• Ruslan

Imaginary passion

This is one of those love stories when you meet a person and realize that you're totally blown away. When you wake up early in the morning, after two hours of sleep, and realize that you won't fall asleep anymore because she must be already awake. When she tells you to let her go, but you do everything to win her back. This is a story about my close friend's feelings, a crazy desperate violin teacher who is in love with "the Phantom of the Opera."

- And how much does this b*tch pay me..? - exclaimed puzzled Umberto, having a cigarette in one hand and an open contract pages in another. The young man was quite surprised after having received payment for the previous month that didn't meet his expectations. - Oh, sh*t! She complains not only about my hobbies, that is not her business, but she also plays with the money that I've earned. I will give her! She will go tomorrow to teach children how to play the violin herself. – Umberto has taken a puff of a cigarette and, slowly enjoying, expelled bitter, toxic smoke into the foggy air. The last days were hectic. That's why Umberto allowed himself to smoke one or two cigarettes a day to clear his head from a whining violin that was scraping all days long in his ears. It could not be said that his job was boring or overloaded, but something was missing in his everyday routine. Something, that, possibly, could make him happy, something that could make his heart pounding, and the violin strings in his head play more vigorously.

When you don’t hope to find love, suddenly, it comes. But when you're waiting for it, desperately, you start to build one by yourself.

This happened to Umberto. One early morning, he got out of his bed hesitantly, made himself a cup of coffee, and went to the terrace. One early morning, he put on a neatly ironed shirt and cotton pants. One early morning, Umberto went out of his room to come back with someone else.

Her face was not really beautiful, and her body was far from being perfect. What would make my desperate friend fall in love with her? Perhaps, a no-win situation? For five years, the violin teacher has been teaching children the art of playing the instrument, day by day, putting his personal life deep into the bedside table. None of his school colleagues could outdo him. Some worked longer than him, but many others came and left every six months, especially at the department of foreign languages. Like butterflies, who flew to the bright light of prestige, prosperity, and scientific atmosphere, they burnt their wings. In the end, they flew back home to heal their wounds from ungrateful kids. Umberto, being a professional, bore all the bites of fate. He shared all his sorrows and joys, feelings, and fears with the only one who would understand and remain silent, hear out and surrender, his violin. He could spend nights bowing across the strings, he could merge with her in romance and tragedy, sonnet and ode, without letting her out of his hands.

In our opinion, love as a concept of certain feelings, does not exist. There are crush and respect, affection and sympathy, mutual benefit and comfort, passion, and sense of responsibility. All the rest that people tend to call love is just a cocktail of the feelings mentioned above. How can we compare the mother's warmth to her firstborn and the husband's attitudes of the to his wife? Fan perceptions to a super-star and warmth of a young couple who has just met each other on the other side of the world far away from home? How can we call all of this just "love"? "Sex on the beach," "Margarita," "Cosmopolitan," "Mojito" – are the names of cocktails, which will undoubtedly, cloud your vision and make you fall into oblivion. But don't forget that every cocktail has its own unique taste and effect, its original composition.

My dear Umberto likes to joke that he used to add poison into all his cocktails, and the women either run away or die. Indeed, I don't know how he does it, but he could not get successfully drunk any of his girls in recent years, though being a tall, charming man.

Their eyes locked during a lunch break in a school canteen. Umberto's mistress was standing in a line for mushroom cream soup in a light floaty dress, gently coating her body like meringue. He was gloomily sitting at a corner table, unwillingly putting potatoes into his full stomach. I don't know what she felt, but Umberto's face froze for a moment, later I called this face expression "halfway to chew potatoes," his eyes were down on one of the points on her face, and then he blushed. In a few seconds, Umberto looked like a ketchup bottle that was at the corner of the table. -Man, potatoes went straight through the liver? - I anxiously looked at my friend. His hands were frozen halfway to his mouth. There was no answer. I traced to the direction he was looking at and realized that I didn't need the answer anymore. She took her soup with downcast eyes, went to the other corner of the canteen, and then disappeared around the corner.

I knocked three times at his door. There came no sound except for Adele's song flowing from the speakers.

…I must have called a thousand times

To tell you I’m sorry for everything that I’ve done

But when I call you, never seem to be home…

In desperation, I touched the handle and opened the door. The strong smell of alcohol struck my nose (as if I was in one of those hospital rooms where a patient been operated). I walked down the hall and found a broken bathroom door and a cracked phone screen that was near the pot with dracaena. The entrance to Umberto's room was wide open ("Thank God, it was not knocked out" – I thought). Entering the bedroom, I saw my unhappy friend curled up on the rug. His hands, clasping his head and covering his face, trembled, and his toes nervously clenched and unclenched as if helping to pour out the chords of the new song.

...I find it hard to tell you

I find it hard to take

When people run in circles

It’s a very very

Mad world, mad world...

I got down on my knees and hugged Umberto. - I knew she would come back. She couldn't just quit her job because of this situation - I said with a feeling of sorrow in my voice trying to show my friend that he was not alone. - But I've already been through all of this! And she appears again - tears fell down Umberto's cheeks. He raised his head and propped his chin with his hands, - It's like she brought a spark into smoldering coals inside of me, and here is the result. It's fire! The fire I can't control. I think I've lost my mind. Umberto's restless gaze ran around the corners of the room as if trying to find an answer, a way out, a solution that was hiding from him on purpose. As much as I wanted to comfort my friend, I could not find the right words. I knew it was just madness, mental confusion, a hangover after another cocktail that must sooner or later go away. Remembering all the stories and messages being transmitted to me online, I reflected upon my memories for a while.

Exactly one week ago, I was with my blushing friend at the cafeteria. Yet, now I see someone who obviously lost his presentable appearance. Everything happened really fast between Umberto and Mandy. On the first night when my friends and I were waiting for him at the bar, I got a message: "Sorry, I can't get enough of her. I'll try to be at the bar soon". Which was a long time coming: being hungry for a woman's body, Umberto didn't mind to "take" her on the first date. The very next day, I observed my friend's behavior. I noticed some changes that didn't forecast any good. Being irritable and depressed, Umberto told me that she had lunch with another colleague and ignored his messages. I was trying to calm him down. I told him that he needed to wait until the feelings get more intense. But he wanted everything and immediately: passion and loyalty. The day after, she was already running away from the school with her packed suitcase to another city. The reason was, of course, my jealous friend. Angry and frustrated with her ignoring, he burst into her house at night and made a scene being drunk. She agreed to everything, accepted everything, and fell asleep with him only not to give her neighbors something to gossip about. A reputation in society was in the first place for her, it was more important than her feelings or even her body. It was tough to remember the last weekend. Umberto was trying to escape to another city and find her. I noticed that he stopped eating at the cafeteria and kept putting empty bottles of brandy out of his door.

My friend's voice interrupted my memories: - You do remember how hard it was for me to forget her! But, see, she comes back! When I saw her this afternoon in the hall, I just stunned still. The heart began to beat more often, the abdomen flattened, and seething blood struck in my head. But what did she do?! She turned around and walked away. She pretended not to see me, pretended that she hadn't spread her legs in front of me! Umberto stood up, pour more brandy into his glass, and lit up a cigarette. -Will you join me? I nodded and went to the kitchen to take a clean cup.

Refreshed and cheerful, Umberto shared his wisdom with me. He sat in front of me a couple of days later: - I've come up with a straightforward but overwhelming conclusion. Every time I fail is just because I've built some air castles on the very first night. When I meet a person, I manage to set up not only the castle itself, but also organize the living room, the kitchen, the toilet, and the bedroom... But that's not all. I even manage to determine "a seat for everyone at the dining table." I don't allow a guest to choose a chair. -Man, I am happy that you have finally made a reasonable conclusion. A lot of girls had a crush on you. But you didn't give them "your cocktail" just because you wanted to chase them. You want to get drunk with somebody else's cocktail. You definitely aren't fond of wildcats. Umberto slid down and landed on a soft mat. - It doesn't matter if she stays at the school, it doesn't even matter if she lives with her new boyfriend. I will find the strength to resist the temptation to restore my castle in the air, which with such power, crashed into earthly life. I won't let myself sink in illusions. I should focus on myself. That's what I need now! Umberto emptied the glass, took the last puff of a cigarette, and threw a nearly full pack of cigarettes into the window.