open a book and set spring free

19 Jan

Alyonka lay on the rocks, her high-cheekboned face turned toward the sun. Her eyes were closed against the burning rays, and the air looked pink through her lowered eyelids. At first the color was translucent, but then it thickened and became crimson, pouring over the upturned palms of her hands and flooding over her whole body, from her feet to the crown of her head. The top of her head felt pleasantly heavy. But when the heaviness stopped being pleasant and started to become painful, Alyortka stood up and walked into the sea. “How clean you are,” she whispered, sliding her feet across a pebble darkened by the water. Alyonka was small and supple, her body was evenly tanned, a golden color. And where the water touched her skin she looked even darker. Alyonka scooped up a handful of sea, and the lines on her hand showed up clearly through the water. The reflection of the sun was a glinting half moon in the cupped handful of water; the pink thread of Alyonka’s lifeline trembled.

In the winter Alyonka spent her time peacefully, looking out of the window watching the snow falling on the sea, and the raging December storms. Sometimes, instead of snow there was pouring rain, forming rings on the water. But when spring came she knew that the winter melancholy would pass, and a strange power would awaken in her, making her want to sob and run, no matter where, and then even running wasn’t enough, she wanted to fly high above the earth, higher than the angels, and then . . .

Yekaterina Sadur, Kozlov’s Nights, Translated by Rachel Osorio, in Present Imperfect: Stories by Russian Women, 1996

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Posted by on January 19, 2010 in povesti


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