Lists

Lists

Strong wind tore off his hat and carried to the river. The man tried to run after it, but slipped and ugly stretched out on the damp grass in his expensive gray coat. His business case was thrown to the side and open. Several sheets of paper fell on the grass and were ready to go after the hat, but Ivan Pavlovich, like a wounded lion, rushed to the case and pressed it to his chest. And then the rain began.

Leaving wet hat and hopelessly stained coat in the hall, Ivan Pavlovich opened his briefcase with trembling fingers. These papers he couldn’t loose in any case! Everything depended on them! These thoughts only intensified the trembling in his hands, and Ivan Pavlovich decided to count to ten to calm down. One … two … three … four … it usually helped, but this time the nervousness was not going away for some reason. A window in the kitchen slammed loudly. “Thieves?!” Ivan Pavlovich’s heart died within him and he ran for valerian.

A young man with almost white hair wearily closed the doors of a small supermarket. Today stiffly polite smiles of cashiers and gray-black jackets of buyers flashed before his eyes the whole day, again. His ears were not buzzing: this late hour the adjacent street was almost silent. Well, at least his aunt’s apartment was very close: most of all he wanted to get some sleep.

After checking all the locks and alarms, Vanya went to the flickering lights of hi-rise building on the horizon. Looking down at his feet, he tried not to think: if even for a second he thought about the past he couldn’t sleep all night. So he had to count steps or listen to the wind buzzing in the trees.

Ivan Pavlovich was deciding whether to dry or iron the damp papers. The seal was almost not affected, but his dignity would certainly suffer if tomorrow he shows the papers in this state to his boss. “Maybe a press of a couple of encyclopaedias would help…?” he thought suddenly. “No, iron is better! I need to find an iron!”

The road washed by the rain was glistening in the soft light of street lamps. Coming closer to the building, Ivan noticed a group of young men, chattering in the darkness at the entrance. “Do you have a cigarette?” one of them stepped forward and looked defiantly at Ivan. “I don’t smoke” Ivan replied calmly, standing at gaze. “No means no,” the stranger effaced and stepped back into the darkness. “Wimp!” he heard from there.

Opening his aunt’s apartment on the seventh floor, Ivan bitterly thought that there are more and more such bands in the city. Maybe this was his future too if the family decides that they don’t want to see him here anymore. Of course, they liked him, maybe even respected for his military achievements. Of course, he pays them, but it’s not the money that they could get from the usual rent. “Young man!” a face of a neighbour suddenly appeared from the opposite apartment: “Will you lend me an iron?” Such a strange request confused Ivan for a second. He stood in the doorway, trying to remember if there was such a thing in the apartment. “Yes, one second” he said, and disappeared into the darkness.

Ivan Pavlovich ironed important papers very carefully, through several layers of white sheets. Steam iron leveled long lists of names, levelling Ivan Pavlovich’s confidence in the future. “And why those papers had to get wet?!” he thought, annoyed: “It would better be anything else, even the drafts with the excluded names of those thwart people with whom they couldn’t make arrangements!” But as the documents with the names of veterans who were awarded with apartments looked better, Ivan Pavlovich became more and more calm. To the third sheet he became himself and his cheeks again acquired a natural pink color. At the same time Ivan – a man from the document with excluded names was finally able to sleep in the next door apartment. His thoughts were entirely occupied by a strange neighbour, and for the first time lately he could have a real restful sleep, like before the war.

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