A miraculous story that took place in Venice – the Italian city wearable for legends.

Winter was in decline. Her more fortunate rival – Spring- was approaching, and this was felt both in the gentle gusts of wind, strengthening the smell of the Grand Canal waters; and in the first heat of sunlight; and in the excited cooing of pigeons; and in the slightly lighter clothes and in a slightly more relaxed pace of the walking of the street passers-by.    

Merchants occupying Piazza Rialto, rejoiced at clear weather, promising good demand, and discussed the latest things of their households and neighbors. They were looking forward to the imminent arrival of the next boat with foreigners eager for Venetian beauties and trinkets.    

The flow of people was moving between the market stalls, throwing out from time to time the next buyer – a connoisseur or a collector, or an idle onlooker, stopping at one or another stand that had goods.    

A young girl, dressed safe but tasteful, who could be mistaken for a student in later times,  slowed down hesitantly to stop near the stand with carnival masks. The girl started looking at the leather products in confusion, so embarrassed of her interest, as if choosing accessories to emphasize the shape of her female body. The blush of embarrassment made the young Venetian even more beautiful, and the owner of the goods could not help but admire her slender figure, glancing over it with pleasure.    

The perky merchant started praising his goods in his usual manner, picking up one mask or another and turning it in different ways before the eyes of the girl. He tapped the mask with his fingers, demonstrating the wonderful properties of the leather treated with a special composition, and telling some special story. Repeating the masks were made in the best workshop of Venice according to the secrets of the old masters, the owner of this excellent product invited the seignorite to try on a particular model.    

The girl whose name was Lucia listened to him, smiling absent-mindedly at her thoughts.   

Every year, starting from the exciting time of growing up, she waited with special trembling for the beginning of the carnival week. The same thing was repeated this spring, although this particular year had some peculiarities.    

It happened that dramatic changes occurred in the life of Lucia over the last year: Lucia found her love. That is why, from now on, everything her glance falls on reminds her of Marco and is connected to him through invisible threads. Everything that Lucia sees before herself should serve for her love for Marco. When meeting with Marco, Lucia tells him all the most interesting things she learned or saw, and his smile and approval serves as a reward for her. Lucia belongs to the kind of women who want to feel on a par with men in everything. Marco is pretty well-educated, and therefore she has to make a lot of efforts to keep him interested. Most in the world Lucia is afraid of boring him. Truth be told, she would like to share every minute of her life with him. She would like him to be always with her, but this is not yet possible. However, that is precisely the kind of changes occurred to Marco recently that make Lucia particularly sad…    

At the carnival, Lucia will charm Marco, she only needs to choose the right mask for this. Lucia looked from the graceful feminine masks of Columbine to grotesque masks with hooked noses. And she averted her eyes in a fright from the huge beak on the Plague Doctor mask.    

Perhaps she should choose something extravagant since only these kinds of things Marco might like. Wearing such as a mask and costume, Lucia will be emboldened and will forget happily about all the conventions.  Lucia thought longingly about those ancient times when the Venetians put on masks whenever they did not want to be recognized.    

Suddenly Lucia remembered her friend Bianca’s words. She told she saw masks with special holes in order to ensure possibility for kissing. So maybe Lucia should make love with Marco right in the mask… These thoughts made Lucia blush with shame. She immediately felt the secret longing in her lower abdomen, and this was not surprising since Lucia was extremely sensual, that was unmistakably felt by some men, making her even more embarrassed.    

“Hey, Senorita! Are you going to buy anything? ” Although it was nice for a merchant to stare at a pretty girl, but trade is trade. In addition, he understood that such a girl was too tough for him.  

“Thank you, senior. I will definitely buy a mask from you, but I will do it another time”.  

“You should hurry up, because soon I will have nothing left! ”   

Lucia started walking along the promenade.    

Recently, Marco has become distant, cut himself off from Lucia. In earlier times, he had always met her with joyful excitement, but now it seemed to her that her visits only annoyed him. He had acquired the habit of locking himself for a long time in his cabinet, where she was not allowed to enter. Lucia feels strange smells coming from the cabinet, and uneducated people would call theese strange smells devilish. Sometimes Lucia finds incomprehensible allegorical drawings in his house, that look most like medieval miniatures. These drawings depict female and male figures in magnificent ancient clothes, standing in unnatural poses with obscure objects in their hands.    

Whenever Lucia tells Marco he has changed, he replies he has always been like this, but she just did not want to notice it. Sometimes it occurred to Lucia she had caused only a temporary flash of feelings in Marco, one moment of madness, and now his life is returning to normal, and there is no place for her – Lucia – in his life anymore.    

“Do you have another woman?” One day Lucia could not stand it and asked a straight question.    

Marco was off his face in response. He throwed an absent-minded sight on her and went into his head. Some conflicting feelings seemed to catch up with him. Lucia already regretted asking this question since she was too afraid to hear the truth. Her temples throbbed anxiously, and the time seemed to stop. The girl wanted to run away, just not to hear the insulting truth.    

After all, if the word is spoken, it means that there is no return back to ignorance.    

Having hardly found the strength to look up at Marco, Lucia was amazed: he was twisting into convulsions of laughter now.    

“Oh, yes … I really have a woman. This is such a special woman … “

Lucia was supposed to be upset, but Marco laughed so contagiously that she barely kept from smiling. Therefore, the girl only frowned dramatically, getting the severe look on her face – in her opinion, that was the proper way to listen to such a confession.    – “Lucia, don”t be jealous … I assure you she is terribly old…”

The smile disappeared from Marco’s face, and watching him, Lucia even went cold with fear – strong passions appeared on his face too sharply. It turns out that she does not know him – her lover – at all! Marco stood up abruptly from his chair and began pacing around the room, with his hands in the pockets of his silk robe. 

“Do you know what they usually say about her? She has deceived and deprived the strength and life of all those who were fascinated by her. And she has left nothing in return, although she was given everything.”

 Lucia got angry. Yet he can tell her about some promiscuous woman. Which, moreover, is much older than him. Of course, she – young and inexperienced Lucia – cannot compete with such a rival. Not for nothing that Bianca told her that men are used to chase after frivolous women being not squeamish about middle-aged harlots.    

And then Lucia had a sudden shock of recognition. “Tell me one thing: is she rich?”

 Her thoughts were mixed up. She almost asked: is she the one who givies you expensive old manuscripts?    

Marco, who was drinking wine from a glass at that time, started coughing, as if having choked on something.    

“You guessed it: she really can make me incredibly rich. And even more…she really can do my life gold”, and Marco laughed a strange laugh, again turning into a cough.    

Overwhelmed by strong feelings, Marco looked at Lucia, and his passion changed direction: he wanted to take possession of the girl. But Lucia, too excited about everything that happened, did not find anything better than to run out of the apartment…    

At first, Lucia could not understand why her eyes rested on an unremarkable market stall. The table was littered with various books in covers with big names. A good half of the books were devoted to Casanova”s adventures, and the second – to the description of incredible stories that happened to Marco Polo. When looking at the word “Marco” repeated on the covers of books, Lucia experienced a mixture of sweet pain and delight – this was another thread invisibly connecting her with her lover.  

Of course, it was no wonder to meet such a name in the city, which is patronized by St. Mark.    However, Lucia did not look at the book cover about the Venetian traveler. Instead, she looked at the colored miniature that she had previously seen at Marco’s house: two horsemen were fighting each other hiding behind shields. A knight with a sun instead of a head sat on a white lion, and his rival was a naked woman with a head in the form of a moon disk.  

“Сan I get you anything?” the unpleasant croaking voice of the old merchant came on. and Lucia looked up at him.    

Later she tried to remember what she felt at that moment. An incredible force coming from the merchant was so palpable that there was no way to resist it. Lucia recalled that gypsies have a similar strength of attraction. Mindful of the stories about this kind of people, she got scared. She was afraid she would be forced to buy something irrelevant or might have lost the contents of her wallet.   

 Meanwhile, leaning towards her, the merchant whispered in her ear, “I know what you need: you were interested in this funny picture, and you could not pass by”.  

In response, Lucia could not bring herself to say anything.    

In the meantime, the old man continued,  “You come with me, and I will show you a lot of the stuff like this”.   

Having appeared like that out of the ground, an enigmatic tall man in a leather vest came up near them.  

“Thanks for replacing me, Giacomo. Now I’m already back”, he said addressing the old man, casually glancing at the girl and coming to the stand with books. “I see you are not wasting your time here”, he grinned good-naturedly and then added something else in foreign tongue that was unfamiliar to Lucia. The two men laughed.    

If Lucia were not affected by a kind of Giacomo magnetism, then she would immediately blush, and perhaps she even would have tried to run away. But a certain magnetic force held her near Giacomo. She had no reason to fear him; and at the same time, the old man could shed some light on Marco’s strange passions, she reasoned.    

“Let’s go soon to my place, otherwise the my liquid gold will wear off and you will change your mind,” Giacomo muttered with anxiety.   

Lucia was amazed and decided to remember the unusual phrase.    

After taking a few steps, the old man stopped near a column crowned with a bronze statue of a winged lion.  

“You should look here, and then your beautiful legs will not get tired of the long journey”, he pointed to the statue of a strong animal, resting on an open book with his paw …  Looking at the sculpture, Lucia felt that her legs gave way. And the next second, she was already looking at a completely different lion – this time it was a wooden lion covered in cracked paint. This lion adorned one of the huge gondolas that was standing by the pier.    

The girl looked around and gasped: they turned out to be near the Arsenal on the very edge of the city. Giacomo led her straight to an abandoned house.   

 Upon hearing the noise, a sleepy owner of the house in a nightcap walked out to them.   

 “You are hanging around again, as you always do”, he grumbled and wandered back to one of the unlit rooms. One could hear him flopping onto the bed and sniffling right away.  

“One day I tried my liquid gold on him in a hurry. Most likely, I made a mistake in the proportions. As a result the poor man doesn’t know the difference between night and day, but he no longer requires me to pay for housing”, Giacomo explained smugly as they climbed up the stairs eaten of worms.    

They ended up in the cabinet. Lucia seemed to find herself in a time a few centuries ago. The cabinet was filled with utensils for chemical reactions, scales, globes, hourglass, littered with ancient books.    

On the wall, Lucia saw portraits of pundits against still the same globes, compasses and books. Lucia imagined their faces looked a lot like Giacomo’s face.    

In one of the paintings, three figures were depicted. Dressed in clothes of the last century, these gentlemen heated chemical vessels on fire, carefully observing the result. Lucia knew the artist’s brush – it was her beloved Pietro Longa.   

 “Why am I here?” Lucia thought in a flash from time to time. “I came here for Marco’s benefit”, she answered herself.   

 Giacomo sat the girl down in an easy chair and brought her a cup filled with some kind of liquid. Forged out of the precautions, hungry and extremely excited, Lucia immediately tasted the drink. She immediately felt calm.    

Meanwhile, Giacomo took off his raincoat, put on a bathrobe and sat opposite the girl in such a way as to be able to sneak a look at her. He filled the tube with some kind of powder and took a puff. Lucia felt a pinching in her eyes due to acrid smoke.   

 “One more girl who was traded away for such a picture,” the old man breathed a sigh sadly, nodding at a miniature with a picture of a snake devouring its own tail. 

“How is that possible? What do you mean?” Lucia almost got violent. Most of all she was offended by the words that she was not the only one girl who found herself in such a situation.

“Be patient, and I’ll explain everything to you,” said Giacomo, blowing smoke puffs. “By the way, here you are, if you want, they are almost as old as me, but over time they do not dry up, but only become tastier. And the local worm doesn”t eat them”, he picked up a plate of pine nuts from somewhere off the floor and put it on the table in front of Lucia.    

“I have been living in the world for a long time – usually people don”t live for such a long time. Therefore, I am reasoning about high matters rational and cynically. In addition, liquid gold also helps me in this – it gives clarity to the mind and… hardness to my members, – with these last words  Giacomo grinned and moved a little closer to Lucia. 

“Tell me, finally, about all these pictures and about liquid gold”, Lucia asked almost plaintively. It was high time for her to think about whether it was too late already and how she would get home, but at first she certainly wanted to know about the mysterious life of her lover.   

Soon her curiosity was rewarded. She learned, for example, that the figures she had seen in miniature in Marco”s apartment meant mercury and sulfur – masculine and feminine. These substances are entering into marriage, while creating a cherished alchemical elixir.    

Giacomo brought Lucia towards the retort and explained that the healing of metals occurs there and as a result, the metals are cured of spoilage and turning into gold.    

Lucia seemed to doze off, and when she woke up, she found herself lying in bed. 

” I’ve covered you with a rug because you were trembling”, she heard Giacomo’s voice from the next room.    

From that day on, Lucia’s life changed. Now, coming to Marco, she was knowledgeably interested in his successes in alchemy. Marco was surprised by the awareness of his passionate girlfriend in an enjoyable way. They had a pretty heated discussion about his last steps in mixing and evaporating substances. Usually after these alchemical conversations, Marco became so excited that the lovers ended up in bed. Lucia was overjoyed about this.    

But at the same time, Lucia could not do without Giacomo: she needed to come up with some new topics for conversations with Marco. She has already realized her lover appreciates her precisely for her deep knowledge in alchemy.    

Each time she wanted to visit old Giacomo, she stopped near one of the city”s many winged lions, narrowed her eyes and soon she found herself near the abandoned house.    

Lucia was so full of love these days that she was ready to caress even the old Giacomo. And he invariably poured some sort of drink for her and told her his tales about red and green lions and the black dragon. After drinking, Lucia forgot herself, and then she found herself under a rug in a warm bed.    

Having learned a little to disassemble the alchemical allegories in engravings and miniatures, Lucia experienced disappointment and emptiness. The alchemical structure of the world could not be understood with the help of conventional logic. These pictures with an abundance of characters, colored by the perverted imagination of artists, frightened the girl. For that matter, she was much more attracted to grimaces and elaborate mask poses in the carnival crowd.    

On the first day of the carnival, Lucia went to a coffee shop to have a chat with Bianca.  

“So did you managed to persuade Marco to go with you to the carnival?” Bianca asked her.    

Lucia did not know what to answer. In truth, Marco flatly refused to leave the house, especially on such an insignificant occasion as the carnival. 

 “I hope he will come … He is so extravagant and loves to surprise me”, Lucia said with a slightly fake intonation. ” Perhaps he will come to make a surprise for me.”    

In response, Bianca just shook her head thoughtfully.    

At that very moment, the girls heard the sounds of a passing carnival procession and ran out into the street. Wearing masks of colombines, they merged with the crowd in the dance of spring and love. Soon Lucia was carried away by a gentleman dressed as a Harlequin.He was about the size of Marco, and Lucia perked up.   

 Having heard the cry of Bianca, Lucia turned around and immediately lost sight of her Harlequin. “Where is he now and with whom?” – she thought longingly. Her mood darkened so much that she barely got out of the crowd and wandered house.   

The day came when Lucia realized a kind of new life was growing inside her.    

This day began unusually since the carrier pigeon came in through the window of her room.    

Lucia immediately remembered the paper dove Colombine,that has been launched from the bell tower every year at the beginning of the carnival. All the previous years, Lucia always was standing in the main square of the city. in a crowd of onlookers and was watching passionately the rain of confetti scattering. But this year she missed the show. After thinking about it, she got upset.   

On the foot of the carrier pigeon, Lucia found a note from Giacomo. He asked her to come earlier today, as he would be very busy in the evening and would not be able to tell her about alchemy.    

Having cleaned herself up and having breakfast, Lucia was magically transported to Giacomo in the usual manner.   

 She found him standing facing the window. Without even turning to her, he said, “Today you will know important news. Very important news … The divine spirit has generated the novel substance”.    

He put on his hat and left the room without even glancing at Lucia.  

In amazement, Lucia remained standing in the middle of the cabinet, frozen. When she came to her senses, she looked around and took mechanically several sheets of paper from Giacomo’s table, intending to show it to Marco.    

However, it was still too early to go to Marco since he did not like her bothering him during the day time, therefore Lucia wandered the streets of the city, thinking about the matter common to every woman. She wondered if it was time for her period to come. The number of days while her underwear was spotless suddenly seemed incredibly large to her. She counted again, but there could be no mistake. The girl immediately recalled with concern all the cases of her recent feeling sick, and realized a new life was born inside her.    

Lucia could not understand whether to laugh or cry. She was overwhelmed with сomplex feelings. Of course, it had to happen sooner or later since although Marco was an amazing lover in her inexperienced view, and he always took responsibility for preservation, but sometimes he could be misfiring.    

At the same time, she could not imagine what would happen to her next and how her life would change. Her heart was sinking anxiously at the thought of this uncertainty.    

This important conversation with Marco Lucia decided to start obliquely. To begin with, she handed him coquettishly the sheets of paper from Giacomo’s desk. Marco grabbed them greedily, but soon, to her surprise, he became furious:    “What are you giving me? What is it? ”   

“But do you not see? These are formulas and notes”, Lucia answered in confusion.    –

“Thank God, I know German and I can always tell it’s great Paracelsus by the manner he writes. And here, on this lousy little piece of paper, the words of Paracelsus are copied. By the way, I have already read them once before. He writes about growing homunculus. You should read this: he suggests placing sperm in horse dung… Rest assured, I can find a better application for my semen”,  he said between gritted teeth.    

Lucia tried to approach him, but he seemed not to notice this, continuing his speeches.    

“Why do I need a homunculus? If you must know, I do not share these crazy ideas. I only need to learn how to get gold. I have a very mundane nature, as you might understand”. 

 “But listen to me, it’s not my fault… I don”t even know what this homunculus is”, Lucia babbled helplessly.    

“This is a being born in a test tube … Think about it: why would I need him? What can I do with him? Unless I can sell him to the carnival jesters … ”  

 “But a new life is something so amazing anyway! ”   

“Remember: I only need gold. And… you know what … Don”t come to me anymore”, Marco said , trying not to look at her.    

The cabinet door was shut.   

 Lucia wanted to share her pain only with Giacomo. Bianca was not fit to be a listener, since having being talking to Bianca, Lucia was always eager to show Marco is loving her madly. Therefore, now she did not want to look like a loser in the eyes of her friend.   

 Finding herself in front of Giacomo”s house, she first took notice on the door sign. It said “Giacomo Girolamo Casanova”. “That’s amazing”, – she had an idea, as she was sure this door sign was not there before.    

Lucia knocked for a long time for someone to open the door. Finally the sleepy owner of the house appeared.    

“The gentleman from upstairs has left and will never return,” he mumbled and bolted the door.    

Being stunned, Lucia thought about the vicissitudes of fate.   

 Now a child lives inside her. Lucia did not know for sure whose child this was.    

Giacomo loved her as she was. And Marco loved only alchemy. Therefore, his child could only be a homunculus – an artificial being from a test tube.    

On reflection, Lucia decided that the baby might be from Giacomo.   

 “Only carnival voluptuousness is able to cure melancholy”, Lucia thought.

Having thrown off fatigue, she ran toward the carnival crowd.  Lucia was sure

Harlequin would appear near her very soon.    Harlequin, indeed, was not slow to come. This time, Lucia saw her companion was not like Marco at all.  

He took Lucia’s hand ceremoniously and began to drag her somewhere through the crowd. Everyone stepped aside to let them pass. They ended up in a space with seats – Lucia did not even think earlier that such seats were provided for someone at the carnival. Lucia was seated in the most central box, and Harlequin sat next to her. All the eyes were fixed on them. Everyone Lucia saw now looked not like the diverse crowd of carnival, but like people in the court suite clothes.    

Wonderful music sounded, and Lucia realized it is here and now that the most important event in the entire history of the world is taking place. A whole procession, moving slowly in a trance, brought a huge picture depicting a golden baby to the stage. All those present except Harlequin servilely prostrated themselves, muttering phrases in an incomprehensible language.    

Taking his bows, a man in a page robe approached Lucia and handed the precious crown to her servilely, lying on the velvet pillow. Lucia acted on a hunch. Under the encouraging smile of Harlequin, she put on this unusual headdress. The pair crown was handed to Harlequin.    

Harlequin again took Lucia’s hand with respectful trepidation, and they went to the center of the platform. The solemn music started, and Lucia was amazed to see a certain glow around her and Harlequin. 

Several perky artists, having made their way to the stage with the help of elbows, hastily painted everything they saw to sell such drawings for big money after that. The images depicted in these drawings looked exactly like the Alchemical wedding. Lucia realized she had become the Queen and Harlequin had become the King.    

… However, Lucia could not say for sure whether it all really happened or all these pictures just flashed before her mind when she stumbled during a carnival dance and lost consciousness for a while.


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Tango on the plane

I was walking along the streets and felt the breath of the city. I was grasping the hasty unconscious movements with which people maximized the transparent revolving doors, opened umbrellas anxiously and pressed the telephone handsets to their ears. The noise of rushing cars, snatches of laughter and telephone conversations, polyphony of tunes escaping from music stalls – all this was knit together into a single continuous background – the live voice of the street.    

The wind was ruffling the umbrellas of street cafes. Visitors, intending to buy a few happy moments, clung to plastic chairs and clutched their plastic glasses tightly.    

I was walking along a busy avenue. Here and there the cylinders of buildings dotted with advertising signs rose into the sky.   

 I had not to worry about money – I had plenty of it.  

Lunchtime was near. In the first bistro I saw I ordered coffee and laid the newspaper out on the table. I had little interest in the news, but the cup of coffee next to the newspaper looked particularly good. I was imagining myself as an artist from Montmantre.  

  … Sometimes we have a kind of hunch that something is about to happen. I experienced something similar at that moment. I felt a sudden need to see who, ironically, ended up in a bistro next to me now… For example, I’ve always thought that destiny brings passengers together into the subway at an odd hour not coincidentally, and that if you dig a little then it will be possible to discover some kind of connection between all these people… In other words, I instinctively started examining the bistro visitors.  

The girl and the guy in love, with lowered eyes, were sitting unhappily at a table against each other, not moving, as if they were about to be separated forever. Two guys, anticipating the pleasure of the meal, were putting all sorts of things from a salad bar to their plates, demonstrating their remarkable appetite …  

Suddenly, some female face appeared to be vaguely familiar to me. I seemed to have already seen these facial features, and moreover, I even seemed to have been carefully examining them once, trying to capture them in my memory. I remembered this face expression – an imaginary disappointment and a dreamy grin.    

Our eyes met. . She looked away immediately, as the girl was supposed to react in such cases … But we both knew: by the immutable law of fate, we would be together. I would have not be surprised if she admitted to me she had already seen my face somewhere.    

We got acquainted. Soon I realized she was looking for intimacy with me.    

She worked as a laboratory assistant in one of the companies nearby. Her firm was engaged in the development of plastic manufacturing technologies. 

Later, I found out that employees of firms whose offices were located in the nearby high-rises used to come to dinner at the bistro. And therefore, if I were planning to meet with one of the local clerks, it would be simple to do it just here, at the bistro, during the lunch break.    

And then … I entirely blended in with the city: for hours I was sitting on the windowsill, smoking and looking at the people flickering along the avenue. When evening came, I used to go to meet her.    

All this time it never occurred to me to call or write to someone from my previous life.  

Sometimes the name ‘Juan’ popped up in my brain, as if flashing rhythmically on the screen. Juan is my old friend and colleague. I remembered our regular sit-downs together with him in some bar, perhaps in a completely different part of the globe. It was there that I had a place, that looked like two drops of water similar to this hotel room, but called “home”.  

I recalled our friendly outpourings over a beer, telling each other stories from our lives mixed with the stories read, watched or heard somewhere … Or rather, stories that were so incredible that they could only happen in life.   

 I enjoyed spending hours in front of the TV in a hotel room, wondering at the intricacies of the plots and going to retell it all to Juan one day. Before, I never had enough time for this.    

When she asked my name, I couldn’t think of anything better than to mumble in reply: “Juan.” Later, I had a inexplicable pleasure hearing the melody of this name from her. A secret, unknown even to myself, was encrypted in it in some misterios way.   

At first, she was asking anxiously what I was doing all the day, before the hour we saw each other in the evenings. I could not admit to her I was doing nothing. The explanation I had enough money to live for some time in the city might have seemed improbable to her. Therefore, I used to tell her I was looking for a job constantly and unsuccessfully.    

She was devoted to her lab fanatically. As a result, she developed an almost painful tendency to look for plastic products all around herself.  

She admired sincerely the obedient curves of plastic. And if suddenly upon closer inspection some product turned out to be not plastic, she became irritable immeditely. She was disappointed both with her own mistake and with the shortsightedness of manufacturers who chose not the most advantageous technological solution.  

She was proud the plastics her lab produced were not “dangerous polymers” and were not carcinogenic.    

From head to foot, she was eager to get into plastic clothes: plastic hairpins flaunted in her hair while sunglasses occupied firmly a spot on the back of her head. A strict office skirt was held by a plastic strap instead of the usual leather one. The buckles on her blunt-ended shoes were plastic, too.    

The history of the invention of plastics was studied by her thoroughly. We always laughed at a clearly fictional episode: supposedly manufacturers of billiard balls called on chemists to develop a new material in order to replace ivory. No doubt, this impressive detail was invented much later just to interest apathetic students of chemical colleges. 

 We even came up with a special “plastic game” with her: we had to name various items made of plastic in turn. Later we changed the game rules a bit and decided also to use in the game the names of objects that would be worth making from polymers, but for some reason humanity has not thought of this before.  

She agreed not to use condoms with pleasure. She was prejudiced by latex rubber, considering this material unreasonably more popular than, for example, the transparent polyethylene she loved so much.    

She was in the habit of running her hand over the smooth surface of some plastic accessory as if by chance. While doing this she used to squint her eyes dreamily. She was doing all this involuntarily and became very shy, noticing her instinctive movement had not escaped some prying eyes.

Thinking later about this feature of her, I decided she subconsciously considered plastic to be a very erotic material. Really, no wonder, singing the woman of his dreams, the man often mentions lustfully the smooth skin of his chosen lady. Smooth-skin reached its apogee in inflatable dolls, as I thought at first with a grin, and then with irritation.  

Once in a minute of frankness she told me about her amorous affairs. At that moment she was sitting on a double bed, covered with a blanket, in my hotel room, and playing with the stem of a wine glass. Her hair seemed red in the setting sun rays.  

I can”t retell reliably the essence of her story… Probably she seemed to have some kind of guy and she had a hard time after breaking up with him… Or perhaps, on the contrary, she avoided carefully any attachments and always tried to break them off at the highest point in the relationship development… In general, in any case she told me some kind of a very frank story, touching for both of us and indicating how much she trusted me.    

Even earlier, before this conversation about her fear of attachments, I often observed an expression of extreme boredom on her face, that caused her incredible embarrassment and that she tried to hide. In my presence, boredom devoured her, making it impossible for her to enjoy life. The only exceptions were the minutes of our intimacy, which she greatly appreciated. In general, it was much more comfortable for her to be alone than to spend time with me. Each time I was saying goodbye to her, I used to have noticed a kind of secret delight in her caused by my leaving.  

However she was determined to defeat circumstances and declared war on boredom. Our dates were scheduled in the most unusual places: on rails waiting for a train, in museum rooms under cover of night and in other textbook places of risky sex from a handbook for lovers. Sometimes the experimentation of her imagination regarding the geography of our meetings even made me doubt that the next time I would be at my best as a lover; but fortunately then it turned out that I really love the variety of surroundings during making love, too.    

Once I mentioned jokingly in her presence an article on a plastic topic that caught my eye in a newspaper column. “Soon, it will be possible to use not oil as a raw material for plastic production … but, for example, oranges”, I said, following her expression carefully. This extravagant idea made her laugh without causing much emotion.    

And yet our relationship did not stand still.  

I was seized by the feeling of some kind of anxiety more and more often. I never dared to admit to myself my everlasting serenity was passing into some new quality. As if I had to do something and then to leave the city.    

And then at last the day came when I felt some kind of power was forcing me to get out of the city. Like an ocean wave, this power imperiously was pushing me beyond the megapolis boundaries.    

I suppose I wanted to take her with me to my … Orange Republic . But that seemed impracticable.  

The words ‘Orange Republic’ appeared in my memory by chance, even though there was something vaguely familiar in them. I repeated theese words to myself, as if tasting them. Therefore, when at the airport I saw this name in the list of possible destinations, I experienced real delight. As if I’ve got an answer to some important question and then realized I was going the right way.  

The Apocalyptic tones sounded nearby from a video screen. The audience was once again convinced that the world was being falling apart and would never be the same, while my heart was sinking in anticipation of changes and the development of a new space. Here and there I caught the contour of the plane out of the corner of my eye – the logo of the famous airline, and my being was filled with contentment.    

The city flashed by toy houses goodbye on a topographic map in the porthole.  

I thought of my abandoned sweetheart.  

Of course, she did not oppose our dates. And she would certainly be upset if I suddenly disappeared from her life. But at the same time, I could never take her thoughts. Sometimes it seemed to me that in the rhythmic moments of our intimacy, plastic production schemes were flashing in the form of slides before her eyes.  

On the other hand, sometimes I still dared hope she intentionally downplayed the strength of her attraction to me, because this is an ordinary female trick in order to win a man’s affections.  

She used to tell me she felt lonely. But I did not hear her words, or maybe I did not believe them or did not want to believe. She loved only plastic, I kept telling myself.  

“Why am I here on an airplane?” I asked myself. “Am I really jealous of plastic? And that is why I thought it was better to retreat?”    

Leaning back in my chair, I closed my eyelids. Having made incoherent and absurd movements in time and space, quite illogical from the point of view of an awake person, I found myself at a bar table opposite Juan. Of course, everything was happening in the Orange Republic.    

“Would you like me to tell you how it all happened that very night?” Juan said with a crafty twinkle in his insolent eyes… Juan was always trying to look like the cinema heroes. All the time he was not busy on in secret missions, he devoted himself to watching films. He was especially interested in films about agents behind enemy lines.  

I was confused. Juan turned out to know about me much more than I did. Although I should got used to it already. Sometimes it seemed to me that Juan was some part of myself. And perhaps this my hypostasis was too cynical and completely devoid of romantic illusions.    

Juan intended to bring me back to some point from the past.  

“Take a look at this”, he took out a container in the shape of a test tube from a baggy shirt pocket and put it on a table.  

“What is it?” I was going to touch the subject, but my hand went through it. 

It came back to me that the test tube contained a catalyst for plastic decay. For plastic, such a contraption is equivalent to a deadly virus.  

I was sure that after using I had recycled the similar test tube according to the instructions. Therefore, now I was looking at just a hologram.    

I was still sitting in the cabin. The image on the monitor mounted in the seat in front of me wavered, then smoothed out again.  

“Look at the monitor! ” Juan commanded from somewhere in my brain.  

The man at the speaker desk excitedly treated the audience with a portion of gloomy omens … God knows, I was always far from politics – I preferred the fictional reality of films.  

The announcer’s story was replaced by a video sequence with the inscription ‘no comment’. Plastic items exploded on the streets, in offices, in shops, and this was accompanied by a female screech and panic.   

 …It came back to me as if she was sitting in front of me on the table. As always, they switch to the power saving mode at night. A faint light grabs the outline of her body from the darkness, and I am drawing the missing lines with the help of my touches. My heart is racing fast …  

“Do you know where we are right now?” she whispers.  

Like a forgotten dream, I recall how we were making our way here through the underground sewers a few minutes ago. As it always happened in our evening routes, she took on the role of a guide … All this remained somewhere far away since at this very moment only she exists for me …  

“We are in the very place where I work”, I feel her smiling coquettishly in the dark. “In the daytime I wear a white coat and a white hat here, and look like a kitchen boy”.  

At this words of her the previously unused portion of my brain is being activated … We have already visited many points on the city map together with her, but only now we have penetrated the laboratory of the ‘Empire of Plastics’ – this is the name of her company. It is the cradle of the plastics industry and the inner sanctum of the plastic world.    

I know the floor plan of this building thoroughly. If you wake me in the middle of the night, I will draw it with my eyes closed, without violating the proportions between the objects.  

Plastics injection machines are located nearby. I was given the task of injecting a decay catalyst from a container into one of them. According to the calculations of our scientists, in a plastic medium, the molecules of this substance will start replicating themselves, decomposing plastic simultaneously. Thus, the destructive effect for the world of petroleum plastic will be maximum.   

In the Orange Republic, oil was never mined, but there were enough orange trees there.  

The death of the “Empire of Plastics” meant a symbolic victory of oranges over oil, since “orange plastic” is invulnerable to a decay catalyst. Thus plastic made from oranges will replace petroleum plastic.    

Now, in the cabin, these thoughts did not bring me a single drop of joy or satisfaction. After all, I have never been an ideological opponent of synthetic non-recyclable plastics … I felt rather upset and tried in vain to sort out the feelings that had rushed over me.    

The old-fashioned screen was melting before my eyes, flowing in black mass onto the carpeting. I realized the deadly virus was already there. It must have gotten on board the plane somehow.    

The passengers gasped in unison: plastic cups with hot drinks burst on folding tables at once. Brown drops sprinkled both on ironed clothes and on joyful expectations.   

 I went lurching towards the smoking room. The plane was shaking more than usual. I tried to grab ahold of the handrails, but they seemed to melt under my gaze because I was too fascinated with the idea of plastic disappearing. Instead of a lighter, I felt a viscous sticky clot in my pocket.    

Most likely, my thoughts were controlling reality.  

The power of my emotions made the space vibrate. The plane started losing altitude drastically.    

This couldn’t have happened in reality. Otherwise, the words of the crew commander, typical for such occasions, would have long been heard: the plane is experiencing minor technical problems, but in general the situation is under control.   

And then… I suddenly imagined all the plastic details in the flight deck.  

How many more plastic was still in the body of the plane, I wondered.    

… We are dancing in the plastic world. I am leading my dance partner surprisingly cleverly – we are scattering in different directions, our arms extended; then our hands are twisted, and she presses her back to me for a moment. 

I always invited her to go dancing somewhere, although I never knew how to do it. She always refused, apparently wondering what was it for.  

And now I saw quite clearly: we were dancing with her against the background of a living advertisement of plastic products, which suddenly became voluminous.

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Operation Paracelsus booktrailer

I’ve just made video concerning my new novel Operation Paracelsus in the genre of ironic sci-fi and post-apocalypse . It is something like booktrailer but maybe rather variations on the theme.

Expressive songs in Russian are used as soundtrack so I made several explanatory inscriptions -not too many:)

The first chapter in English is here.

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And love, and happiness, and life

The ways in which the reader sometimes finds his book are truly amazing.
I was trying to remember the name of a completely different novel – actually, I intended to find The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva, but I forgot the author’s last name, and the search on the keywords “book” – “Venice” – “killer” unespectedly gave me “Death in Venice” by Thomas Mann, which I preferred to read instead of the book I was looking for initially.

Frankly I did not quite manage to grasp my emotions of Thomas Mann’s prose. On the one hand, everything he writes seems to be quite obvious, well-known and often met. But he expresses it so confidently and skillfully, adding to this a certain amount of quite modern details – well, in fact, what means the last hundred years on the scale of human self-knowledge! – and arranges his thoughts and extremely precise descriptions in such a way that the resulting whole text canvas looks quite convincing to the taste of the sophisticated modern reader.

Thomas Mann, exquisitely as a true master of the word, examined the mechanism of a love feeling, when some force makes a lover want to be near and strive to please the person he loved.  A writer by the name of Aschenbach is confronted with love in its pure undiluted form and in amazement tries to comprehend it. The object of love is a surprisingly handsome boy who does not possess intellectual dignity, at the same time the subject of love – Ashenbach – is an educated refined person prone to introspection.
In this state of love intoxication, Ashenbach becomes especially susceptible to arts that would have seemed vulgar to him before.

Beauty wounds Ashenbach like the arrows of Cupid. And then, unconsciously dreaming of possible reciprocity, Ashenbach is forced to think how outwardly attractive he himself looks to other people. He goes up to his hotel room and looks in the mirror … Indeed, people appreciated and extolled him as a master in literature, but will that be convincing in the boy’s eyes? Since the face that looks at him from the mirror is terrifying from an aesthetic point of view.

While polemicizing to himself with Plato’s theses, Ashenbach admits with bitterness and amazement that poets are lustful in their desire to possess beauty.
Under the influence of love intoxication, the hero’s value system changes. What seemed important before – comfort, the desire to write – suddenly became secondary.
The very scheme of love in the novel is reduced to the extraordinary power of beauty and naturalness over the intellect. As a result, the force of attraction of the intellect to beauty turns out to be destructive, and the intellect literally sacrifices itself for the sake of beauty .

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How to stop worrying and get your husband’s attention

After rereading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn a second time, I wondered: what is this book about?

What can we find in this text, other than a gripping plot, written with the expectation that it will be the basis of the hit thriller movie script?
Perhaps this is just a very well-written thriller – with the invariable principle of any thriller that everything turns out to be not at all what it seems at first – in which, at the same time, the author paid close attention to the psychological reliability of the characters?
Or, on the contrary, can this novel be viewed as a general discussion of married life, which is just “masquerading” as a thriller?

I really like the first part of this story, while the ending evokes feelings of displeasure interspersed with a sense of horror and seems unnatural.
And, in general, I approximately understand why this is happening.

We read the first half of the book about the transformation of a married couple’s relationship during five years of marriage, when a husband and wife go from mutual delight to painful misunderstanding. The author uses a very effective plot composition technique, in which the same events of life together are alternately described firstly from the point of view of a man, and then from the point of view of a woman – I remember that I really liked a similar method many years ago in the film “Françoise ou La vie conjugale” (1964).

This story of a gradual change in the relationship between spouses might seem quite typical for many couples … although later it turns out that it is faked a little.
Sometimes it seems that the author is literally ironically making fun of typical advice for spouses, such as seeking compromises – “never go to bed without making peace”.

The two main characters in the novel are, of course, the husband and the wife mentioned above.
The husband, with pleasure and a little narcissistic, plunges into the abyss of introspection, recalling the details of his own biography and typical traits of his character and, in general, appears in this hypostasis as a rather self-critical fellow. However, by all accounts, he is devilishly charming, as well as witty, erudite and even able to behave quite caringly towards his other half for a while.

As for his wife, in the beginning of the text she looks just beautiful, obedient and being in love one, accepting all the shortcomings of her husband and as if dissolved in her bright feeling of love and forgiveness – that is, in fact, she embodies the ideal of a wife according to all the textbooks of family life.
However, right in the middle of the book, the wife turns out to be not at all as simple as it seems. For example, it turns out that it was she who, at the very beginning of their relationship, stimulated her future husband to “become a superman” and to lead an intellectual life at the limit of his mental capabilities, and it is eaxactly as a result of this process he fell in love with her.
Subsequently, the wife turns out to be a grotesque character, in which the features are unusually hypertrophied, but this is what makes the novel so interesting to read … and at the same time so implausible – in other words, some “surrealistic” events begin.

In the second half of the novel the reader is forcibly immersed in such purely american themes as reflections on the power of public opinion, lawyers, paparazzi, cops, popular TV shows, phrases from movies, talk show hosts…
In general, I can’t say this text give rise to any interesting literary thoughts and associations in me, although – to be honest – reading was extremely interesting.

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Door to the Garden of Eden in the gray city

I met books in my life that I often re-read as a teenager and about which then I remembered all my life with a warm feeling, amazed at my own emotions while reading. In fairness, I will note that the available choice for reading was by no means as rich as it is today, but still we saw on the bookshelves the spines with titles that had passed, in the opinion of competent persons, all kinds of censorship, both in terms of quality and for ideological reasons. For example, the “door in the wall” from the story of the same name by H.G. Wells became a completely archetypal concept for me for the rest of my life – I must say that in childhood and adolescence, the bright image of a door entwined with wild grapes and capable of hiding in the space of an ordinary-looking gray city, invariably excited my imagination.
Just now I re-read this short story, and my expectations were not disappointed, and this time – I was touched again – however, this time it was more from my own memories, not allowing the ice of stinging criticism to penetrate my soul.
This time, the described Garden of Eden unexpectedly reminded me of a visit to Rodini Park in the city of Rhodes … In general, this entire subconscious memory mechanism is truly amazing, because, to be honest, I cannot say that I remember visiting this park so frequently or that it was the most interesting park in my life … Apparently, a certain majesty and serenity, which gives this place its venerable age – really, the park erased at the end of the 5th century BC, and thete are pointers to the mausoleum of Ptolemy, – has affected. Indeed, centuries pass ater centuries, and the park still stands in the same place, indifferent to the passage of time and even more so to people with their vain concerns.

I have found that this story, with its thought of the amazing places lost in rather familiar space so close to us, has influenced my entire life.
The Wallace’s school games with an attempt first to get lost and then find the right path reminded me of our childhood fun with space, which my girl friends and Iused to play in the vicinity of our house, about which I write in my book “I Am Becoming a Woman”

“We had such fun with Tanya: being impressed by the intricacies of the streets, we used to hit the road with the intention of getting lost. We were satisfied when, after having strayed among the streets and having time to be seriously scared, we suddenly found our house on the wrong side from where we left.”

The way his household greeted unkindly Wallace after his returning home echoes this fragment of “I am becoming a woman”.

“Then it turned out that they were looking for us at this time – we had gone as far away from home as never before … But this was a necessary feature of any more or less interesting activity: a reckoning in the form of censure from parents was to come inevitably.”

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Reading Vivian Gornick: concerts and harbors

From time to time I start reading The Odd Woman and the City by Vivian Gornick.
I particularly resonate with the descriptions of how she was discovering New York over time.

Gornik writes:

In summer we went to the concerts at Lewisohn Stadium, the great amphitheater on the City College campus. … sitting on those stone bleacher seats July after July, August after August, I knew, I just knew, that the men and women all around me lived on West End Avenue. As the orchestra tuned up and the lights dimmed in the soft, starry night, I could feel the whole intelligent audience moving forward as one, yearning toward the music, toward themselves in the music.

Reading about these concerts in New York, I involuntarily remembered a completely different city.
A warm evening of the Italian Indian summer came to my mind – saying “the land of eternal spring” always spun on my tongue – and our study of the topography of the resort town with long-standing traditions. One of our evening routes was crowned with an intricate and graceful building in the style of the beginning of the last century called “theater”, erected to entertain “those who have come for the waters”, in which a restrained excitement was felt and from whose premises an inviting soft light streamed into the street darkness of early October. A wonderful atmosphere of anticipation hovered in the small hall, filled with respectable audience, who were going to have some cultural fun the coming evening.

Further in the text Vivian Gornik writes about how much more comprehensive presentation of her friend Leonard about New York was.

And it wasn’t just the streets Leonard knew. He knew the piers, the railroad yards, the subway lines … He knew the footbridges on the East River; the ferries, the tunnels, the beltways. He knew Snug Harbor and City Island and Jamaica Bay.

And the pictures of another city, stored in my memory, opened up to me when I read the mention of the harbors.
Our small, almost toy balcony provided a view not only of the remote island of If, but also of a part of the line by which the port city wrapped the sea with its land; and in our schedule, filled with trips so densely, all these beaches and coastal cafes with corporate parties, over and over again inevitable getting into the field of our view, they won the right to exist not only as points on the spatial panorama, but also as possible interiors for “spending the evenings” in time periods of our future.

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First readers’ reviews of my book “I Am Becoming a Woman”

While I am making the final changes to the look and feel of my personal site, you can in the meantime read some reviews of my virtual friends all over the world about my book.

Carlos, 36, New York, USA

You have a voice. It’s poetic, ambitious and eloquent.
I feel that you introduce events and immediately add many layers of commentary on everything instead of letting these moments flow more freely. I don’t think your reasoning is random but rather very self aware, like you constantly analyze yourself.
It’s an intense stream of consciousness retrospect ive.
I feel that hat you have created a hyper-literary account of your life, it’s a tour de force narrative.

James, 44, LA, USA

I like the detail in your story. It has a very historical feel to it in and time and place that doesn’t exist anymore.
The way she views the exploration of her sexuality is really interesting.
I like it too because it isn’t ‘cynical’ but more just speaking about what happened and how you felt and your observations. There was there some romantic observations and also some more cinical like observations.

Joni 30, Tampere, Finland

It seems very intellectual and very freshly written. Like a breath of fresh air.
The writing is very thoughtful, it has new ideas and interesting observations.
You use words delicately and deliciously. This is very beautiful text, with rare, delicate words.
This work reminded me of the woman’s need for accepting men and accepting themselves, as well as the fight against acceptance of men and the fight against the acceptance of themselves, which is a common theme in the lives of many women. Is woman a puzzle or someone who wants to be understood? Or both.
Women can be “The Others” for men as well. The great unknown in some way. They can be inexplicable creatures with broader perceptions, in some cases.

Warren, 34, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

I liked reading, you are a deep minded and fascinating person. Your childhood was different to mine, but so interesting. From reading your pages, I discovered about life in Russia, and also more about sexuality. I enjoyed it.
There was humor and the style was good.
I enjoyed your style of writing. I think that longer and more descriptive sentences are better to aid the reader’s understanding.

tichh, 59, Derby, UK

I admire you for the way you write
you have an amazing talent
I have never read such good work as you write

you are turning me into a reader 🙂
you are amazing writer

all are perfect in my eyes – the structure and content

Bill, 58, Wyoming, USA

You have created a “page turner” as we say. Just like when we read a novel that we can not put down.
It has some very excellent descriptions of your thoughts and the words make it even more enticing.
I am not shocked at all because it is deliciously honest.

Hocem, 31, Kasserine, Tunisia

I enjoyed reading. I read some intriguing passages, I was curious to read some “glimpses about the author”. Author “s life experience about emotional relationships is very diverse.
The author mixes many little details to have more writing space and to interpret them in more independant way. I admire her craving to explain her opinion in a deep sincere way.

Bejn, 32 Belgrade, Serbia

You have a decent writing style.
Details about childhood are nice actually, Stories from “Soviet” childhoods are always interesting to me.
As for the story reviews, I like that it describes life just as it is, not romanticizing it.

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Mulholland Drive – Attempt no 2

A year ago I watched Mulholland Drive for the second time.
It turned out that in recent years my perception of the film has changed a lot since I have become more cynical and have already seen a lot.
As for the plot content of the film, I think the director came up with the idea of ​​showing the story of the trip to the address on Mulholland Drive 2 times, and the second time the girl in this scheme is already different, and many details become clear from the final conversation at the table.
Well! This is a great idea!
But to tell the truth, this plot action would take on the screen not 2 and a half hours, but only about 40 minutes of the film.
Therefore, all the rest of the time Lynch is occupied with some kind of outsiders, funny broken plot lines leading to nowhere. Lynch loves to laugh, and deliberately places mysterious points during the film so that the viewer can rack his brain happily over it.

That is why this time I watched this film as a comedy, or rather, as a set of funny sketches.
Judge for yourself: then we see in the frame a certain so-called mysterious chief sitting in the chair, to whom the situation is reported and who is listening. Then our attention is switched to negotiations, and then to the quarrels of the director in black glasses with the Italian mafia. Or one more funny sketch – the husband finds his wife’s lover at home, or the champion of “incomprehensibility” – the so-called scene in a cafe. Or those strange pop numbers on the stage of the Silesio Theater, crowned with a blue cube!

Oh, earlier I could really think seriously: but what means this kind of blue cube with no less blue key? :))

The picture is quite stylish, one might even say – “very stylish”.
All in all, I really loved the impressive music and the panorama of the city’s night lights in the background. And a very exciting feeling when a car is driving to such music in the dark.

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“Spoorloos” (1988)

In my search for films, I came across a not very well-known film “Spoorloos”, the description and reviews of which interested me …. However, I tried not to read the reviews especially to avoid spoilers.
In this film, we see on the screen an idyllic decade in the history of mankind before the advent of the Internet, coronavirus and everything else.

Idyllic pictures of the bearded man’s leisure time in the circle of his family give everything that is happening more embossed shade.
Throughout the film, it seems to the viewer that it will be about some kind of banal, more or less inventive rape, or something like that, since this man, most likely, did not receive some sexual sensations he needed in his exemplary family.
But our French bearded murderer turned out to be not a banal pervert, but a man testing himself for the ability to cause mortal harm to another person.
And just to keep the intrigue of the film a secret until the last moment, the author of the film does not allow the killer to tell Rex and us too much, that is why the killer is just speculating for a long time whether he is capable of doing things.
It seems to me that the killer’s reasoning is quite rational. In Russian literature – there is a novel “Crime and Punishment”, and the main character in his reasoning asks himself the question: am I an ordinary creature or have a special right? In general, it is for extraordinary people that he recognizes their right to crime.

So here they are – Rex and the killer.
Rex feels hatred, but he also has a feeling that finally what he has been waiting for so long is happening, and therefore Rex even feels some elation.

From Rex’s point of view, the intervention of higher powers leaves no doubt, because just at the moment when he doubted whether he should drink murderer’s sleeping pills, thunder suddenly struck and a downpour began, and Rex found himself near the very tree under which Saskia buried her comic treasure. And this was, undoubtedly, a sign to Rex from the higher powers that he must continue his deadly journey in search of his beloved, no matter what it cost him.

It is quite difficult for the viewer to recognize and correctly interpret the intervention of the Higher Forces, because in general the film was filmed in a rather mundane, deliberately everyday manner, and only these rattling organ sounds give everything that happens a little timeless and detached.

I can confess that within a few seconds after the light at the end of the tunnel was shown and Saskia smiling standing there, I suddenly believed that this story had a good ending and Rex really found Saskia and was rewarded was rewarded for his loyalty and courage in this brave journey in search of his beloved, accompanied by a representative of the dark forces.

After that, I involuntarily recalled that scene in the tunnel at the beginning of the film, when Saskia is scared, she tries to find a flashlight shouting to him: “Rex, don’t go! I’m afraid!” And Rex calmly leaves, despite her screams. It seemed to me that everything that happened was a punishment for Rex for leaving his woman in a frightening dark tunnel.
And at the very end my perception became very cynical and aloof – I thought: yes, these lovers met in another world. I remembered the phrase “Until death do us part” and that Spanish anecdote when, after death, a wife finds a husband in heaven, but the husband declares to his wife that he promised to be with her only untill death but not after death.

I especially appreciated this special birds cooing, which is typical for the southern European countries 🙂

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