All original work © 2009 - 2017 Alexey Provolotsky

28 December 2011

Demonstrations under my windows



They keep demonstrating under my windows. Draped in flags and slogans, they do something to my blood. They make it cold. So that I have to put on clothes, more clothes – every time it’s more clothes. I listen up, I take my pencil, I write it down. I don’t know why I bother, but it must be the words they shout. Each time their words are like a bite of ice-cream gushing and whooshing through my warm, comfortable, unprepared teeth. I busy myself with some odd writing. It’s good therapy. It stretches the muscles, it numbs the effect.

Every step of theirs is a step of a trespasser invading my private space. It makes my heart heavy, and I look around. My kids: are they safe? They are, beautiful and oblivious between screens and headphones, they won’t notice or hear a thing. For them, it’s all about Facebook friends, tight jeans and pop stars. The demonstration has nothing to do with them. And while we are at it, it has nothing to do with me either. Me? I just want my warmth back.

Gone are the days when you could just look out of the window sucking on an orange, watching telly or doing some abstract knitting. These days you have to pay attention. Which is annoying. When you are a teenager and something’s annoying, you are just annoyed. But when you are my age (48), and something’s annoying, you are not just annoyed: there’s also something about your lungs. About your heart. Some headache. Some kidney disorder. Something to consult your physician about. Something about your blood.

Also, this uncertainty. Win it, for God's sake. Win it, please. Win it. Or get lost.

In the meantime, I’m reduced to a sorry figure so reminiscent of an old spinsterish woman leaning against the wall, pricking up her ears and trying to discern the details of the hysterical row of the newly-weds. Still, I’m more than that: I’m writing it all down in my notebook. I’m keeping my secret diary: the slogans, the number of demonstrators, the exact date… There's no easy way to explain this, but I guess I’m not doing this for others. For once, I'm doing it for myself.

And then comes the snap, at the end of each day, when suddenly the whole thing ceases. I switch off the lights, roll down under my window-sill, and cover my eyes and ears with the palms of my hands. Outside there are screams, sounds of violence and apparently the sight of blood spurting out on the pavement and on the road. The raving hissing of cars means that the demonstration's well and truly over. 


I wish they stopped. I wish the goddamn demonstrators didn’t have to come tomorrow, for their own sake.

When it all quiets down a bit, and it does, somewhere around midnight, I start tearing off my clothes. I do that because I sincerely believe that I won't be needing them, now that another demonstration has gone astray. Deep down, there's a fear that they might arrest me – for I have this notebook full of bad letters and cold, uncomfortable words. My secret diary: something to arrest me for.

Also, even when it all quiets down to the point of total, undiluted silence, even at those rare moments: I’m not getting any warmer. I’m not. I'm just not.


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