Short humorous story by Alex Pavlov
I’d like to ask you not to judge me very much for the translation of this short humorous story. It is my first attempt of a literary translation, and I am sure there will be many grammatical mistakes in it. However, I really want to do it, and I am going to perform it as best as I could.
I hope it will not be too boring, and you will enjoy reading it.
And now here is one of my first literary work written in 2011.
Chapter one and, thank God, last
Now I do not remember when it happened and what city I arrived in. But I remember that my friend in Moscow asked me to convey something to someone. I was good to my friend, so I had kindly agreed to accomplish his request. Usually, I firmly reject the requests like that, otherwise you work as a postman in your business trip instead of doing business, but your friends will cynically call it ‘The great friendship.’
The following event occurred in May. In a small quiet and pretty town, I met someone and handed something over. Short after, I slowly walked back, thinking deeply about something of my own. I was walking along the old beautiful street. There were the small wooden houses on both sides. Big shady and flowering trees were in front of them. The spring sun was clear. Marvelous place! Every particle of air was filled with life and pacific joy of life.
In less than half an hour, I suddenly realized that I was completely lost. But now the twenty-first century is. Taking out the smartphone, I turned the navigation on. The smart device quickly pinpoints my location and in three or four seconds, I see the exact way to the center of the city.
‘So where am I’? I thought and looked at the map on the screen. ‘Ok, now I have to get to the right…’ and turning right, as shown by the navigation, I began to leave this beautiful settlement.
The street, where was I going now, was rising up and long enough. Passing half the street, I felt a light tiredness and slowed down. Great beauty around me: the birds are singing, the sun is shining, warmly – spring had come. And I am also joyful.
Suddenly, I noticed two old women standing at the top of the flowering alley where I was walking. They had a pompous and pretentious appearance. I looked closer at their direction and realized that they were trying to understand whether I am local or not. There was no one else here and they could get only me as a curious target to observe.
I am from Moscow, big capital, and all this natural beauty around is amazing for me,’ I thought. ‘But it is a common thing for them, an ordinary life in paradise on earth. That’s pretty life’!
On and on I went, watching at the old women. In return, they were staring in my direction.
High thoughts suddenly came into my mind when I was getting closer – wise thoughts. Of course, at times, the great doubts seize me whether it’s possible to have any wisdom when we are hardly forty years old. It is difficult to even imagine how much these old ladies had seen in their long life. They looked very old, and it seemed that they were both a hundred years and more. Watching them on, I slowed down again.
Little by little, I was getting closer and closer to them. They peered at me harder. Our eyes were crossed. So are our thoughts. What now might come next, I did not know. It seemed that not only these old madams were looking at me now, but the whole world was doing so, or even the whole world history was scanning me. At least, great history of my country, our country. And they looked at me, through me, and could see every detail of my soul, mind and in the stream of my thoughts. I felt myself like under the microscope. It was clear that I was evaluated. It became uneasy to me.
‘These pretty old ladies probably remember Great October Socialist Revolution, happened about one hundred years ago,’ thought I, ‘the first years of Soviet Authority. They saw the enormous construction projects of the USSR and its all-powerful leaders. They are witnesses themselves of the great soviet era and of fake-drunk democrats reformers. They are the era itself!
There were only a few steps between us when I felt completely uncomfortable but I admired them simultaneously. Who am I? Who am I in front of them? Little man with the little life experience and with no any serious wisdom. They, these old madams, are the great life experience and wisdom.
Suddenly, I wanted to have a talk with them, at least a little. The old people’ thoughts can be… and must be very wise. I was always sure that was so.
And now I was nearby the old madams. One of them rested on a heavy wooden crutch. The other did not need any crutches in her age, thank God! She was on her feet firmly and confidently, her fists have been setting against her sides, elbows sticking up. Both pairs of eyes were drilling me through like an x-ray.
I nodded faintly and said quietly ‘Hello.’
‘You, blunt, what you doin’ here?’ cried out one of them completely unexpected, like a thunder in a clear sky. ‘Dat you one who comes secretly to a youn’ libertine woman from dat house o’nights? Ain’t you? Dogs bark till mornin’ den!’
‘Wow, by gosh, dat you are, no lackin! Everyone’s snoopin’ aroun’! Another old madam screamed and lifted up her crutch like a club, threatening me.
‘What drastic wisdom is in front of me!’ thought I and went on as fast as I could. I was to hurry until this ‘crutch of wisdom’ flew into my head as yet.
I got away, laughing at myself, and having the following thoughts:
‘Oh… there we have it… and I am sorry to say: not always, when someone older, he is wiser and clever. Sometimes he is a perfect booby and entirely blockheaded.’
It was written in 2011.
Translation from Russian by Alex Pavlov, 2018.