“Men fell for her, flocking like corpulent moths to her wicked glow and silent call…” – A SIMPLE SOUL
“The desire for fire and passion quickly returned, but they proved elusive despite her cheerful disposition and energetic search. As a result, Elizaveta’s personal life was reduced to compromise and a quest to satisfy her lust. This held its own brand of passion: risky and shameless, with a sharp, musky aftertaste. Her outward detachment would give way to a surge of stormy intensity; she seemed to break free of her cage, growing unrestrained and insatiable. It had little to do with crude sensuality; the nature of these whirlwinds that tossed her about was much deeper and subtler. Elizaveta had no name for it, but with a bit of work, she could convince herself it was the energy of love.
“He wanted desperately to seize the tantalizing essence: why? The rustle and smell of the essence were somewhere here, but he knew it would not yield itself up…” – A SIMPLE SOUL
“So, what’s up? How are you?” she asked with a yawn. “Come on, speak up fast. I’m a little busy here.” In the background some smooth jazz was playing, and men’s voices could be heard. Frank felt his heart would rip out of his chest and fly into the abyss.
“Olga,” he uttered, “please, will you marry me?”
She was silent a long time, then mumbled, “Hang on,” and yelled in frustration at someone close by, “Bug off, will you! This doesn’t concern you!” Then she sighed and said tenderly and warmly, “Frankie, you’re still such a child. Go home. It’s better for you there – much, much better, trust me.”
“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.
“No matter where he was or what he did, he was tormented by thoughts of Elizaveta Bestuzheva and the fear of losing her forever…” – A SIMPLE SOUL
Her present lover she had forgotten completely. He was baffled and called daily, feeling hurt and mumbling something or other, but Elizaveta was always extremely cold to men in whom she had lost interest. They stopped existing for her, as if they had been put behind a transparent wall that repelled each and every word. She didn’t waste her energy on explanations of any kind and refused to reply to protests – not because she was heartless, but because conversations like these were intolerable torture.
“There was no future in it, nor was there any double game – making it all the more intense to feel the present…” – A SIMPLE SOUL
At about thirty-five, Kramskoy began to consider the shallow nature of his romances to be normal, and he learned to regulate their duration and frequency. And then an event occurred that suggested something more: a different perspective and a new trajectory. He met Sweet Yana, a twenty-year-old gymnast, affectionate and limber, shameless and always cheerful. She changed lovers often and gave each of them only a small part of herself, but from that part, she created the coziest little world, a most comfortable space you never wanted to leave. Her men adored her and put her on a pedestal, fawning, head over heels. And she would just purr and stretch out full length, always knowing precisely what she wanted and why.
“I realized my notions of the country where I had grown up and then left were one-sided and not quite accurate…”
Our American business developed slowly. The first few years we had neither money, nor experience, nor connections. We made many mistakes but still held out until the quantity of our efforts turned into quality. We caught a break, and quick growth followed.
We hired many new employees. They were divided into two, nearly equal, sections: an American part, engaged in marketing and sales, and the Russians, who developed our technologies. Between these two halves arose an intense, sometimes hostile, opposition.
“The customs officer, young and impudent, carelessly set to rummaging in my bag. Suddenly he lighted upon something, and his eyes twinkled…”
The Yeltsin-Gaidar economic reform, which impoverished the entire Russian nation and created a small group of super-rich oligarchs, began in January 1992. I was working then at the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Right after New Year’s vacation we were told that financing for the Academy had been cut off. All academic institutes were advised to survive on their own. Thus began the collapse of the fundamental science system of the former USSR – created many decades prior and considered one of the strongest in the world.
“They were called ‘observers’ or else ‘outsiders.’ They were alone in a world used to monotony, and they accepted loneliness with heads held high, conscious of its implacable nature…” – A SIMPLE SOUL
It is senseless to again aspire to what, of its own accord, had long ago ceased to make sense, he told himself, accepting as a postulate that free flight was unavoidable. He needed only to carefully calculate a trajectory – to move not in a straight line further and further and further, but rather in a more intricate way: sliding away and returning, waltzing and spinning, gliding on one skate and tracing out figure-eights. He would have to be clever and maneuver among the human masses without being carried away like a comet but allowing for only those interactions which he needed himself.