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Наши авторы в переводах:
Татьяна Ахтман
Tatiana Akhtman
Translated by Serge Maychuradze



SI

SI


Си

Перевод на английский
Сергея Майчурадзе.

Сергей Майчурадзе - потомственный грузинский князь, волею судеб заброшеный в Израиль. Перевод "Си" Сергей подарил Татьяне, как компенсацию за подмену авторского пересказа монолога "Быть или не быть" цитатой из Шекспира в переводе ее пьесы "Офелия".

Татьяна Ахтман   



There is a great pianist's grave on the top of a high hill - a stone octave's frozen chord cast over a ravine huddling between its steep slopes. Realms of pines around cycle their come-and-go abode here unaware of a piney scent - an inherent part of their nature missing because of the local arid climate - short winter is the only spell for a thin and skimpy rain to drizzle...

A car with a man and woman in drove up; the man got out while the woman left the door open ajar and stayed on looking intently ahead.

"Come up over here" - the man's voice seemed to be faint - "have a look around, I've been long wishing you to see the place..."

The woman approached the tabletop edge in faltering steps.

"Marvelous... an amazing view", she answered reflecting on the fact her ability for admiring things had shrunk compact into a strictly measured dose apiece, regardless of size be it a field flower, baby's eyes, and now, the Niagara of pines beneath...

She threw a pebble into the ravine, and her thought accompanied it by slipping down too, scraping against ledgy slopes and pine limbs of the steep, gliding on the airflow finally bursting into a tiny cloud of dust in the dried-up creek bed below...

...Si reposed on the bottom of a greenish plain-glass bowl watching the skies - now light in the edge growing darker blue on high. Scratches she suffered in the fall were smarting lightly; a tear on a pant leg... all those were just trifles to count... Ever since she had mastered that wonderful way of escaping things, the bodily anguish of the fall - once intolerably torturous - just turned into a vague reminder of her past sufferings ...

Had it happen a year ago, she would try to explain something to him who now was left there in perplexity... To speak and hear trying to grasp the meaning of the words he was uttering - void of sense and cast in a hit-or-miss gesture like dice... Next, a quick brush on the edge would follow ending in her fall down with a short alt cry and farcical air-sawing jerks of no bodily control and - for the last perception - an imagery of a green-and-white sunlit patchwork culminating in a pound much like that of a nappy tennis-ball landing somewhere off the lawn... and a clamor of birds bursting into twitter again, after a short pause...

Si stretched her arms up in delight smiling and fancying a new name for herself ...

..."Anna" sounds good... well, no, that's too tight-laced and gorgeous; as for "Lou", she already bore the name before... "Lily" is nice and romantic, unfortunately, that was the name of an acquaintance of hers so it had been assumed to be toiling the burden of someone else's fate. How about "Si"? Si... my name is "Si"... an unordinary one... my father was a great musician... ah! Such a pity... he died recently... so much of a loss... yes, yes... engraved... in a dreamlike-beautiful manner - a chord overhanging a ravine... So you are his daughter - ah! Well, yes, sure, the name of "Si" is so exotic...

Si stood up, shaking the dust away... Several scratches and the rip in her jeans slightly above the knee - there, falling on a smooth place was so awkward of her ... Right, no shucks about that... yet she needed to somehow comfort herself... sit on a bench nearby... luckily, there was a place where a handful of chestnuts made a tiny public garden.

When about seven, she was on her way back from the school accompanied by a classmate girl... like now, the chestnuts were in full blossom each cluster looking like a ball-gown of a princess. Her companion Nina - a girl with a heavy look - asked her to slip off a flower saying: "You are just taller ... " so Si (she had a different name then but it did not matter now) agreed yet wondering because both of them were of the same height and usually stood side by side in the line at the physical exercise lessons. Si tiptoed and broke the stem of a cluster in a careful motion so neither of the rest were troubled nor crushed... Two senior schoolgirls happened nearby uttering rigorous reprimands to her for gathering flowers in the public place...

"Well, that's really no good", Nina said...

"But wasn't that you who asked me to do that...", a gasp of dudgeon struck her...

"You should have said to me - no, Nina, picking flowers in a public place is a wrong thing to do..."... a heavy tread, a brown uniform with a black apron, pigtails set crosswise on the back of her head and tied in a knot with a couple of nylon ribbons.

And the father - the great pianist - did not arise yet by then; while the one who was around that spring was just away on business. He used to get off all the time sticking to the kinds of job that required regular absence from the family wherein he was always found to blame for anything. He was to, in fact; however, he never understood what his real fault was... So if he happened to be in and the daughter told him about her dudgeon, he would say: "Just take it easy"; he could even buy her an ice-cream just to turn, in his habitual manner, that very "take-it-easy" passage into a consoling piece of candy... In those times the ice-cream was kept and scooped from iron jars to fill crispy wafer cones in canting heaps. The ice-cream cost more than ice-milk because of a greater butterfat content so the former was believed to be really good...

Those were the times when people preferred dreaming. They fancied they "think" although all they did was, in fact, a mere "dreaming" - just a "dreaming-for-thinking" substitute. The dreaming was largely about happiness whereas the "thinking" was normally about living while happiness was the thing to be dreamt of. In that course of things, a muddle between such different notions like "living" and "happiness" came to exist making one apply enormous lies to somehow prove to oneself and others that the living was the happiness itself... for if there were no happiness... what kind of life would it be then?... thus everything had those lies for a base...

Well, when dad came home from the War and the time was ripe for him to be fixed up for life, he started thinking of happiness and marriage, a happy one, of course... Of having a child, he did not even dream; however, on seeing his daughter for the first time after getting back from a business trip, he started dreaming of having ice cream with her when she grew older. His dream actually came true... As for the rest that conceived between them, it was not a happiness at all... That's why Si could lament her woes only to the pianist dad, unluckily, by the time she did not scruple to do so, he passed away to rest under his top-merit luxury obelisk on the top of a picturesque hill. It was a good thing she had not managed to open her dudgeon about Nina the traitress to him. What would she have expected for an answer then - that the happiness was to be sought in music? That was what he knew for himself, being confined to the frames of his gift all his days, never getting beyond his scope to learn that things could turn some other way ...

Inequality of gift is likely to be the point where a downbeat paradox lies ... Well, maybe, there is no paradox at all: that is, breaking through the encirclement drawn by the gift without limiting oneself by subordinating all your life to it would lead to no inequality at all... Determining a direction to go is actually of importance: if moving toward eternity via expanding the confines, then it would probably be the way for approaching the outset of what previously seemed to be paradoxical... Besides, the paradox can at all be avoided via total neglection or even elimination of the gift thus getting rid of the inequality in a radical way...

Those were the exact or nearly exact reflections Si cherished (she had a different name then but it did not matter now) standing near the steep's edge... It was almost a year's time as she had ceased seeking for the dad or anyone else of strong spirit and intelligence to hear her complaints of Nina or other misfortunes as she had deprived herself of the happiness by having ceased to dedicate to her desires: she had set herself free, and so she was ...

...That action of hers was the cause to have bleached the voice of her companion - a sightly and solid man, the very image of her father, the valiant veteran and pianist...

As for the rest, you are well in the know: the free thought slipping off the steep and Si posing herself comfortably on the bench in the three-chestnut-tree public garden...



© Татьяна Ахтман, 1999-2017.
© Сергей Майчурадзе, перевод, 2001-2017.
© Сетевая Словесность, 2002-2017.






 
 


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