Дана Жетеева

Страна: Казахстан

Меня зовут Дана и я участвую в этом конкурсе уже не первый раз. И вот после небольшого перерыва я решила вновь отправить заявку в рубрике “Литературный перевод”. На этот раз я выбрала отрывок из рассказа Виорики Солинка “Брак или Союз”, поскольку тема мне показалась очень близкой по духу.

Country: Kazakhstan

My name is Dana and it is not the first time when I participate in this contest. So, after a small break, I decided to send my application in the category “Literary translation” again. This time I chose an excerpt from a short story “Marriage or Union” written by Viorika Solinka as I think this topic is relatable.

Отрывок из перевода  Виорика Солинка “Брак или Союз”

Excerpt from the short story “Marriage or Union?!”



They say that marriages are made in heaven! Yes, just like that; only it’s not marriages but unions. And it changes a lot — you will see it when you finish reading this narrative. The story I am about to tell you is real and not made up at all. The names are changed, but facts remain.


It was a hot August day. Quite impossible to breathe freely, and the shade, as ill luck would have it, almost disappeared. Maxim climbed the cliff wall at the seashore and quietly watched the incoming waves that gently touched and then softly rolled back from the precipitous rocks. That quiet murmur of the waves soothed a bit, and the light breeze allowed him making a deep breath and helping him dry the moist face from the endless stream of his sweat.

He looked over the edge, and the bottomless sea pierced back into his hazel eyes. He had no desire to jump at all… and it was not the reason why he came there today. All uptight, Maxim opened his cigarette pack and started smoking. His thoughts were jumping like in a slide show. There was something to think of.

Sometimes Maxim visited an orthodox church. Once, he tried to talk to a churchwoman about the visions that haunted him since the moment he remembered himself, though he mentioned that he was asking that for his friend. To what he received quite a disturbing response:

“Son, tell your friend who has those visions that he needs to run to the church! He needs to repent, take communion, and make a confession to the priest! Let him come to God, to our church! It’s the Evil One that dallies with him! It’s all from Satan, the damned one!” The old woman moaned, crossing herself three times, shaking her head, and headed home, mumbling, and wailing something under her breath.

After such ‘revelations’, Maxim was seen less at the services of worship and celebrations. Completely forlornly, he started exploring himself, but the conversation with himself did not go so well… He needed someone who could at least listen to him and be silent next to him. Being an adult already, for so many times, he tried to strike up that conversation with Lilly and explain to her, using his life experience, that those ‘Deja Vu’s’ of his came true, and the images stayed too. That he experienced the same emotions every time. He wanted to see the eyes of a loving and understanding person. But Lilly absolutely refused to keep up such conversations. And he remained all by himself.


Maxim was married. Had two little kids. Worked… sometimes without sleep and rest. And it was clatter and chatter at home and there was his wife… And how well it all started. Though, one might still think about it, whether it was good or just emotional, or a sort of his way out of the current state of affairs.

Some sullen loneliness stuck inside him, and it felt impossible to get rid of that feeling.

“Well, I am not that guy, I am not… like everyone else… But why? It hurts so much! No, I don’t want it that way!!!” He shouted to the sea, and it quietly chimed in with its airy echo.

Anxiety burdened his Soul. Sorrow and some frustration kept doing their work, nagging and giving him no rest. Restless thoughts were carrying him away to the past, where memories of his childhood intertwined with some weird ‘pictures’ from his life. And yet again:

“Déjà vu…” he exhaled bitterly.

A gust of wind brought him back for a second from that state of transfixion; he staggered, hardly maintaining his balance:

“Why does it happen to me?” He whispered to himself. “Why is everything different from other people? Why do I need this all? God! I don’t even have anyone to talk to!” He shouted again in despair.

But nobody heard him except for the abyss of the endless Black Sea that entirely devoured that heartfelt cry of his. The desire to jump from the cliff and dissolve in oblivion was irresistible. Yet, he had no heart to do it… and not because he just couldn’t – something held him ‘on the surface’ and did not let him go the length of that last step.

“I’m not a coward, am I? I am not afraid! I absolutely don’t care what will be then…” he repeated these words over and over again, like a tongue-twister. However, it did not bring him consolation, and that eagerness to make that last step toward the abyss did not come. Maxim became vexed at himself:

“Coward! You’re a flimsy sissy, a slug! You’re good for nothing, even for such a little thing as dying, you are not able to commit! Miserable man you are!” And then suddenly, after all these reprimands, something shrunk inside him. His heart started racing. There was weakness in his legs and his knees clenched by themselves. He squatted. The word ‘Angel’ dashed through his mind. Manly tears ran down from his eyes and turned into a roaring waterfall with growling and splashes of separate abrupt phrases and moans that hovered above him like an echo. And in his head, pictures appeared from his childhood like subliminal frames that quickly changed one after another.

Maxim never saw or knew his parents. He grew up in an orphanage since his birth. There were many of those like him. Not many of those children were lucky in their lives to receive warmth and care from their foster parents. Maxim and Lilly met right there and left the orphanage at the same time. Lilly remembered her birth mother and alcoholic father. After her mother’s death, her father was deprived of his parental rights, and they had no other close relatives. The girl was sent to the orphanage when she was five. At first, she cried a lot, then she was silent, sitting quietly in the corner while other children were playing with each other.

There was this other boy of the same age as she was. He did not even try to start playing with anyone. He just sat quietly on his little chair, looking through children’s brochures or out of the window, somewhere far. The eyes of this boy made the entire orphanage personnel uneasy, as those were the eyes of an adult who figured life out. That kid’s name was Maxim. Despite the fact that he basically did not know a thing about the world out there, did not remember his parents, and, in fact, he had no one to pine after — he was always in solitude, and only when somebody addressed him, he started smiling with his naïve and bewildering childish smile.

Thus, sitting in different corners of the room, Lilly and Maxim found each other. They seemed to understand each other without a word. And they grew up together. Lilly’s father died, and she inherited the apartment. After leaving the orphanage, the children decided that they should stick to each other, as neither Lilly, nor Maxim had any desire to get used to other people:

“Why should I look for anybody if I have you! Well… If you don’t like me, of course??? Then I will search for someone… Though why would I change something that was offered to me by my destiny?!” Lilly said when they were sitting in a café celebrating March 8th.

Maxim presented her with a big bouquet and a flask of perfume. She accepted the gift from him and kissed him on the cheek. Their conversation was tough. The decision to make was responsible, but something inside him gave him no rest. Something was definitely off! Those visions of his, those colourful pictures — Déjà vu’s, as he often called them, or:

“Hey… just watched that movie of mine again!” He would laugh at himself now and then.

Lilly stopped paying attention to that when they were still kids. At first, it was interesting for her, but then it became annoying because she did not understand what he was talking about.

Gradually, she learned how to ignore his stories. He was not a dumb guy. Having realized that Lilly was not interested in what was going on with him, he stopped telling her about the Déjà Vu’s, which he had experienced.

Often, he was trying to tell those ‘stories’ in the orphanage just to understand whether other people experienced them or not. However, nobody else said anything except him, and the caretaking personnel would turn everything into a joke all the time:

“Oh, that storyteller of ours!” The caregiver would say, laughing.

“Well, no, he’s a daydreamer! He would probably become a fantasy writer!” His teacher was guffawing.

“Oh, why are you laughing at the boy? What does he know?! Neither love nor parental care. That’s why he’s making up all these various stories,” the orphanage psychologist would say with an air of a lawyer who was diligently working off her salary.

So, right there, at that café, the young couple made their final decision. They left the table and headed straight to the Civil Records Office. Lilly had a good flat that required some refurbishment, at least a ‘cosmetic’ one, and Maxim lived in a dormitory. Therefore, their mutual decision was good for both of them. After a while, they received the ‘Certificate of marriage’ and it seemed that the young people were the happiest in this world!

Maxim made the repairs in the flat. Lilly was pregnant with their first baby. It seemed that there was nothing they would need to dream about. But periodically, the newlyweds stumbled upon problems and difficulties. And they were expressed as not understanding each other. While they had been living separately and were just friends, each of them knew they could rely on their faithful friend one hundred percent. But as soon as they entered into marriage — everything changed unrecognizably. (to be continued…)


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