It seemed as if the snowstorm would not stop. It had been howling as a hungry wolf for a week or ten days. As the electric lines had been cut down in most blocks of the city over the last three days, one part of the city was in fierce darkness. Gas had been cut off since the snowstorm started. And now it seemed the water pipes were going to freeze... as if when in tight shoes, pressed under the frost and made to squeak.
As it was getting dark, Talib's soul was gradually filled with fear.
A short time before the start of the snowstorm, a white-beard noble-looking man in white dress came into his dream. That man took him by the hand, awakened and frightened, leading Talib after himself and brought to an endless strange place rather like a snow-white desert... and just left him there and disappeared. Talib was left alone there in that desert full of wind roaring... and then it happened so, that he felt the land moving under his feet... later on Talib looked down and saw that the place where he had been standing as a statue so long was a stage... a little bit ahead, at the foot there was a huge orchestra with lots of musicians with musical instruments in their hands waiting for his signal... Talib then could keep his crying just on the stage...he could feel the familiar warmness of his soul that he had forgotten long, long time ago, as he did in the past, sleeked down his hair and raised his hand... though he closed his eyes, made a signal to the orchestra to start, but the orchestra didn't play... then Talib's hands went down, his knees and heart shook in fear, and he stood there motionlessly as he was frozen ... the musicians threw their instruments aside, in a hurry they climbed up the hall, made a deep ditch in the middle of the hole, then they stepped on the stage, with their hands cold as iron, held him by the arms, dragged him to the hall and knocked him down into the ditch... And they threw the violins and violoncellos that they had in their hands waiting for his signal on his dead body and started to cover with soil... As the soil reached his mouth, filled his neck, the violins' sharp wooden tips punched a hole in his ribs and chest, the snowflakes were the last thing that Talib had seen in this world...
It was the snow that had started in his dream... and it had been snowing for ten days... As the whirl arose within the snowstorm, it got off the ground and struck the windows, as if the glass longed to be broken and entered the room as in his dream and fell on Talib...
... He got up, opened the table-drawer, took the tablets and put them under his tongue one after another, went to the window and looked at the city lost in the snowstorm behind the curtain. The city was not seen.
There wasn't any phone call the whole day. It seemed as if all his relatives, acquaintances and friends had been frozen and had disappeared in the storm. Or maybe they had gone or moved somewhere...
- Talib, Talib...
- Yes, dear.
It was his old wife calling him. She was very tiny when she was young, and now she was old and she was almost in the size of a hazel-nut; she was lying as a rabbit in the middle of the bed and one end of the blanket could cover her whole body, and looking at him with her small, lively eyes.
- I am a little afraid.
- What are you afraid of?
- What a strong snowstorm, Talib!
Do you ever remember such a storm in Baku?
He squatted at the foot of his wife, put his hand on her icy forehead:
- How is your heart now?
- Better,- she answered and swallowed.
- Please, try to fall asleep.
- I am always sleeping the whole day. I am
bored of it.
- It will be helpful if you sleep more.
- This year we have late spring. March is
going to end, but there's no sign of spring.
- It will come, why are you so in a hurry?
You have been so impatient since you were young,- Talib said and just then retracted for his behavior.
Every time there were some talks about her youth, the old woman became disappointed, and her small, wrinkled face crumpled and almost turned into a dot.
- What is the first sign of the spring, do you know?
- What? I can't hear you?
- I am thinking.
- There's nothing to think about.
- Apparently it can be rain
- Yes, rain... That rain has specific
- Scent? Does water have scent?
- Don't you know? Spring rain always
- You always speak the wrong way about.
As grass grows after rain, it smells grass everywhere.
- Yea, you are cleverer than me.
- Winter is going to end. Very soon it
will be warmer, birds will sing their songs, the electricity will be restored, the TV will work...
- The telephone doesn't work, does it?..
Nobody has called today. We seem to be on an island.
His wife's words made his body shiver. Again he remembered his horrible dream.
... Talib stood up, dragging his slippers into the kitchen. It was very dark in the kitchen; its small window frames were rattling because of a strong wind.
His hands were looking for candles in the drawer; he found the remaining half candle left from yesterday, lit it, placed it on the saucer and with his trembling hands took it to the room...
It seemed as if the frigid storm air had filled the room. The cold wind was howling through the dark entrance and waving the curtains horribly.
Talib put the candle on the dining table and sat on the chair nearby.
The woman was silent, her small head, tiny, bony hands resembling a bird's claw were seen under the blanket. She was lying and staring at the ceiling without saying a word.
Talib took the candle and placed it on the bedside table and when he drew himself up, he reeled. Ir was again his heart... it had become weak, and felt like weakening the whole body. "Even no medicine helps any more".- Talib thought.
- Talib, Talib...
- Yea, dear.
- As if the medicine didn't make an effect
on me any more.
Talib sat on the mattress at the downside of the bed, breathed in and said:
- My dear, it is because you have caught a
cold.- Cold contrasts the vein and doesn't allow the blood to flow. - He wanted to add that "Maybe I will bring some hot water and place your feet in it", but remembered that there was neither gas nor water.
- Don't you want to fall asleep?
- No. - The woman shook her head as a
tiny sparrow did, then had a blank look.
- I am afraid.
- What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of
The woman said "yes" by shaking her head.
- I am here, what are you afraid of? - he
said and looked at the woman's inexpressive face.
- When you are with me, I am afraid of nothing,- the woman responded at last, gazing at the ceiling. -You are strong. The doctor said so too. Do you remember what the doctor has said?
- Yes, he has said that.
He realized that he had no force to speak, his heart as light of a hand lamp that was going out...
- But please, say something.
- What am I to say?
- What the doctor has said.
- He said that I was very healthy.
The woman drawled the end of the word "Yesss" and as if she relaxed, then jerkily yawned.
Talib rubbed his eyes, carefully looked at her face and his heart nearly stopped.
One side of her mouth had been curved . He didn't see when it had happened. And the worst thing was that the woman didn't feel that her mouth had curved. He gazed at his wife's mouth and became very emotional; his eyes were in tears, remembered that short woman's youth, her white plain skin, attractive eyes... Now there is no trace of all these any more. Everything was going to end, finish up and fade...
While thinking like that, his heart was getting weaker, but the snowstorm was getting stronger. The woman caught her husband's sight and pulled the blanket up to his nose with her weak hands.
- Why are you pulling it up? You will be
short of breath,- Talib said and tried to take off the blanket from her face, but the woman didn't let him do it:
- Don't look at me,- she chirped under
- Why, dear?
- My mouth seems to have become
- It seems to you.
The snowstorm became intense and again
shook the window frames as if it enjoyed frightening this lonely couple in a half-dark, cold room on a solitary island.
- Talib... - the woman's voice was hardly
audible from under the blanket.
- Would you allow me to die?
Even though Talib was fed up with the words he had heard, he smiled at her by force:
- As long as I am alive, I will not allow you
to leave me.
On hearing these words, the old woman's sunken eyes twinkled in the ecstasy of joy.
And Talib occasionally stumbled and could feel one by one his heart's weak muscles... His heart muscles had already become feeble and he could somehow exactly feel them. His heart didn't obey him any more. His heart even rejected the medicine.
Then maybe because of frightful roaring of the storm or the darkness of the room hurt his heart and at once he couldn't take a breath... Several times he beat the middle of his chest and only then from the deep inside of his chest, he felt how air bubbles like those from under water, filled his throat.
He thought: maybe it would be better to dress, swaddle his wife and on all fours to go out?! But then he remembered that there was no light. So, as the building lift didn't work, how would they be able to go down and climb up? He was deeply shocked when he remembered that the lift was out of order. So, they would have to stay at home - in the "sky" until the storm abated...
It was strange,- Talib thought, massaging his chest and leaning his elbows on the bed-wood, the neighbors' voices were not heard either. As if they all had moved to somewhere afar, warm and light areas. Now his old wife and he were alone in the unseen city lost in the snowstorm...
- It seems that the spring will not come.
- How can this be?
- Why not? - while the woman was talking
she seemed to be suffocating.
- Do you mean that the summer will come
immediately after the snowstorm ?
- Yea. I hate summer. When it is hot, my
blood pressure comes down.
Talib felt his eyes grow dark and cold sweat cover his body.
He could hardly draw himself up and crossed his legs over.
- Please, dear, don't talk, don't weary
yourself. You shouldn't speak.
- I am afraid of silence.
- Then I can clearly hear the sound of the
wind. And the wind is shaking the window frames.
- Nothing to be afraid of. When the wind
blows, the window frames will shake.
The wind feels like doing something.
- What does it feel like?
- I don't know.
- Can you hear how it is howling? As if it
were crying. My heart is bored.
- I did tell you not to talk.
Talib somehow pulled himself together and leaned towards his wife, kissed her on the forehead with his dried lips:
- Lie calm, let me talk and listen.
- Talk Talib, but talk more. And please,
Talib took a breath, like people planning for a long time travel, licked his lips with his dried tongue, took a short rest, then sorted out his throat and spoke in a very low voice, almost whispering:
- Winter is going to end. Now grasses and
flowers are shooting, but in a drowsy state under the ground... buds of the trees as buttons came together and are waiting for the end of the snowstorm. Birds, like us, are hidden somewhere and dosing off listening to the voice of the snowstorm. I say so because I want you to fall asleep too. You also look like a bird. I have told you about it, if you remember...
His heart stopped again... He didn't want his wife to see him, sat sideways, and slowly massaged his chest. His heart was beating slowly and stopping like an engine without petrol, it was the last heartbeat...
- Yea, why did you go silent? What bird do
I look like?
- Summer is near here. I feel it. In the
morning when you get up, you will see that this dark room is full of light. As you know, this room is the brightest one in the flat. If you remember, in summer you always have curtains on the window with close texture to prevent the sunshine rushing in and grey the wallpapers and the piano. Where are those curtains?
- Curtains? Which curtains?
- The summer curtains, I mean. The
curtains with peacocks on it. Those peacocks all look like you. Haven't I told you about it?
- You seem to have told me about it. Yea,
you really have told me about it.
- And you still look like a peacock.
- You speak, and my heart works well.
And you always find such pleasant words to say! You should have become a writer...
The wind whirled again and pulled out something by the root on the roof. Maybe it was an antenna or hardware on the roof; then thunder was heard.
Due to the thunder the woman hid her head under the blanket, after a while looked out, kept her breath and carefully listened to the thunder... Suddenly her eyes sparkled:
- It is thundering... Talib! Can you hear?
It shouldn't thunder at this time of a year. But can it thunder in winter?.. Maybe it is raining?.. Stand up and look through the window. You were right. Spring is just nearby. Now I remembered where that curtains with peacocks were. In the wardrobe outside, on the upper shelf. And they are clean, last month I washed them and ironed. Do you remember that I even broke a nail while rinsing them. My nails have grown old too. Talib, why don't you speak? Please, don't be silent, when you keep silence, I am afraid . It is raining... My God, it is really raining...Can you hear it? So the grasses will shoot, trees will bud, the sun will rise, it will get warmer and it will be sunny. I'll have curtains on the window... the curtains with peacocks. I beg you, Talib, don't keep silence... I beg you, say something... chicken-hearted fellow; speak to me; I ask you, you know I am chicken-hearted. Talib..., Talib..., hey Talib...