Kremena dropped the product bags on the kitchen floor and kicked the large mineral water container under the table. She took off her heavy coat and placed it on the chair’s backrest. Then she started digging inside the contents of her large handbag. She had to change the ring tone of that damned thing but she never found the time for that. “And for so many other things.” She discarded the gloomy thought, she tossed it at the closet of her mind and laid her fingers on the overused, scratched mobile phone.
A familiar phone number.
A familiar name.
“You again?” She wasn’t supposed to pick up. There were enough excuses at disposal she could take advantage of.
In spite of that her fingertip automatically clicked on the green receiver button.
Oh, you fool.
“Is it snowing there with you?” A warm, thick voice with a playful tone to it. The same voice about which once she said that it reminded her of mullet wine.
“You call me just to ask me of the fucking weather?” She hissed like a viper. “I am not your damned weather report. Check on the Internet if you really care that much about the weather at your native country. Gee.”
Laughter. The man on the other side of the line was the only person who was completely immune to her chronically bad mood. He never responded to her exuberant outbursts and he never yelled back at her. That was another reason why her mother wouldn’t stop nagging at her. “You should have never let go of that nice boy.”
“Sunshine, just as usual. What is wrong?” A short pause during which he pretended that he was pondering on his next line. “You have just gone back from grocery shopping, right?”
“Go ahead, fortune teller, show me how great you are.” He started with his favorite mind fucking game titled ‘How well I know Kremi.’ Her telephone companion didn’t pay attention to her ironic remark and continue to described the scene with an almost professional imperturbability.
“You’re sitting on the floor with your legs partly open. You’ve been supporting your weight on your knees while you were searching for your phone at the handbag. I bet you have tossed half of its content out to find what you need, right?”
Kremena lowered her gaze shyly to the pile of small objects scattered on the ground and began to pick them up while she was adjusting the receiver in more comfortable way against her shoulder.
“Your wrists are all red because of the bag handles. Once again you have bought way too much – half of your products will be probably just lying about your fridge until you throw it all away.”
“And you lie on your office couch, you have folded your left arm under your head.” So what, she could at least take part in the game. “You have closed your eyes and you smile all the time as you speak. I’ve always told you that was inappropriate.”
“You frown but before you have realized it a smile has appeared on your face as well. Your eyes are glowing while you get up on your feet and you approach the window.”
“Very sweet. But I can’t see my own eyes.” Her knees were already hurting therefore she really pulled herself up and got to the frame of her favorite scenic window. “You have just put a pause on your jazz play list so you can call me.”
“Actually I was in the mood for some blues.” A low chuckle.
“Hmm…” She slid her finger on the glass as she was staring at the street lamp’s light. “I never really learned to distinguish.”
“Too bad for you. You will die ignorant.”
“And you will end up as a snob.” She hit back.
“The Snob thinks it really snows there with you. Your hair is still wet and one snowflake that hasn’t melted yet is tangled in your tresses.”
“Do you really come up with those stuff on spot? It seems to me as if you’ve been scribbling diligently your lines in some notebook so you can blow my mind when you call me late in the evening. I mean seriously, who talks like that?”
“Now you raise yourself from the couch, right? You walk in a slow, lazy stride to the window. Like a complacent tomcat.” She leaned her cheek against the cold window glass. “You don’t say a word. Are you still listening to the silence?” She had no idea where did the last part came into her head. Kremena was never the poetic type.
“And you play with your left eyebrow piercing now. You always do that when you are not sure what you should say next.” His last words were almost like a whisper in her ear. “You bite your lips slightly and…”
“Enough!” Kremena clutched tightly on the receiver. “I already feel as if I’m being stalked. It seems as if you have installed monitoring cameras all over my place.”
“Admit it, you like it. And you haven’t answered my question yet.”
“What was it?”
“Do you see the snow?”
“What’s the deal with that snow?” She frowned. “Yes, it is banked up everywhere tonight. My boots are full of freezing water.”
“What about the moon pathway that runs along the snow-drift? And it mixes with the street lights? Do you see that now?” For the first time since the beginning of the conversation she caught a tang of insecurity in his voice. She felt like punishing him for his shameless invasion in her private world. She wanted to tell him something cynical and hurtful. That she didn’t see the moonlight because of the piles of trash, dirt and howling dogs in the night. That the snow purity has been drawn in mud.
But those poisonous words died before they had slipped out of the tip of her tongue.
“Yeah, that’s what I see. Snow, moon, crystal snowflakes. Beauty. Did I catch the aesthetics of the landscape?”
“I look through my window and see exactly the same that you do. Just in that minute.”
She gulped the tears that were welling up. It wasn’t fair. So close, for an instant, as if she could just reach her hand through the glass and touch his. And at the same time he was thousand miles away. The mirror wouldn’t crack.
They’ve been silent for a long time and their gaze was lost in the deep snow. They counted every inhalation and exhalation and were trying to picture each other’s worlds. Finally she interrupted the golden silence.
“Why do you keep on calling me?”
“You’re the one who wanted us to break up.”
“Are you going to nag about it again?”
“I don’t nag about it. You were right. With you being there and me here… it would never work. It was the right decision. However… you can’t let go of me. You never stop looking for cracks. You clutch at straws like a drowning man. All those things that keep us together, even if it is just for a short period of time. Why do we need that?”
“What’s with the drama, Kremi?”
“None of us can move on if we are constantly caught between past and present. We will obviously never be together in this life. Why should we continue torturing each other?”
“So… you want us to stop talking?”
“I don’t know…” The snowflakes were dancing around the dirty street lamp. Was it because of the beauty of the fleeting moment or because of her fear to cut that invisible connection but Kremena once again couldn’t find the strength to bid him farewell.
“Me neither. No matter what I do during the day, no matter who I meet every fiber of my being draws me to that moment when I’d pick up the phone and dial your phone number.”
That was also her highlight moment. But if she told him that they would just sink even deeper in the past.
And no matter how they thought of it – as a muddy swamp or deep, pure snow-drift, drowned in the white shining of the moon – everything was already gone.
She couldn’t think of anything else to say.
She switched the lamp off and remained for a long time staring at the austere landscape outside.
Somewhere far away he did exactly the same thing.