Thursday, October 20, 2011
FICTION: BEHIND WHITE CURTAIN by Valery Petrovskiy
Dad suffered even from a sight of blood, and he never killed a hen nor slaughtered a pig. But I was aware that once he had donated his blood in the name of my Mum still, because she’d had a narrow escape on an operating table then.
With me a doctor would have my blood tested in a moment: one, two and it’s done. But first they make you ready for rather a time: take a seat, then have a proper finger chosen, though it is always just the one, then they wipe it with spirits until take somewhat sharp like a mini-scalpel. Not everyone can stand the procedure, but I was not against it when a doctor suggested me having my blood tested. She was a likable one, youngish for her age, not married or divorced, probably. And she had no child, I felt it immediately, she had such a look, barren if you want.
Possibly for health reasons she could not bear a child or she didn’t find a right man. Or she could have a particular blood group not to have a child with anyone, that’s why she employed at a doctor’s consulting room to make blood tests. And she urged me to have my blood tested. At first I didn’t mind it, the right thing it is, still she didn’t ask my permission. “Just let’s have your blood tested”, she said and left me. She had many things to do I suppose. In doctor's smocks they walked hither and thither all the time at a clinic there talking over the heads of those waiting, as if one was dead already. And I was still alive and a nurse was preparing to have my blood tested.
While she got me ready she was chattering. She said that men were afraid of blood testing nowadays. More and more they refused to do it and ran away sometimes seeing a drop of blood. And one had nothing to fear, there was a couch behind the curtain in a special emergency to lie low, in case one fainted. She pulled the white curtain aside and showed me a couch with dark green leatherette and I shivered all at once: what for they needed my blood? She suggested me taking off a jacket and rolling up my sleeve, left or right one, I don’t remember. But I was frightened to throw off my shoes, she insisted on. I ever had my shoes clean, but one was not allowed to enter a treatment room in boots. With no shoes I got frightened.
It happens so while walking by oneself at an unknown place at night and still not scared. Nothing to fear of in spite of a dark night until you stumble and then your confidence is missing. It’s off as if left at the same spot one had stumbled over. And then it all changes: the moon is from the other world, unknown and unfriendly.
And so it was with me: while shod I was not afraid, may be because in shoes I could take to my heels at any moment. And the nurse was harping on the same tune that the men had made off frightened to get their blood tested. Well, what on Earth they do there with bloody blood!
…So I made off there in somebody’s shoes for the better. I looked round, nothing but mud in the street, I don’t know why, and I went along to a fellow of mine. We had been in the same class and I never saw him since, but I headed to him. And he had married my classmate then, Gahla. And I never was to their place, that’s why I made my way for them may be. So many years passed, and my Dad was two years as dead.
I tramped to them in dirty boots I don’t know whose but I didn’t take them off. And it didn’t seem neat around, gloomy, the floor boarding was like unpainted in dusk, but it couldn’t have grown dark yet. And there was somebody sleeping over there, half-dressed, his back bare. He was lying with his face down right on the floor, not drunken they said, but of grief. His wife had passed away; she had died right in a hospital there because of heavy bleeding, and doctors couldn’t but help her. And he adored her.
Then I saw that it was my Dad there, I knew him by his back, a lean one.
Mr. Valery Petrovskiy is a journalist and short story writer from Russia.
Не is an English Department graduate at Chuvash State University, Cheboksary, graduated in journalism at VKSch Higher School, Moscow and in psychology at Kazan State Technology University. He has been writing prose since 2005.
Some of his writing has been published in The Scrambler, Rusty Typer, BRICKrethoric, NAP Magazine, Literary Burlesque, The Other Room, Curbside Quotidian, DANSE MACABRE, WidowMoon Press, PRIME MINCER, Apocrypha and Abstractions, The Legendary in the USA, and in Australian “Skive” and “Going Down Swinging” magazines.
At the moment he is writer-in-residence at Marco Polo Art Mag.