The Work

The Work

Every night he had a nightmare about an explosion that tears off his hands or legs. Waking up in horror he tried to convince himself that prophetic dreams do not exist. As far as he couldn’t sleep after it, he got up, made coffee and sat down to his old laptop. Work had to stifle fear.

Igor organized provisioning of the army. He had to find it, pay for it, pack it, and send it; every single day. People started to respect him, because while many others simply continued pushing a pen in offices, he left everything and started volunteering. He didn’t steal, didn’t drink and didn’t seek fame. Watching one more car filled with provision leave, he felt relief … for a while. Bitter inner voice sounded in his ears despite all his busyness: “You’re just afraid …”

Squeezing some milk jam from the blue-yellow tube into his coffee, Igor looked at the dirty window sill. He thought that his life had a wrong turn somewhere, long ago. Divorce from his wife, losing friends, not visiting parents… Not enough time … especially now. But was he above reproach or wasn’t he?

His mobile phone called loudly out of the next room. For some reason Igor didn’t want to hurry today. Standing in the doorway, he watched as the vibrating phone was slowly moving to the edge of the table. Then it calmed and stopped. But before Igor sighed with relief the ringer came again. Accepting his fate Igor lifted the phone to his ear: “Hello!” “Igor, is it you …?”  A familiar female voice said. “This is Olga, your ex-colleague… I need your help.” Trying to remember who Olga was, he replied curtly: “I listen!”

Cold fingers gripped the steering wheel, and the car rolled slowly to the east. There was no sense to blame anybody; he agreed to go to hell. Voluntarily! All others refused, and he just couldn’t. But he also couldn’t stop his inner voice, and it blamed the damn war, aggression and stupidity of people on different sides of the barricades. He blamed the government, yesterday’s and today’s leaders, east and west, embezzlers and bribe-takers. He even blamed his wife, who dumped him and chose Vlad, instead of having children with him, Igor, so that he wouldn’t want to leave home… For some reason he couldn’t blame Olga, the one who asked him to make this dangerous trip, to bring warm clothes and food to where her brother fought, and where once Igor spent every summer.

The monotony of the road made him sleepy, but when the “peaceful” area was left behind, the drowse vanished. Glancing briefly at the abandoned houses with broken roofs or walls, Igor was trying to determine if any people lived there. Trying to escape from the gloomy thoughts, he wondered what they were preparing for dinner or what could they dream about. But that wasn’t the best thing to think about. He opened the motor. The main thing was to get to the place before dark, at dusk he may be shout even by a friend, by mistake …

Time was getting on, Igor hurried. Right to the fork, turn left and straight through the dam until it ends. The emptiness of the road stressed him out, it became dark. After the turn he foreboded something terrible; suddenly the phone blinked and started ringing. He took it, opened his mouth to answer something angry and …

“He is alive!” someone shouted and through the half-open lids Igor saw that he lies in a small dimly lit room. His head was buzzing, the whole body ached. A group of young people in camouflage surrounded him. “It was a big boom, wasn’t it?” asked one of them. “You were born with a silver spoon in your mouth,” winked another one. Afraid to look down, Igor croaked: “Is the cargo ok?” And then, for some incomprehensible reason, the soldiers laughed. On that day, Igor realized that the biggest nightmare was not pain, no injury, and not even death… The worst nightmare was to spend a life captive to fears.

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