, but all her attempts were in vain – I was unswayed. In the end, she referred to my difficult age and decided to leave me alone.
Virtuality and reality
Finally, I reached the final stage of graduation, I so happy, because I no longer have to see the faces of these teasers. For passed time, I almost did not change in appearance: I just got a little higher, gained weight, grew hair and stubbles, and with a (blurred) vision, I changed my glasses to new one with thicker lenses. The last thing left to no longer be considered a schoolboy – was the UNT (United National Test), aimed for enrolling at the university. I wanted to quickly be through and finally finish school. The teachers and some parents of my classmates terrified us by the exam, saying that in case of failure, we would stay on the street and never get a job, and actually we would not be full-fledged people. Therefore, all graduates gave it a vital meaning and were crazily worried. But I was confident in my knowledge and as a result I got “B”.
And, after all, I was able to relax, because my favorite time of the year had come – summer! Not because it is the season of trips abroad or guitar songs in the yard with friends, but only because I could play all day. Mom also promised me, if I pass the exam well, she will allow me to play as much as I want. I completely was lost in online games. And finally, absolutely no one and nothing bothered me. Putting on the headphones, I was fully absorbed in Counter Strike. Sometimes, with tightly closed windows, I even lost a sense of time. One of these days, I felt some anxiety, something was wrong. At first, I suppressed this feeling in myself, I thought: “what can happen, everything is fine”. But each time this feeling swallowed me up more and more, after a while, it finally hit me…
– Mama! Oh, God… Mom!!! Where is she?! – I cried out with horror, having run around the whole apartment in search of her: – So, calm down… Maybe I’m just overthinking?! She probably works long hours as always… But I’m sure that I haven’t seen her lately – I was panicked. I brokenly began to phone her. A female voice said coldly: “The number you are trying to reach is not available. The phone number is switched off or out of the range. Please call back later”. Not believing, I called back, but the situation has not changed. The answering machine stubbornly did not understand that I urgently needed to find her and that something could happen to her. I called again, but the auto answer stubbornly repeated the same phrase. Then it hit me, her mobile phone could simply have been discharged. And she, probably, is in the office, instantly I looked at the time on the computer screen. “20.23, ugh, exactly she is at work”. At that moment I began to phone to the office.
Finally, instead of answering machine, I heard beeps. For a long time no one answer the phone, but I was persistent and did not intend to give up. And finally a miracle happened, a woman’s voice answered:
– Hello, can I hear Assiya Lee? – I asked.
– Hello, and who asks her? – asked a woman on the other side of the wire.
– Hello. This is her son, Damir, – I answered impatiently.
– Ah, is that you?! Wait… your mom isn’t at work, isn’t she at home? Why is she not contacting us? Do not answer the mobile phone? – she began to ask me around.
– I don’t know, I thought she was still in the office, – I answered with confusion.
– Three days? Are you kidding?! – the woman replied with a grin.
I immediately hung up, well what could I answer. Besides, thoughts were about something else. “Mommy! Where is she?! God, oh God… I am an idiot… Brainless… What now to do? What to do?” Everything shrank in my chest, so that it was difficult to breathe. I was shaking and I wanted to hide from the whole world. “Mom, where are you?” – was forefronted in my mind. At first I wandered around the house from thoughts that tormented me, and then I sat on a pouf in the corridor, thinking what to do next. I sat there for a very long time, staring straight before me. At that moment, I thought about everything and already gradually began to lose my mind. After sitting in this position for a long time, I did not notice how mid-night came.
Finally, the mind cleared up a bit and I began to think rationally: “What to do? So what am I doing when something is not clear? I ask Granny what to do. Exactly, Granny! So, hey, she and grandpa seem to be at a resort abroad. Damn… what now? Whom should I call?? Who else is left… well, he… father. Should I call him?! Though there’s no alternative”.
Immediately my last conversation with my father came up in my head: “Son, if one day, at any time of the day, you will need me, call me and I come”. This was exactly the case. With trembling hands I dialed my father’s number. Inhale – exhale, inhale – exhale… long beeps… the usual redoubted voice answered on the other end:
– I asked you not to call so late! All business – tomorrow! – father said tartly.
– Da-daddy, it’s me, – I said quietly and uncertainly.
– Sonny? D… Damir… is that you? – father asked half-whispered.
– Yes, I need you! – I said hopefully.
– You have no idea how I wanted to hear it from you, – the father remarked happily, but then his tone changed: – Did something happen?
– Dad! Mom’s lost! I do not know what to do, it is already the third day she is not to be found: neither at home nor at work! What to do?! – I desperately asked him.
– Assiya? This is not like her. Did you call the hospitals? Did you file missing person report? – he asked anxiously, saying in a whisper: – I hope it is not too late.
– Late? Dad! What are you talking about? No, I haven’t called anywhere yet. Come, I need you more than ever! – I shouted into the phone.
– Son, I will fly out to you with the first flight. I’ll immediately let you know as I arrive. Take it easy. Surely everything is fine with her, – my father reassured me: – Until then, before my arrival, call the hospitals and file missing person report, – my father gave me instructions in a cold and reasonable tone.
– But dad! You know! I can’t talk to anyone except my relatives! – I confessed to my father about my problem.
– Sonny, at least we will start the search. I will be there soon. I believe in you, – the father tried to inspire me.
– Okay, I’ll try, – I whispered, feeling bad.
After talking with my father, I sat for a very long time. As well squeezing the phone and realizing that here it is – the reality. The loud tick of the clock, the strong wind sneaking into the room, accompanied my terrifying thoughts. Thoughts… they just tore me from the inside. I probably thought about everything in the world. How I paid no regard for her, pushed her away and even was rude to her… to person who, even after all the insults and quarrels, continued to love me. “She did for me so much, and I… I have no forgiveness”. Gathering my wits, I realized that it was time to do something. When I sat down at the computer, I, with shaking fingers, tapped at a keyboard “directory of hospitals of Almaty”. Finding all the numbers, I took the phone in my hands, took a deep breath and started dialing the first number…
– City Hospital No. 1, – said the woman on the other end of the line.
– Uh… hello? – I zoned out for a while.
– Speak?! – she said with a claim voice.
– My… my mother… she… uh… – I was lost even more.
– Did your mother be admitted to our hospital? – she asked, changing her anger for understanding.
– Yes, – I said with relief.
– Last name and first name? – continued the woman.
– Assiya Lee, – I said.
– Well… wait a minute, – the woman said slowly, I heard how she began to turn over the pages in search of the desired surname: – No, she wasn’t brought to us.
Without answering, I silently hung up. Two opposing feelings were fighting in me: relief, because the conversation was over and a heavy feeling that my mother was not there. So I spend all night, without stopping calling all the hospitals. I prayed the God only about one thing: let everything be fine with her, wherever she is now. But after the next telephone conversation, more and more terrible thoughts came. Desperation devoured me completely. Even though I was always lonely, for the first time I felt that I was left alone with fear… and repeated again and again: “God, please, let everything be fine with mom… I promise I will never ask you again about anything”.
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