Sometimes I think I need to stop. Need a break. Days fly so fast and I’m so tired. Every hour seems to take something away from my life, then only weakness is left. So many things before us. Books, music, calls, e-mails and so on. We plan to visit Italy next month, but by the time we may be dead. Is there happiness in such a rush? I want some kind of stillness – one everlasting, single. I’m tired. Dreaming for the place I haven’t known before, a perfect place where I can breathe and think and work.

Somewhere in the middle – when I sink into sleep for the fifth time – I’m half awakened by my heartbeat. It’s hardly possible to sleep to these pulsations, which vibrate strangely inside. And then – coldness from the slow fall into another dream.

The room, the bed. The flat, the house full of people. My anguish won’t calm down, I won’t sleep. The curtains tightly drawn, red-orange streetlight passes through them; lamps are swinging in the wind. My heart beating is everywhere, I can’t breathe deeply, it stops now.

One day follows another. I look in the mirror in the dark. The body, this soap bubble, hides the internal organs – hot, inflamed. I try to stretch my body to stop this nervousness, but nothing goes. And suddenly – a word appears in my head:

Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires.

This word – like a joint, a set of sounds – enters my mind out of nothing. It came without a context, it appeared without a reason, in silence – or, what’s even better, in emptiness. And this word, these sounds strangely soothes my anguish. Buenos Aires.

I’ve never been to Buenos Aires.

This word came into my mind as if not associated with anything. It appeared free. Free of poetry, politics or seafaring – the effect of these sounds is not connected with anything. This word tranquillized me. I fall asleep.

In the morning, I still found its promising effect and it became my lee shore. When I felt that nervousness was ready to swallow me, I just called it to myself. And anxiety was gone. Such a thing never happened before.

I started to recall everything I could that was connected with Buenos Aires. There was a lot, but nothing had the desired echo.

Days kept starting. The stomach full of water. I used my word many times. I watched many videos – the surface of the ocean, river flows. It rained – water was on this and that side. Digital drops fell not only on the screen. I dreamt of this word and of this place – where I’d never been to. In my dreams it was rather a feeling than a place, but still it was an option to go to. I could go there, I could be there –

Day by day, the word started to dissolve in the flow. One night when the curtains were tightly drawn, and red-orange streetlight was passing through them, the sounds dissolved, the word didn’t work. The needle and the soap bubble.

I finally fall asleep, slowly, into another dream. Buenos Aires.


Yaroslava Zakharova, MA, postgraduate student, the Institute of Russian Literature (the Pushkin House), Russian Academy of Sciences

Edited by: Olga Burenina-Petrova, University of Zurich & University of Konstanz and Konstantin Bogdanov, Russian Literature Institute (Pushkin House), St. Petersburg

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