“When she danced in the arena I knew her heart pounded there, under the circus floor, under the heels and the ponies’ hooves, under all the sets and sawdust shavings. Nobody wanted to see her wings, but I could make out their transparent shadow…” – SEMMANT
There was only one person who understood me well: a girl four years my senior, an exotic performer in a traveling circus we met up with near Miskolc after we had to flee Budapest in a hurry. She had a large mouth and a searching glance that belied her childish features. She could curl her ears up and straighten them out on command, and the only friend she had until I came along was a toy frog that blew soap bubbles.
Her smile taught me to dream, and her hands taught me something too, though she was completely innocent – just desperately and endlessly kind. When she danced in the arena I knew her heart pounded there, under the circus floor, under the heels and the ponies’ hooves, under all the sets and sawdust shavings. Nobody wanted to see her wings, but I could make out their transparent shadow. I could even hear them flutter – and I felt sorry for her, and she came to me in full-color dreams. Later, we crossed paths more than once: the circus headed north like we had, making its way toward Warsaw, but it lingered for a long while near Tatry and then returned there again and again, as if enchanted by the beauty of the place and the scent of mountain pines on the air.
“She recognized her emerging impulses, unchecked and capable of surprising anyone, but she needed help to awaken them and set them free…” – A SIMPLE SOUL
Elizaveta Bestuzheva knew her own world quite well. It was mainly an internal rather than external matter, an easy subject for analysis, though she did her best not to indulge too much in self-contemplation. Things were occasionally confused in her mind, but the important stuff was undeniably clear: she knew she held an entire universe inside her, replete with heavenly bodies. Some of her planets were inhabited, and she could hear the voices of all the countless creatures who lived there. Sometimes, the voices tortured her; sometimes, they made her irrationally happy. They resonated in her heart with joy and anxiety, and in her body with its unique physiology, as well. To Elizaveta, hers was the best of all possible worlds.
“It continued like this for a while before she finally went away. I was left among the ruins and burnt-out slums and wandered aimlessly through them…” – THE BLACK PELICAN
A different face peeped through the makeup – one I didn’t know – and unfamiliar lips moved with the desire to hurt me as much as possible. “Do you think I was happy with you?” she asked. “You have no idea how tired I am of you and your whims. You’re like a strange place where dead ends lie at every corner and one always has to step carefully to avoid the trap… And Jules is so pleasant,” she added with a sigh, her eyes boring into me. “I just relax with him. And don’t you dare to touch my husband!” she screamed. “He’s a saint, he suffers, but he’ll never leave me. You, of course, would have already kicked me out, without a second thought…”
“It was the Russians who pushed me to the very edge – and left me there, on the edge, barely keeping my balance…” – SEMMANT
I wanted to fight the whole world, to demolish everything in my path. I drank a lot and got into drunken brawls. It became easy for me to insult anyone for no reason. Bad rumors spread about me, many of them true. I stopped getting invited to join projects, interviews, or anything else. It got to the point that it was hard to make a living. I started to give private lessons – for the sons of Arab sheikhs or the progeny of the nouveau riche from Russia. It was the Russians in particular who pushed me to the very edge – and left me there, on the edge, barely keeping my balance.
They were twins, very young girls, from faraway eastern Siberia. They didn’t like to study, but adored gin and tonics and an unabashed ménage a trois. We spent passionate hours in my Paris apartment, and they blew my mind with their identical pink asses and chiseled legs. When I was with them, I forgot about everything. It was a welcome release, as if the destructive whirlwind had lost all its strength. I just wanted this time to go on and on without end. I sensed that something dreadful was waiting beyond it, something from which there was no salvation.