Syedyshev Oleg
Syedyshev Oleg

Humorous Essays Based on students' memories

"All have died
except for those who are alive, and those whom we remember"Confucius

Essay 65. Was It Love?

All students know that during examinations one must not step on lids of sewer manholes, absolutely must not. Kostya Romashov knew about that as well, when his elder brother was leading him to his first entrance chemistry examination. He really was leading him. Zhenya had already finished his first year at Kemerovo Medical Institute; he was already experienced, and he was thirteen years and five days older than Kostya; so Kostya had to take that into consideration. The matter was that when Kostya arrived from sunlit Kirgizstan, Kemerovo greeted him with rain and cold; and in Kemerovo water had been chlorinated so much that even soup smelled chorine. Kostya, who had grown up on water coming from glaciers, was just disgusted by all that. So in secret Kostya had made up his mind that he would fail the entrance examinations in Kemerovo, return home to his dear Kant, serve in the Army and after that enter a medical institute, but the one in Frunze. Kostya never said that aloud, however Zhenya had penetrating mind. He without any questions locked Kostya in a rented house for him to study for the examinations, and he almost by the hand lead his brother to the first examination. That was a chemistry examination. From Hertsen street to the City Entertainment Center we went by tram and walked to the institute. Kostya tried to protest, saying that we could go one more stop by tram, nevertheless Zhenya said so, and it was useless to argue. On the way to the institute Zhenya himself checked Kostya's knowledge by asking him various tricky questions like a chemical formula of water or nitrogenous acid. They were walking along 40 Let Octyabrya alley, and about fifteen meters ahead of them there was an old lady doddering with big bags.

The brothers were walking and chattering, and suddenly they noticed that the old lady disappeared. She was there and in a moment vanished. The guys together rushed ahead.

"That's what I thought, the sewer manhole lid is open" - Zhenka started scolding Kostya for some reason; as if it was him, who had left the lid open, the lid was near the sewer manhole. Perhaps workers opened the lid and went to a store at Sevastopolskaya street, which was nearby. Zhenka was telling all that to Kostya. And the old lady from the well was crying: "Heeelp... Heeelp...". Zhenya was strong and husky nevertheless he and Kostya had to apply efforts before they dragged the granny out from the well. And then Kostya had to climb down into the well to bring up the food, which had fallen out of the bags. It was amazing that the old lady was safe and sound. She was just croaking: "How could this happen? What's this?" And the guys hurried to the exam. Kostya got and excellent grade; and Zhenya did not miss a chance to tell him, that it was a good sign to help someone before an exam.

And why am I telling about Kostya and Zhenka? I myself had an experience...
Like I have written before, I finished secondary comprehensive school at Kedrovskiy opencast mine. A situation I want to tell you about took place at the beginning of summer 1966. We were finishing our tenth grade. Our mood was great, because we would finally leave the so much hated, as it seemed to us then, school; escape from boring teachers. We were already adults. Final examinations were very close. And it happened so that I fell in love with my classmate Tanya Chubarova. It was necessary to study for the examinations, but I felt itching in certain part of me, and my legs lead me away from home to Tatiana. She too had to study, but also with pleasure escaped from home. In the center of the town, right in front of our school and between a stadium and houses there was a huge clearing of several hectares with a grove.

That was where we liked to walk; we were in the center, and at the same time kind of in a grove, hidden from curious looks. Every evening for several hours in a row we walked kilometers around or were sitting on logs in quiet places. On the day of the Last Day at school Tatiana and I had also a date; and we had agreed that we would have a walk around the clearing. It is hard for me to say, what we were talking about for hours then. We did not keep silence, we were talking nonstop, quite often argued, tried to persuade each other in something. Yes, our communication was enthusiastic and, perhaps, interesting for both of us, as soon as both of us were striving to it.
At the hour agreed I was already impatiently waiting at the water tower, next to which Tanya lived. She was never late to a date and never came earlier; it was me who was a fidget, and came thirty minutes before the time. At those days there were no cellular phones, or I would have annoyed Tatiana with my calls during those thirty minutes. There were no cell phones, but Lesha Borichev, also my classmate, lived next to the water tower. So I used to come to him and ask for a permission to make a telephone call. Tatiana reprimanded me, that I interfere with her getting ready and myself keep her long, but never hung up on me. Finally Tatiana came out of her house and we went along our favorite rout. I was telling Tanya something very interesting. I was talking loudly, gesticulated, and she was walking by my side saying yes to me. And suddenly I realized that for quite a long time I did not here from Tatiana her "Yes" or "It's unbelievable". There was silence. I turned around; there was nobody nearby at all. I started calling Tanya. There was silence. I walked back and in twenty or thirty meters saw the following scene: on a path literally from under the ground Tatiana was seen up to her bust. She stepped on an open sewer manhole lid and fell into the well, but opened her arms and was holding that way.

The sewer manhole's lid was in a vertical position in the middle of the hole, Tatiana was leaning against it. Luckily the well turned to be not deep; Tanya was standing on some huge valve. However she could not get out by herself. The lid did not allow her to do that, and her feet slipped down from the valve. She was not saying a word. She did not cry, just was silent. I ran up to her grabbed her by arms and started pulling her up, and there suddenly Tanya shouted at me: "Rascal, you left me alone..." and she made a move to slap me. She'd better not. I was holding her by her arms and her arms were apart, I had almost pulled her up. And there she decided to start a fight; she raised her right hand to hit me and slid down into the well. I burst into laughter. I asked her, why she had been silent, had not called for me immediately, and she was scolding me nonstop. I made a try to pull her up, but because of the laughter my hands became weak, and I again let her go down into the well. Poor Tatiana, she thought I was playing a mean trick on her. Finally, I somehow managed to free her out of the well, and she after calling me a scum once again rushed back home. Probably because of the stress she was running so fast that I could not run her down. I was crying to her: "Tanya, I am sorry; it was not my fault..." That was useless, she was running only faster because of my words. She did not answer my telephone calls; she picked up the receiver, but after she heard my voice hung it up. I tried to wait for her at the water tower, but as soon as she noticed me, she turned around and hurried back home.

Together with Lesha Borichev we were figuring out what I had to do, but could think of nothing. Because of despair we smashed all windows at our history teacher's apartment. A young single woman was hysterical because of her loneliness and lost her temper during classes. We hated her with our whole class. So we waited till it was midnight or even one in the morning, and together with Lesha using sticks we smashed windows at her place, in the kitchen and her room. Idiots we were. The woman lived in a one-room apartment on the first floor. Yes, love does wonders, it gives wings to someone, and someone becomes stupid. I do not mean Lesha Borichev. Then there were final exams, and after them Tatiana had a date with Vadik Smolenko; and I was kind of indifferent to that. So was it love?

22 September, 2011.

© Copyright: Oleg Syedyshev, 2012
Publishing licence #21207230556

Translated by Viktoria Potykinato content