29 November 2019

Adulthood Boundary

To Iva Kassabova,
for the help
and the provided idea

“Come on, relax. Leave the work aside, it is not going any place!” – Yassen stretched, patted her hair and leaned back as he spread his arms on the back of the bench. – “Take it easy, there will always be vexation.”
“Well but I’m the one who will be blamed if I can’t finish the brochures on time.”
“Why not to finish them? You’re good, it will work. And that client of yours, what’s your fault if he did not bring the logo on time.”
“Explain it to my boss!”
“Just to finish my coffee and I’m going.”
“Stop it!” – the woman laughed. – “Show some respect to my problems.”
“I have respect to you, not only to your problems.”
“Come on, now, conversationalist.”
“Do you doubt about that, Nelly?”
Before she could say anything, the man jumped, passed between the tables of the café, crossed the street and came back with a big, aiming to the sky red balloon in no time.
 “Crazy man!” – the woman laughed but she felt extremely pleased. – “Do you know how long it was since I’ve been gifted with balloons?”
“Are the men so blind?”
“Obviously” – she answered and it seemed to him that she blushed slightly. – “And now, what am I going to explain to the office when I come back with a balloon?”
“To hell with them! You’ll explain nothing.”
“You just think so.”
Nelly looked at her wristwatch.
“It’s time for me to go. My lunchbreak is over, even I’m going to be late.”
“I’m coming with you. I have no more job for today so I’m going to tell you jokes for a good mood while you are fighting your brochures.”
“Ha... no way!”
“Do you think I’ve run out of jokes?”
“The superiors will clap their hands for joy.”
“The superiors, if they know it much, will be slapped by me.”
“Stop it or I’ll slap you.”
“Oh! Yes! Beat me, harsh mistress! I’m ready to do anything for you!” – he yelled out at her.
 “Yassen! Behave yourself! You’re twenty-seven” – she silenced him half-jokingly and looked around to see if anyone was not looking at them.
“Well, I won’t do it anymore but you should get rid of some of your forties and let yourself play.”
“I’ll kill you. I’m thirty-six.”
“I know, I know, I’m only joking” – the man laughed.
He paid the bill and extended a helping hand to let her go out of the narrow room between the bench and the table. He put his bright-grey jacket on the dark-blue short-sleeved blouse, took the keys of the Audi out of his jeans pocket and when he opened the door of the car, she stopped and laughed:
 “I cannot take the balloon with me to work. I’ll let it fly freely and tell people there are still romantic men.”
“And women who deserve it” – Yassen smiled.
“Shall I see you tomorrow?” – he asked while driving to her office.
“I don’t know... Call me in the morning. If I can go out at lunchbreak, I’ll see you.”
“I thought about to see you after you finish work. To go for a meal somewhere.”
“Well... no... you know it’s hard to me after work” – Nelly sighed.
“OK, point taken, darling” – the man smiled.

She had spent all the afternoon in rows with her boss because of a mistake made by a colleague of hers who had managed to purge and moreover, to set her up. She had gotten nervous because of the client’s delay but while she was travelling home on the crowded bus, she had calmed down. Her thoughts were going back to Yassen who could always find a way to cheer her up and to make her feel a bit far from the grayness of everyday life. She felt young, even younger than him when they were together but meanwhile, she had been asking herself where that adventure would take her. She liked him but if the age difference did not bother her, it made her feel somehow particularly; she was afraid he could feel fed up of her because of her restrictions. But when they were together, she felt so well! She had not felt the gallant attention of a man who did not overload her with his problems for a long time. She went out of her drowsy thoughts when the bus drew near her stop. “It is what it is. We’ll see” – Nelly said to herself and made her way to the door.
She got down the bus, took her phone out and called her daughter. She had instructed her to do the shopping in order to get rid at least of one obligation but as she could expected it, her fifteen-year-old teenage-girl had done nothing. She passed through a few shops, hardly reached the doorbell but nobody answered it. She tried to take the key out of her purse trying not to drop any of the plastic bags.
 “Can’t you hear me ringing?” – she asked her husband who had leaned back in front of TV watching the news.
“No, I can’t. Don’t you have a key but you ring?” – he turned his head.
“I have a key as well as bags to bring because here, nobody can do anything!”
“But Silvy was supposed to do the shopping, wasn’t she?” – he said.
“Have you ever seen her do it? At least, you could make her do it” – she went to the kitchen with the bags.
“I don’t follow her all the time. What am I supposed to do when you’ve spoiled her totally?”
“Of course, it’s my fault!” – Nelly snapped at him.
“Mom, where’s the hair gel?” – Silviya appeared at the door wearing gossamer bustier and unbuttoned jeans.
“Wait and see a gel! Couldn’t you go to the shop?”
“I didn’t have any time left.”
“Ah, because I have plenty of time!”
“Oh, leave me alone! I’m fed up to be hated by everybody!” – the girl turned around and snapped the door of her room.
“Come on, stop yelling, you two!” – the man raised his voice.
“I am also fed up, fed up to feed you all!” – Nelly yelled after her and went to change her clothes.
She took her mobile out of her bag to hear it if it would ring and saw she got a message. She sat at the bed and read: “And after all, think about a cozy dinner.”
“I’m definitely going to think some” – Nelly said to herself. – “Even, there’s nothing to think about, see you after work... darling.” A smile appeared on her face.

“Even, there’s nothing to think about, see you after work... darling :)” – Yassen read on the screen and leaned back pleased.
“Stop it! Did you find another chick” – Peter tapped on his shoulder, leaned on the pier, coated in rattan, by the counter top and the subdued light of the pipes of the wall lamp lit vertically his short hair.
“Wow, no mercy!” – Nikolay added. – “Pete, let’s put ourselves together, because this one will leave nothing for us.”
“Stop it!” – Yassen smiled, put the phone back in the case on the belt and put the edge of his leather jacket above. – “A person cannot find a chick because of you.”
“How’s that one, bro? You’ve worn up the screen because of those messages.”
“You can do it too but who’s that chick that would answer to retarders as you?”
“Don’t play smart because if you come with this lady, you’ll leave alone, you know.”
“Believe in yourself! She’s a woman of taste” – Yassen waved at the waitress for three more beers.
“You’d better say where you found her” – Peter was curious.
“She’s great. She works in a company where I had some job to do. She works something on a Photoshop, some kind of brochures, advertising matters, stuff like that. The secretary was out and while I was waiting for the boss, we started talking. Then, when I went to negotiate the contract conditions, we met again, we had some coffee and... that’s it.”
“Good for you! And how long?” – Nikolay turned around on his chair.
“Well, for about three weeks.”
“Stop talking and tell us how she is in bed” – Peter pushed him from the other side.
“Hey, asshole! That’s why you cannot keep a normal woman by your side. You need some finesse, bro!” – Yassen winged him on the back of his neck. – “It’s not a twenty-year-old drunk bustard in the disco.”
“How old is she?” – Nikolay raised his eyebrows.
Yassen took a breath and said:
His friends’ laughter silenced the music coming from the speakers on the bar.
“Stop it!” – Peter was about to spill his beer. – “Oh, no... You’re killing me” – he was giggling.
“The boy wanted a MILF?” – Nikolay kept cackling, rubbing his eyes with the back of his hand.
“OK, keep giggling but your tarts are nothing compared to her” – Yassen smirked.
A new burst of laughter shook the men.
“Couldn’t you catch something... oh... younger?”
“A mom’s boy!”
“Pete, let’s prepare his ad for a matchmaking site, because we’re gonna lose him!”
 “Dude” – Yassen kept smirking. – “Even without ads, I’m way ahead of the curve.”
“Especially having in mind the curve’s age” – the rest of them kept giggling.
“Listen to me, Yassen, I don’t know what’s wrong with you, but pull yourself together” – Peter said in a while. – “I don’t know how that woman addled your wits but give her one if you have a pain in the ass and don’t get yourself in a state.”
“We’ll see.”
“But you’re seriously into that chick!”
“I wouldn’t go so far...”
“It’s your business, pal” – Nikolay raised his beer. – “It’s important there are women. Cheers.”

A half an hour before the end of the workday, Nelly started packing up.
“Katy, the boss, isn’t in. I’ll leave the office earlier” – she whispered to her only colleague who was her close friend.
“Where are you off to?” – the woman looked at her and felt the freshly put perfume. – “You’re so shiny?” – she smiled mischievously.
“Mmm... stuff like that” – Nelly took her bag and went down the corridor energetically.
“There’s something in here” – her colleague jumped and ran after her. – “Who, who, who is he?”
“Nothing serious.”
“Ah, you can’t fool me! I see – you’ve been more cheerful lately” – the two women entered the toilet room and made sure that they were alone. – “Is he cool?”
“He’s handsome...”
“Come on! He was “handsome”...” – her friend pushed her shoulder.
“Well, he’s one meter and eighty-five centimeters tall, with heavy hands, with a well-built, taut body, short, wavy, brown hair; he’s a casual kind of man, a joker, with a good sense of humor, and most of all, tidy. A handsome man...”
Katy perked up and took her hand in her hands.
“You’re killing me! With a good sense of humor, taut body... Where did you find him, Nelly?”
“We’ve just met.”
“Aha! And where can I meet such a handsome man? Tell me something more, please!”
“Now, I have no time. I’m late.”
“Is he married?” – Katy squinted again.
“No, he isn’t” – Nelly answered nasally while she was putting her lipstick on.
“And how old is he?”
Nelly laughed silently, put the lipstick back in her purse, turned around and looked at her colleague’s eyes:
“He’s twenty-seven.”
Katy muted but she pulled herself together quickly.
“Are you mad? Those are nine years of age difference!”
“Benefiting me” – Nelly winked and went to the door.
Katy stayed concerned with her hand on her wrist, and the other one on her forehead.
“You’re killing me... and what do you think you’ll get out of it?”
“I don’t know... wait and see. I’m late. Bye.”
“Mad, mad, mad... good luck!” – her friend yelled after her.

The restaurant was not big but it was exquisite and the most important – it was sheltered and not very famous because it was the thing that had bothered Nelly most of all. There was no way to meet somebody of her environment there; moreover – Yassen had chosen a table in the corner, hidden behind an enormous plant and a thick pillar, covered in dark paneling. He had waited for her in his car with a refined, fragrant rose two blocks away of her office but he had not told her where they were going till the last moment.
The cozy atmosphere, the light, delicious food and wine had made her relax and, slightly dizzy, Nelly had laughed wholeheartedly at Yassen’s jokes who had proved the first impression of being an incomparable gentleman. He himself had drunk nothing but a small brandy with the coffee after the fruit salad. He was sitting leaned back and his wide-open eyes, he admired her, made her slightly thrill.
“How are you?”
“I haven’t felt like that for a long time” – the woman confessed.
“I’m glad you feel well” – Yassen was smiling. – “That makes me feel good, too.”
“It was a really nice evening” – she smiled, too.
“Was? Why “was”? I hoped it hadn’t been over yet.”
“What do you have in mind?”
“I thought we could continue somewhere. In some club or piano-bar... or we might figure out something else...” – the man leaned forward, slightly slid his hand over the table and covered her fingers.
Nelly shivered, she wanted to pull her hand back but something made her stop.
“What... well, I don’t... I don’t know” – she stumbled.
“You don’t know or you don’t want? Wouldn’t you be pleased?”
“No... in contrary” – she could not believe she had said it – “but I, can you understand me...”
“Are you in a hurry? Come on...” – Yassen insisted. – “Would you lose something by enjoying a refined to its end evening?”
“No, of course not...”
“Then what? You’re a big girl” – the man took her palm between his hands. – “I feel calmly when I’m with you, you feel in the same way when you’re with me. I know you like me not less than I’m mesmerized by you... but you’re uptight by your lifestyle loop. You’ve told me about that. I know that it’s so. You’re missing tenderness... let me set you free.”
Nelly was shivering from inside. She hoped that he could not feel that. She did not want the night to be over but she worried.
“Let’s do it like this: we’ll get into the car and you’ll tell me where to drive. I’ll either drive you home or we’ll go somewhere, or I’ll invite you to my place...”
They went out in the cool night without saying a word. The little unlit street was silent and it was the first time when the woman had thanked to the darkness. She sat in the car almost automatically, the man closed the door after her and passed from the other side. She was sitting silently, looking at her. He did not touch her, he did not move, he was waiting. The woman was looking out, then she bent her head, sighed, looked at him and smiled:

“It was fantastic” – she whispered and she really thought so.
She was lying cuddled up on his shoulder, feeling his rapid heartbeats and she felt as if his world had stayed somewhere far, in another dimension. She had not felt anything like that for years and she did not know if she would experience such a night again.
“You’re fantastic” – the man kissed her tenderly.
He was happy, full of energy, strong and cheerful. He was caressing the woman by him slowly, having hugged her as if he wanted to protect her from the entire world.
“What are we going to do... I don’t want it to be over...”
“Why should it be over?” – the man smiled.
“You know what my state is. I could barely go out.”
“I know it though I want to have you every night, every morning to feel the warmth of your skin...”
“It’s impossible” – the woman sighed.
“Never say die!”
“How do you imagine it?”
“Imagine what?”
Nelly leaned on her elbow and looked into his eyes.
“Yassen, I have a child who I’ll never set apart from. Even if we leave aside everything else, how do you think you’re going to take care for a fifteen-year-old teenage?”
“In general, why not?” – the man raised his eyebrows. – “You think I can’t manage? We’re going to become friends and that’s it.”
“She is stubborn even now, she’s oversexed, changes her moods constantly, she’s willful... how do you imagine that you can become friends? You’ll see the world upside down!”
“The important thing is to be together, Nelly.”
“You have no idea what puberty is.”
“Well, yes, but not a big deal, everything will be fine” – Yassen waved his hand.
Nelly was looking at his eyes, then she smiled, caressed him and whispered:
She stood up and started putting her clothes on.
“I have to go.”
“I am coming to give you a drive” – he jumped.
“No, I’ll take a taxi. I prefer not taking the risk to let my husband see me. You’ll have to stop away of my block of flats and I don’t want to walk in the dark.”
Yassen sat on the bed again.
“OK. When will I see you again?”
“I don’t know. I’ll hear from you soon.”

Nelly was sitting in the taxi looking out of the taxi-window. She felt sad but meanwhile – bright. She was thinking about her experience with Yassen, about how much she had wanted to be with him but she realized it would lead nowhere edifying. He was too young and though he was a good man, he had never changed diapers, he had never been over the moon because of the child’s first step, he had never worried about a cold, he had never been in a hurry for school, he had never cared about till late, looking at the clock. He could not understand what all that was. She was grateful for that only magical night but she realized there could never be a second one.

Translated by: Vessislava Savova

25 November 2019

Fear of the Dark

Though the lamps in the coastal park were deployed densely, they formed blurs in the thick tree crowns under which nothing but the vague outlines of the dark trunks could be seen.
“Why should we leave the car?” – Yana whispered while hurrying on the alley.
She knew that the creepy creatures go out only at night and felt the cold sweat on her back just when thinking what could happen if they smell her. She had met them not only once and those meetings were not very pleasant. Moreover – they could be deadly to her though she had escaped them so far.
“Calm down” – Gennady answered. – “We haven’t noticed them so far, even you.”
“Quiet” – she strangled him but it was clear that those creatures were not affected by noise, sounds, even a human voice.
They were moved by another thing and she knew very well what it was. The smell of blood. That impalpable and almost mysterious smell that attracted the bloodthirsty scum that was her hell.
“It’s just your imagination that makes you think you’ve been marked in any way.”
“My imagination?” – she raised her voice but continued silently – “You want to tell me that what has happened to me so many times is only in my imagination?”
Her eyes shone in the dark and the boy felt her anger but only chuckled:
“No, but perhaps it has already been blown over. Even if you had been marked, as you think, even if they had pointed you out as their victim, maybe it’s over because of aging.”
“No way!” – she snapped at him. – “It’s over! I wish it could be over like that.”
“And where do you know it from? Here, I’ve been knowing you for two years but nothing happened to you” – the boy insisted and spread his arms. – “Well, some of those vampires have appeared but nobody attacked you in a way you describe it.”
“Fluke!” – she shook her head and started walking even faster.
They turned on another alley and heard the silent murmur of the brook that passed through the park and down, through the bleak beach flowed into the sea.
“Well, yes. Probably when you age, your blood isn’t as attractive to them as it used to be” – he tried to calm her down.
“You want to tell me that I’m old, don’t you?” – she looked at him.
“Oh... no!” – Gennady sighed and put his arm around her shoulder. – “Why don’t you want to accept what is obvious? They don’t chase you anymore. Probably, they have found another victims who…”
“Don’t explain it to me!” – the girl interrupted. – “Instead of clattering, you had to take the car and not to make us pass through such a wilderness. You know that such places are full of them.”
“Well, we both decided to walk some to that bar on the beach and to shake a leg.” – the boy spread his arms. – “And why didn’t you take…”
Noise spread above them. They raised their heads but saw only the shadow of a little bat who flew in the darkness.
“You don’t know what it is” – Yana sighed. – “You don’t know what it is to feel how they attack you, how you run but they follow you, how they stuck into you, to feel your own blood running down your skin, to feel suffocated to death, how you die but you can do nothing...”
“Well, well, I believe you” – the boy felt almost physically the goosebumps on her body and decided not to contradict her.
He only teased her in that way and that did not make the situation better. He wished he could find a way to make his girlfriend relax and calm down at least a little. “And there’s a chance she doesn’t imagine it and what she tells me to be the truth?” – he thought while walking by her. They crossed the little bridge almost running when suddenly she froze.
“Here they are” – she whispered. – “I can hear them. They’re coming.”
“I can hear nothing” – Gennady lowered his voice.
“Of course you can’t. You’ve never been like me” – she was looking around nervously. – “I’ve developed almost supernatural senses for all those years.”
The boy tried to answer something but Yana ran down the alley. He hardly reached her. She was running to the lights of the roadway beyond the park.
“Not there!” – he yelled. – “Probably the light attracts them.”
“No, it doesn’t” – Yana was out of breath. – “The light has nothing to do with them. They follow me. They’re a lot” – she looked around.
Gennady took a quick look back instinctively but it was pointless. He knew that they were invisible. The girl had already started running through the meadow.
“Don’t! There could be more of them here” – he cried out after her but she did not pay any attention to him.
He was running over the meadow, his ankles were caught by weeds here and there, he stepped on the roots shown above the ground and managed to hold her when she tripped over. They kept running to the roadway – the parking-lot was beyond it.
He shuddered when she crossed the road without looking around. Fortunately, there were not any cars but after all he took a look aside and then he saw them – enormous and scented blood. He reached Yana, opened the car door, they slipped into the car and slammed the doors.
“Awfully!” – she was breathing heavily. – “Finally! And we had to go by car not to leave it at the parking-lot, really.”
“Agree but you don’t forget your bag next time” – the boy answered while she was going through it.
He leaned back and turned on the player. They heard from speakers:

Fear of the dark, Fear of the dark,
I have a constant fear of something’s always near.
Fear of the dark, Fear of the dark,
I have a phobia that someone’s always there.[1]

“Take that song off. It’s nasty” – Yana snapped, took out a flask, threw her bag on the backseat, opened the cork and passed it to him.
“The song is nice” – Gennady chuckled while she was squirting her skin hard. He looked at the little bottle and sighed: – “Well, the allergy, however, isn’t.”
The label said: “Mosquito repellent”.

[1] Fear of the Dark – a song from Iron Maiden.
Translated by: Vessislava Savova

21 November 2019


“All the systems fully operational. The engines work normally.”
“The radio communication is clear as well as the radar.”
“Great. Did you check the oxygen, John?”
“Yes, everything is operational.”
The two explorers looked back at the mothership which was growing smaller imperceptibly, turning into a white flake, raised and descent by the stretched blue moveable hills.
“Close the hatch, it is time to dive” – the project manager said and the two of them settled themselves on the seats in front of the control panels.
The submarine – one almost miniature miracle of the technology – had everything necessary for the successful fulfillment of the mission which supposed two-hour diving at more than three thousand and two hundred fifty meters of depth, three hours of exploratory job and two more hours and a half for floating up. The two explorers’ target was one of the volcanos of the Mid-Ocean Ridge, that swept mainly hot sulfur, carbon dioxide, and other poisonous gases from their depths. The latest measurements made by their scientific group had stated that the water temperature around the crater reached a hundred and ten degrees Celsius but the risk of a recent eruption was almost zero.
According to the madcap for many people theory by professor Cameron, who had been researching the biodiversity of the ecosystems in the Atlantic Ocean around the peaks of the underwater volcanoes turned the ocean bottom into an underwater mountain chain, that halved it from north to the south, undiscovered yet microorganisms existed, for more than ten years. One of the professor’s main arguments was that shrimp colonies that obviously had to eat something existed near the volcanic cones, under the craters that erupted glowing gases. Most of Cameron’s colleagues dismissed the theory as crazy, with the undoubtable argument that there was not a single microorganism able to survive at that temperature and poisonous environment. Only John – his friend since the childhood and a prominent volcanologist, a madcap like him – believed him wholeheartedly and joined the expedition willingly; moreover, it would let him make exceptional of their kind explorations of the bottom volcano and geological structures.
They needed a bit less than two years until the little submarine was build. It had to meet the numerous conditions. They needed also a few more months till they mastered the skill to rule that rather high-technologically scientific instrument than a vehicle but the Day of their Truth had come.
The two explorers were shivering with excitement to see the ocean bottom at the light of the powerful floodlights but meanwhile their stomachs sank when thinking about the millions tones of water that was left behind them.
“We begin the descent” – Cameron murmured.
The cape slightly angled and while one of the men was following the movement direction, the other one was careful not to let the submarine careen.
At first, the golden flashes of the water surface, watched from bellow, and the fish that passed along the small hatches from time to time, created the pleasant feeling of a journey. However, gradually, the darkness among them started gaining density until finally the only spot of light among the gross darkness was the one of the floodlights, the two lamps above their heads and somehow relaxing blue spreading from the little screens and instruments on the panel.
During their training, the two scientists had managed to dive to a depth big enough but had not overcome the feeling of being in a coffin yet. This feeling was reinforced by the burdensome realizing of the fact that the trainings had already been behind their back and then they could rely only on their own skills.
“What depth are we at?” – John asked and Cameron murmured:
“Five hundred and twenty meters.”
The biologist’s voice echoed deafly in the narrow room. The world as if had stayed in some other dimension or rather they had tuned out to be in some nonentity of darkness. The only thing that reminded about the reality existence was the connection with the mothership that had been left some far, far above them.
“A thousand meters” – Cameron reported a while ago, rubbing his chin while gazing at the map and comparing the statements from the three-dimensional graphics of the relief far under them that had been modeled by the sonar.
John felt it like hours had passed since they had left the shipboard but in fact a bit more than thirty minutes had passed.
“Do you really think there could be life down there?” – the volcanologist said not so much in order to get an answer but to break the deafened rumbling of the engines that made the silence stand out more and more and to press them into it.
 “I don’t know...” – Cameron mumbled. – “I have told you; there is a great possibility to find some unknown organisms that had developed or rather that have kept their capability to live in such conditions. After all, you know it not worse than me that the conditions around the craters resemble the ones when Earth life was established largely. Can you imagine it to find organisms that have stayed unchanged since that time?”
“It would be a great deal” – John joked but his words sunk into the ocean’s silence.
“Two thousand meters, the lowering continues normally” – Cameron reported and the information was confirmed by the ship when suddenly something massive ran against the submarine.
“What was that?” – the biologist made buggy eyes.
“A monster?” – John hardly whispered when an enormous tentacle emerged at the light of the floodlights, pushed the blanket up and grandma Nadya bent over the destroyed wall of the submarine.
“Ah, here it is where you hid, vagabonds! Theo, what are you doing there?”
 “Why are you destroying our game?!” – the two explorers sat up from under the desk and started shouting with one voice. – “You disarranged our submarine!”
“What a submarine is chattering in your heads? Hit and run to the kitchen that I have served the lunch and your soup is cooling! Christo! What did you get that colander for?”
“It is not a colander but a pressure helmet!” – the geologist walked away offended and the boys shuffled down the hall.
“It has just started to get interesting...” – the biologist murmured while stirring the spoon in his bowl.
“Never mind! Let’s pretend that this is the submarine canteen and grandma Nadya is the board cook” – his friend said and dragged a little book with an enormous Earth on its cover.
Translated by: Vessislava Savova

08 November 2019

Friday Evening

The work week had finally been over and though the grey sky and the black ice in the streets, the cheerful mood did not leave him on his way home. He had nothing planned for the evening – his wife and he had not planned anything for quite a long time – but after all a whole free weekend was just around the corner; a weekend during which he would relax. He had many work engagements, running from one working place to another and had no time even to see his children but at least for two days, he was about to leave everything aside and to devote his time to all those tiny things he had been leaving from the constant Today for one Tomorrow that kept not coming.
“I’m home” – he snapped the door of the apartment and while he was hanging his jacket, his daughter ran to him, jumping.
“Was it fun today?” – he smiled at her.
“Well, yes, it was. I watched TV, played with the dolls, drew…”
He stroked her head and they entered the living room where his son had stared at the TV-screen. He hardly took his eyes off it for a while, smiled at him by greeted him and got lost into the blasts of some roaring robots.
“Did you remember to buy cigarettes?” – his wife yelled out of the kitchen.
“Don’t you have any?” – he popped his head in from the corridor.
“I ran out of them” – she answered without turning around.
“Well, why didn’t you call me to buy on my way home?”
“OK, don’t worry, I’m going down. God forbid you should give a crap!”
He sighed and smiled. He had not changed his clothes yet and it would be really better he to go to the shop. It did not make sense to spoil his mood.
A few minutes later, he left the pack of cigarettes on the counter top and asked what she had made for dinner.
 “There is some lentil left from yesterday” – she answered while washing some pot.
“Wonderful” – he rubbed his hands and looked at the fridge.
“Wonderful or not, I had no time for anything else.”
“You know each and every dish is neat and tastes good to me” – he raised his eyebrows. – “Why didn’t you have any time left?”
“How’s that “why”?” – his wife stopped washing and turned around suddenly. – “Do you think there is nothing to do in a house?”
“Come on, you work half-time, come home still in the afternoon…”
“So what? Because it is very easy to launder, to hang out the clothes, to study with the children, to clean?”
 “But I told you I’m helping you tomorrow with the cleaning. Why did you start it on your own?”
“If I wait for you…”
“Stop it!” – he got angry. – “You can’t complain I don’t help you!”
“It’s not a big deal to vacuum…”
“… and to mop the balcony, as usual!”
“And now may trumpet fanfare!”
The man forced to control himself and leaned back.
“No need.”
He knew her well, nothing unusual. That would not spoil his mood. He waved with his hand and went back to the living room.
“Children, stop it with this television, let’s play some music!”
He did not get any answer and switched on the amplifier and the speakers, took a look at the discs, chose a Gary Moore’s album and turned up the sound.
“We’re watching a mo-ovie…” – the children cried out almost simultaneously.
“But you spend all day long in front of TV. And I don’t disturb you, watch it” – he grinned.
“But it’s not over yet!”
“I want to listen to music” – he took a look at the screen. – “You watched that yesterday, too!”
“Stop it. I want some things too. Turn off that irradiator and come to play something.”
The boy frowned and the girl, until she was deciding what she wanted to play, it was time for dinner and their mother called them.
They talked about almost nothing while eating. He tried to ask the children about school, what they had done, what interesting things had happened to them, if they had had any problems. While the girl was answering a bit more in details, her big brother, who felt old enough, answered fragmentary.
 “Let’s go somewhere during the holidays” – his wife said.
“I don’t know… we stay just here, go nowhere. I’m fed up doing one and the same.”
“Good idea but… we don’t have enough money. You know, the situation is tight with that big repairmen we made.”
“Well do something. How long have I been speaking to you to go out of the city for a few day but you don’t want to.”
“It’s not true that I don’t want to. Just we can’t do it now.”
“You can never do it for us!” – she was rotating her spoon in the plate. – “The other people always find a way.”
The man pushed his empty plate, rested his elbows on the table and looked at her.
“We’ve talked about that several times. If you want, we can discuss it again one-on-one in the other room.”
“What to talk about? You know only your role.”
“Well, find some money and we’re leaving” – he raised his eyebrows. – “If you’re not satisfied, find another job where they pay more than the miserable salary you get now.”
“Why am I supposed to find money?” – she raised her voice. – “How can the rest of the men do it?”
He laughed.
“Well, I’m such – not being able to do it.”
He knew it – that conversation would lead to nowhere and stood up. Quarrels like that were at all times. He remembered about a movie that a colleague of his had recommended and which he was about to watch.
“As usual, you’ll slip out while I’m doing the washing up…” – he heard.
“Of course, dear, could I deprive you of the opportunity to nag at me?” – he answered cattily. – “Pull yourself together! You wanted me to make children’s beds in order to put them to sleep faster, didn’t you?”
He strained the bedsheet of the lower berth, climbed up the upper bunk to stuff it around the mattress well, threw the blankets and only forty minutes of urging and bouncing around later, the children went to say good night to their mother, he kissed them, turned off the light, went back to the living room, switched the TV-set on and got ready to play the movie.
“Is there anything interesting to watch?”
“A movie with Bruce Willis was recommended to me” – he slammed into the sofa.
“Oh! That would be some action!” – she sighed.
“Not, it wouldn’t. It is not a comedy, too. We’ll see it.”
“I don’t really feel like actions.”
“Well, I told you it wasn’t. You know I’m not much into them, too but I’m fed up of those chick flicks we’ve been watching lately.”
“There was some comedy, right?”
“Wait!” – he leaned forward. – “Isn’t there a way to watch something I feel like watching without you complaining at least once? Is it such a big deal?”
“Why not? You decide what to watch on your own in most of the cases!” – his wife snapped at him.
“Pardon?” – he bristled.
“Oh, don’t give me that. Watch whatever you want. I’m going to bed” – she said and went out of the living room.
“Great!” – he yelled out at her.
He poured a little brandy, pushed the little table and stretched his legs. He was in an excellent mood. Just a weekend was ahead and then he would go back to work.
Translated by: Vessislava Savova