I broke off in the heat and fell asleep in half eyes. Hot plaque stopped burning back. I didn’t even want to hang out. There was a kettle on the shelf; the water in it was steaming. Was it too lazy to sit down and satisfy curiosity – is it boiling or not?
Sasha entered the steam room without knocking with a torso wrapped in a sheet, with two besoms in one hand and a mug in the other. – Oik! – I blurt out and quickly turned over on the stomach. The hot air from the rapid movement burned my knees. I carefully adjusted the felt hat and began to sneakly watch Sasha from behind his shoulder, from under his half-closed eyelashes. The guy was well-built, in the body, with curly hair on his chest and abdomen. My lips shamelessly stretched out into a smile, and I hid my face. “Well, how? And, Irinka? – Sasha asked. – Will you beat? – I asked slyly, lifting my head. – What did you think?
Sasha put on roughly-cropped mittens, poured kvass from a mug into a ladle with water and splashed it into a hole at the top of the stove. A transparent steam with a sharp noise rushed up and to the sides, it hit me with a hot wave. A small steamy room filled with the teasing smell of bread. Sasha lightly patted me with two brooms, waved them, chasing hot bread spirit around me. Harmless clapping became stronger and more insistent, the air burned his nostrils, breathing became hard. I asked for mercy. – Lie down, – ordered my torturer. – I. Oh. Oh. I moaned, unable to utter a word. The master gave in to the couple again. “Turn over,” he said. “Do it!” “Turn over to whom you said! It was an order. I obediently turned over onto my back and covered my nipples with my palms, not because I was embarrassed — I didn’t care at all — but because they were unbearably sore. I gasped for breath. The lungs were shrinking almost idle. – Oh.
There was only one thought in my head: “I will die. I will die. “. Sasha laughed softly and continued mercilessly to whip me with brooms. This seemed unreal to me, the walls of the steam room – cartoony, painted. I did not understand anything when Sasha put down the brooms, firmly took me by the forearm, lifted me from the shelf and set me on my feet. I caught a glimpse of water boiling in the kettle. The guy, still supporting me by the forearm, pulled me out of the bath – in what I was naked – and stuffed me into a bath with spring water that flowed there from a natural source. The water is clean, icy, with a dove, sweetish in taste. I did not feel the cold.
I got out of the bathtub on my own, Sasha delicately returned to the bathhouse. In the dressing room, she somehow threw a sheet over herself and collapsed onto the bench in complete impotence. Stretched on her, as far as the length allowed. Thank you, I stayed alive. Only now I discovered that a bath cap adorns me. She pulled it off, slipped it under her head. The body was flooded with a hot wave – a consequence of an ice bath. I seemed to be exhaling fire. From the steam room came biting blows with a broom – my bath attendant now took up himself. No comparison with the city bath, with its crowd, cold dressing room and unpleasant smell in a stuffy steam room.
Sasha jumped out of the steam room, two steps past the washing room and swept past – burgundy steam coming out, with a birch leaf on the buttock. From the street came a powerful outburst and a well-done hoot. He returned, hiding his dignity in a handful, slouched in a penguin. He pushed his ass behind the door of the washroom and called out: “Let’s go, Irish!” “Where?” “How, where?” Wash. Water dripped from the steamed face, one eye blinked, the other rotated. I suddenly realized that I was ashamed of nudity, and his and his. I was surprised – that it was me, for no reason, for no reason, became shy? – Not. – Well, as you wish. Drink kvass and go wash, I’ll rest for now.
So we washed – in turn, belatedly ashamed of each other. Sasha went to the steam room yet. The bathhouse exhausted me so much that I didn’t know how to get out of the washroom, how to dress. She wandered into the country house, where she fell on the bed.
I cooked dinner in advance, before the bath, in the summer kitchen. The kitchen is neat, with a landscape painted on the wall, with curtains. A guitar stood on a stool in the corner. Now Sasha and I had dinner and told each other about ourselves. We met two years ago. More precisely, they only saw each other on the ship, where Sasha was the third assistant at the time. I brought the captain customs declarations. Then I saw him at the corporate New Year’s Eve, he was just writing off. We even talked about something. And since then they began to greet each other if they saw each other in the shipping company or on the street. Now he confessed that he was afraid to approach. I was surprised: – Why? – Well, you are. Such – Yah you. in the bath. You are already the second assistant, and you say such nonsense, ”I laughed.
Sasha is a prominent guy. On the New Year’s Eve, girls from the neighboring department “hung” on him, like dogs on a bear. Don’t make any noise, ”he shouted. “If you disturb the house-night for the night, he won’t let you sleep, will he scare you.” Hey, don’t you? Here the brownie lives. How a bro will come with friends to rest, they will make a noise, and then they listen all night long, like a houseboy in a dacha walks and drops everything. I laughed, did not believe. But the brother is already interesting. – I have a brother too, three years younger, – I said. – My own, too, three years younger, – Sasha was delighted. – Have you noticed that the moles on our hands are the same? These four things? Moles really matched, and it seemed important. – You know, and I always liked you. Smiling, such as the sun is clear. “And also kind and manly aggressive,” I added mentally.
The guy reached for the guitar, but I stopped him: – Sasha, I’m a little alive after the bath. Let me wash the dishes and lie down. Tomorrow you will sing to me. He laughed: – Do you like the bathhouse? Go, lie down. I will wash the dishes myself. You still have time. The last remark I missed by my ears and trudged to the second floor, where there was an old, old sofa, forever spread out. I liked the cottage. The village is small, quiet, with neat dilapidated houses, mostly two-story. There was silence, only behind the walls a restless bird whistled and from the summer kitchen came the muffled cackle of dishes. Sasha came in about twenty minutes. Hastily undressed in the dark, climbed under the covers. I huddled in the very corner, turned away from him, scared and happy. “Where are you?” – Sasha asked in a torn voice. Found me, grabbed a hand across the abdomen and pulled to him.
. I floundered in a thick web and could not get out of it. I’m afraid of the web to a pulp, how did I manage to climb into it ?! Choking with horror, I frantically waved my hands. Sasha came up behind me and pulled me out of the snare. A cry of horror burst from my throat, I heard it from the side and did not recognize my own voice – there was nothing human in the cry. She sat up on the bed, breathing hard, covered in perspiration, cold and sticky. Sasha woke up, sat down too, hugged me. – Sleep, Sasha. I had a dream. – Brownie, brownie, why did you scare her? This is my wife. Do not scare anymore. What wife? – This is a brownie, do not worry, Ira. He is harmless, scary only. Now I was ready to believe in anything. “Will he not scare me anymore?” “He won’t. Once and all. I told him. – I never cry in my sleep. I watch my nightmares silently. For the first time, honestly! – Everything, everything, do not be afraid. Sleep
We lay down. Sasha immediately fell asleep, and I lay awake, wondering why he called me his wife. Caring for me just a week. All this is not serious. Of course, it was time for me to settle down, to solve something with my chaotic, senseless life. I enjoyed my personal freedom and enjoyed it as I pleased. I did not like the life in a civil marriage. In the depths of my soul, I wanted to get married – “for real”, because I didn’t appreciate a “unofficial” marriage. With the roommate broke up, miserable and forgotten. Act as spouse no longer wanted. Kitchen, dishes, cleaning drove me into melancholy. What is my wife? I will marry Sasha – you will have to not only cook, but cook deliciously, there will be twice as many dishes, and there will be cleaning too. We’ll have to wash his socks and iron his shirts, adjust to his preferences, shortcomings and endure a lot. I still do not know what. And he said yesterday that he wants two children. It’s horrible. From the thought that for several years I would not belong to myself, every cell of my body protested. No, I do not want.
I listened – whether the houseboy wanders through the cottage? There was such a silence that roared in the ears. I stuck to the hot Sasha’s back, still unusual, and fell asleep.
Sakhalin June night forced the air, the morning covered the dacha village with fog. I woke up early. She lay silent on Sasha’s side, listening to the chirping and chirping. Smiled. I didn’t want to think about anything. Steamed in the bath, the bones and muscles still languished in bliss. Sasha asked. I didn’t open my eyes; Crush me by yourself. On the face – a joyful smile. The sweetest love intercourse is in the morning, when the body is only half awakened, the blind passion for the night is a little dim, but the seeing tenderness does not sleep.
Tired, Sasha reluctantly let me out and got up: “The stove must be drowned. I threw back the blanket with the intention to get up, I blurt out from the cold and slipped back.” Not May, – the landlord joked, quickly dressed and went downstairs to the ground floor. I lay in the warmth, listened to how he fires the stove. My thoughts were wandering around, sensible and not very, I lazily drove them away.
When the house got warmer, I got dressed and went to wash. I went out on the threshold and stood there. The fog enveloped the birch trees and Christmas trees around the villa, covered a massive table with benches and long beds. Gray smoke from the chimney mixed with whitish fog. Next to the porch were lilies of the valley, a little further away – a huge carpet of forget-me-nots. “I will marry him — I will plow on these beds,” I thought, spoiled my mood, shivered from the damp cold, and went to the bathhouse.
It was warm and dry, and I was happy to wash. It was not possible to comb. Hair from spring water became soft, fluffy and did not want to obey. “Why did I decide that he was going to marry me? – I thought. – We are not in a fairy tale. Calmed me at night, so that I was not afraid, that’s all. Yes, and you have to get married for love. And the heart is silent. ” Satisfied with this thought and finally upset, I wandered to the summer kitchen to prepare breakfast.
The stove was already heated there. I started the croutons. Sasha came, grabbed me by the side with my own hands, so that I squeaked, sat down on a cracked stool. “What did you dream of?” “Ah,” I dismissed. – Web. As if I’m in it floundering, and you pulled me out. I am afraid of her so much that my legs are being taken away. I found something to be afraid of. I’m going to laugh – I’m afraid of geese. As a child, a goose attacked me in the village, and fear remained .- And what did you call my wife? – I could not restrain myself. – So you are here for a long time! – Why? – The brownie only scares her own. We, when we bought a dacha, looked at all terrible dreams at first. Yelled in turns. Then they stopped. How many guests we spent the night – nobody dreamed of anything. So, Er. – Sasha spread his hands and laughed. – Think what you want. When should I take care of you? A week later – at sea. Will you wait? “No, Sasha, is it you think what you want. Wrong your brownie. Yes, and what the hell was a walking girl for you? Not only is she a walker, so is the stranger, the drinker and the pretense ”.- I’m terrible, Sasha, you just don’t know .- Glorious, kind! And you cook tasty. Sasha drank tea with croutons and zabrenchal on the guitar.
Well, what can I say about Sakhalin? Normal weather on the island. Salted my vest, And I live at the very sunrise. (The words of Mikhail Tanich)
I keenly felt the thin, ghostly thread that stretched between us a week ago, and was afraid to move, so as not to tear it with an imprudent movement, a sigh. And Sasha sang, looking at me with love eyes – velvet and butter, and his strong, free voice tore me off the ground.
A year later, in May or June, I talked with the brownie. I thought I was talking to Andrejka, the eight-year-old Sasha’s cousin. In the house on the second floor a light bulb burned out. In the evening I dismantled the linen in the dim light, who should lay down someone, and chatted with Andrejka, who rose after me. Rather, I said, but he did not answer, only slyly smiled and silently paced back and forth. As it turned out, my cousin had been talking downstairs with his aunt, my mother-in-law.
But it was not without reason that the brownie had such a cunning face – after all, he turned out to be right. Well, and the bath. She did not disappear anywhere and did not lose her sweetness. One of the joys of hard married life.