A bandage for a soul

Anika opened her eyes to face the light-green ceiling she knew so well. She laid without moving for a moment and then winced. Not from the pain as one might expected, but from realizing who was sitting beside her on an uncomfortable hospital chair. She slowly turned her head to the right, and of course, there was Sister Merryweather – the chief nurse at St. Selaphiel’s Hospital of the Soul.
“Surprise, surprise.” the nurse said scornfully.
Anika sighed and turned back to watching the ceiling. It was friendlier. She had been here for almost two days now and had been hoping to get out before the staff changed.
“What is it this time?”  Sister Merryweather was a slim, tall woman of an uncertain age. Her rather plain face usually bore no emotions and she wore the nurse’s dress as if it was a military uniform. Her back was upright, her face was uptight and her lips were always pursed. Her voice would fit a crow more than a woman. Only her eyes seemed out of the picture: a pair of beautiful bright hazel eyes that were warm and kind, and almost all the time contradicted the words of that stern woman. 
“Well...” Anika started hesitantly. She had met Sister Merryweather countless times and she knew she’d lose any argument against her. Where the girl had only questions, the nurse always had answers - plain and clear, with no field to debate. “Love”.
“Again?” Now it was the nurse’s turn to sigh.

Anika simply nodded staring somewhere in front of herself. She was in her late twenties, but still looked eighteen: cute, petite, a little bit awkward, with a curious childish face and short brown curly hair.

 “Have you seen your recent soul-rays, dear?” The eyes were not the only ones betraying Sister Merryweather this time, her voice joined them, showing real concern. “We can help you heal, but we can’t take away the damage done, Anika. How many times do you need to get your soul ripped apart to start learning to protect yourself? Did you count your scars? I have been here for many long years and I have never seen anything like it!” Her voice grew stronger. “Why haven’t you used your prescriptions for cynicism? Just a capsule, or two in your case, a day and life will be easier! Where are the bricks for your inner walls I have been giving you personally each time you were brought here? Where are they? Not where they belong for sure! Where is your common sense, girl?” The nurse was almost yelling by the end of this tirade. “No matter how hard I try to help you, you are back here again and again; the moment I let myself breathe and think that I won’t see you for longer than a couple of years, you are here once more and in a worse state that ever! How do you do it? How do let people get so deep inside you? Why won’t you protect yourself? I can’t help you anymore unless you start doing it too!”

Anika had her jaw clenched all this time. But her eyes happened to be on the same team as Sister Merryweather’s. They let her down and let the tears out.

“What if I don’t what to?” She said angrily.

“You are the most stubborn creature in the world! I will keep you here for a week, even for a month, if I must, and will talk to Doctor Johnson as well! You need counseling!”

“I’ve tried it your way and I just lost time! I’ve tried building walls and hiding behind them, I’ve tried being detached and not letting anyone near, and guess where it led me?” Anika turned to Sister Merryweather. The girl’s eyes were shining with tears, but there was something else in them that made the nurse shudder. It was fury and it was so strong that Sister Merryweather thought she felt the temperature in the room rising. “The more walls I build, the more protection I have, the more time I lose! The clock is ticking and I need to find it!”

“Find what?” the nurse frowned.


“I don’t understand. You said that love brought you here. But now you are saying you didn't yet find it.”

“My love has brought me here. I have it within me. But I haven’t yet found its reflection in another person. Someone with love inside him, who will choose to love me back.”

“Love is not a choice, Anika. Love is a...”

“Feeling?” Anika heard it so many times that she wouldn't allow herself to lose time hearing it again. “Is it? Is it a feeling when a mother is spending sleepless nights near the bed of her sick child? Is it a feeling when a person wakes up before dawn to make a surprise for someone he loves? Is it a feeling when you spend hours of your life trying to help someone you don’t really know, Sister Merryweather?” Anika looked at the other woman waiting for an answer, then concluded: “Love is a choice, an action. If you don’t act on your feelings, they are an illusion. And I am sick of them. I need to find the real thing!”

“Why?” asked the nurse.

“Why are all songs about love? Why are most novels about love? Why do people desire it so much? I don’t know.” The fire in Anika’s eyes subsided and she continued in a very weak voice as if all her power had left her body together with the fury: “Maybe I will know why when I finally find it”.

When a week had passed and it was time for Anika to leave, Sister Merryweather stepped into her room to say goodbye.  Anika was packing her things. The nurse stood silently watching the girl. They had shared too many words before to find something to talk about at the moment.

Leaving, Anika turned to Sister Merryweather. “If I am made this way, if I have this urge, there must be someone else like me, who is searching as well”.

For the first year after that, Sister Merryweather waited, for the second she would still give a little jerk hearing a familiar name, for the third she finally relaxed and wished a stubborn girl good luck, by the fourth year she would rarely remember that story and by the fifth year her busy life would not give her a chance to dwell on the memories of the past at all. Ten years passed before she saw Anika again.

Sister Merryweather was already heading home for the day, when an ER team rushed in with a motionless woman. She hardly recognized Anika in a skeleton-like body. Without thinking, the nurse sprinted and grabbed the grayish, thin hand hanging down from the stretcher. Anika opened her green eyes that looked huge on her tiny, gaunt face. “I thought he was the one. I was wrong.  Again. Next time...” She murmured and lost consciousness. The nurse ran along, holding the hand of the dying woman till they hit the door of the extensive therapy unit.
Sister Merryweather stood and stood outside, waiting for someone to come out or to try to come in…but in vain. It was only the next morning that she learned Anika had not survived the night. Terminal damage to the soul, her charts said.
“Stubborn girl”. Sister Merryweather shook her head, gathered up the papers of her new patients and went to patch other, more susceptible souls.

She laid without moving for a moment and then winced.
To lie (tell something that is not true) - LIED - LIED
Без обид.

Сергей Елисеев   10.04.2019 14:01     Заявить о нарушении
Это что за зверь ?
“What if I don’t what to?” She said angrily.

Сергей Елисеев   10.04.2019 14:07   Заявить о нарушении
Мне пора Вам за работу корректора платить)
Спасибо, что заметили.

Александра Сербай   10.04.2019 15:33   Заявить о нарушении
Я сам не без греха. Отлично понимаю какую СЛОЖНЕЙШУЮ (практически невыполнимую) задачу Вы перед собой ставите. По-моему, число русских, достойно переводящих на английский, - считанные единицы. Да и те, долго проживали в англоязычной среде и культуре. Это Татьяна Литвинова (кажется, из белогвардейских эмигрантов), Ольга Шарц, Ирина Железнова, Давид Сквирский. Из современных - Фаина Глаголева. Как они достигли таких высот - я не знаю. Думаю, что личных способностей здесь недостаточно. Но однажды слышал по радио старого дедушку, русского. Он переводил русскую классическую поэзию и делал это, по-моему, превосходно. Фамилию, увы, позабыл. Звали, кажется, Александр. Забыл упомянуть ещё одного крепкого нашего (эмигрировавшего в Америку) переводчика Льва Наврозова. Ещё был Овидий Горчаков. Увы, they are pretty few and far between. Doing this sort of thing is quite a challenge, which I adore. У меня есть переводы НА англ . (Чехов, Куприн, Солженицын). Некоторые достаточно удачные, придирок от натуралов нет. Но всё равно это занятие - не по Сеньке шапка. А вот англичане с этим справляются превосходно. Вам знакомы такие имена как Robert Daglish, George Hannah, Julius Katzner, Constance Garnet (её хулят, но она мноооого перевела), Margaret Wetlin, Joseph Butler? А некто Rosenberg (?) перевёл "непереводимого" Маяковского и сделал это с изумительным блеском! I doff my hat to his and stand aghast.... Best of luck to you!

Сергей Елисеев   10.04.2019 17:20   Заявить о нарушении
I used to have a site with my translations into English. But my Americasn lady friend who maintained it for me had to close it down for financial reasons. So it goes....

Сергей Елисеев   10.04.2019 17:23   Заявить о нарушении
Therefore welcome to my writings in Russian. If you are at all interested, I mean.

Сергей Елисеев   10.04.2019 17:25   Заявить о нарушении
Сергей, я не особо хороший переводчик. Переводить действительно очень тяжело. Даже собственные рассказы. Это очень кропотливый тяжелый труд. Если в своих вещах ты еще знаешь, что ты подразумевал и можешь перевести по ощущению и аналогии, то при переводе чужого текста это не всегда получается. Лично мне терпения не хватает.

Я некоторые вещи пишу на английском сразу. Что-то приходит на русском, что-то на английском, и не спрашивает меня, собственно, на каком я там лучше говорю. Некоторые рассказы у меня переведены на английский. Читается совершенно иначе. Особенно первые, которые я переводила - сложно воспринимается носителями. Но я пытаюсь, когда есть время, стать в этом лучше. Потому что кто переведет твои вещи лучше тебя?
У меня в голове петрушка из двух языков и оба влияют друг на друга. Мой русский уже тоже не так чист, а первые годы работы в туризме меня русские же за иностранку принимали, потому что построение фразы "не родное" и акцент даже вылез. После многих лет практики русский уже лучше, но, если болею или не сконцентрирована, то они перемешиваются. Английские конструкции лезут в русский, русские пословицы в английский, некоторые слова забываются или перемешиваются в речи. Я амбидекстер, у меня в голове салат из двух полушарий и двух языков. Да, специфично, но как уж есть)
Лучше я буду писать на своем неидеальном английском, чем сойду с ума полируя единственный рассказ полжизни, доводя его до недостижимого совершенства. Времени на писательство итак катастрофически мало, а идеи, персонажи и даже миры копятся и просятся наружу изнутри.
Что касается перевода стихов, то те, кто это делают - вообще полубоги. Это мозгодробительный процесс. Мне проще написать аналогичное на втором языке, чем сохранить конструкцию первого.

Александра Сербай   11.04.2019 05:17   Заявить о нарушении
У вас, насколько я вижу, более въедливый ум, вы внимательнее меня и более усидчивы и сосредоточены. Знание английского тоже на высоте, так что я не сомневаюсь, что у вас есть отличные переводы - гораздо лучше моих. Этих переводчиков я не знаю, к сожалению. Но раз вы высоко о них отзываетесь, значит, они высококлассные профессионалы. Буду знать в чьих переводах искать литературу:)

Александра Сербай   11.04.2019 05:29   Заявить о нарушении
На это произведение написаны 2 рецензии, здесь отображается последняя, остальные - в полном списке.