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Anton: Chapter 24, Part II

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Anton began to speak.

I remember the marvellous moment
you appeared before me,
like a transient vision,
like pure beauty’s spirit.

Lost in hopeless sadness,
lost in the loud world’s turmoil,
I heard your voice’s echo,
and often dreamed your features.

Years passed. The storm winds scattered,
with turbulent gusts, that dreaming.
I forgot NOT your voice, its tenderness.
I forgot NOT your lovely face.

Remote in my darkened exile,
the days dragged by so slowly,
without grace, without inspiration,
without life, without tears, without love.

Then my spirit woke
and you, you appeared again,
like a transient vision,
like pure beauty’s spirit.

And my heart beats with delight,
and ecstasy, inside me,
and grace and inspiration,
and tears, and life, and LOVE!

The room was silent the entire time, and Anton took steps closer and closer to her with each verse. But when he had finished reciting his poem, everyone began to whisper, "This is it, this is the woman. And now she must confront this madman. What will happen?"
Anton now stood 5 paces before Katerina. The entire time of the poem, her grave face was on the verge of tears, and she began to brace the door for support.
"Oh God," she whispered under her breath, "What have I done?" But she did not give in.
"No, Anton... no."
Anton stared at her as if not hearing.
"All boundaries are broken now, dearest Katya. I am here, and you are with me. We will be together forever."
Finally, this word began to sink into his conscience.
"I have moved on."
Anton stared at her again without at word.
The man in the black coat began to step toward them from his seat.
"So this is the man you spoke of, Katya?"
"Yes," she whispered, still staring Anton straight in the eyes. She spoke up again.
"Anton... I'm married now, but to someone new. 8 years ago my older husband died in a train accident. I grieved over the fact I had no love for him, even after he was dead. But then I was alone. And then he..." gesturing to the black-coated man, "He found me, and he revived me."
Anton continued staring as if this was all an illusion. He kept his bearing in silence.
"I married him 8 years ago, Anton, and I even have a son, who is 7 now. We... we are happy."
"Why did you not tell me?" he asked calmly.
"Because I already let you go."
"Yes, you allowed me to let go. But that wouldn't mean I would."
Katerina stared at him in wonder.
"Why did you hold on?"
"Why didn't you?" although Anton was generally calm this evening, he felt his pulse begin to surge, and his hands began shaking again. He was to have another agitated, nervous spell.
"I couldn't keep dreaming, Anton. I had to live. My whole soul pined within me to live. Ivan here helped me to see that, and I joined him in his Faith."
"There is no such thing as life without a dream. You crushed it, and you crushed life too! You sold me out! Look what you've done to me all these years!" Anton's voice rose with each exclamation. Ivan, the black coated man came to Katerina's side quickly.
"It's not all her fault, Anton. You have brought this upon yourself in part," Ivan said sternly.
"Oh Anton... if you could only see it this way..." Katerina's voice was quivering.
"You promised me," suddenly Anton whispered, his voice choking, "That you would love no other..."
"I know. I did," tears came from her eyes. "Forgive me. It was wrong of me to promise it."
"No!" Anton nearly ran up to her face, "It was not wrong! It was wrong for you to BREAK IT!!"
Katerina put her face in her hands and sobbed bitterly.
Anton did not cry.
"I haven't had a dream like this before," he pondered aloud.
"What?" Ivan finally spoke up.
Anton started pacing, as if nothing happened.
"The premonition, yes, that's when the dream began," he was speaking quietly to himself, "That's when it all began. This isn't real," suddenly he smiled, and approached Katerina who was still crying.
"Fear nothing Katerina!" he exclaimed cheerfully. "You only cry now for your denial of me, but this was only a test for me! I know you will never stop loving me! Hah! Curse you devils playing such an awful trick on me!" he shook his fist at the ceiling.
"Anton, are you alright?" Ivan spoke up.
"Alright! What are you? You're a figment of my imagination too! You've all come to destroy my dream, you and your little monologue on religious affairs. There's only one truth one needs to live by: we live for dreams, but reality as a dream is all the better!" he started laughing. Instantly his mood changed though.
"You, what are you? You must be a devil then," he approached Ivan menacingly, to the point others around got up, planning to protect Ivan if something should happen.
"You are mad then!" Ivan said angrily. "Get away from Katerina, you're ruining her mind, that's what you're doing."
"No! It's you who have ruined her mind! Here, I will say a poem for her and she will remember, SHE will remember! This poem is for you Katerina! It's what I and you can say together!

A magic moment I remember:
I raised my eyes and you were there,
A fleeting vision, the quintessence
Of all that's beautiful and rare
I pray to mute despair and anguish,
To vain the pursuits world esteems,
Long did I hear your soothing accents,
Long did your features haunt my dreams.
Time passed. A rebel storm-blast scattered
The reveries that once were mine
And I forgot not your soothing accents,
Your features gracefully divine.
In dark days of enforced retirement
I gazed upon grey skies above
With no ideals to inspire me
No one to cry for, live for, love.
Then came a moment of reinessance,
I looked up - you again are there
A fleeting vision, the quintessence
Of all that's beautiful and rare

He was speaking rapidly but very distinctly, and nearly yelled the last lines of this.
"You changed a word there, Anton Stepanovich," Ivan frowned, clearly distressed at where all this was going. "You added 'not' in the line 'And I forgot your soothing accents.' I believe you did the same in the other poem too."
"Because I DIDN'T forget her! Hahaha I would never forget Katerina! Maybe she forgot me, but now she can know remembrance for herself! Katerina, don't you love me now?"
"Oh Anton!" she was watching as he spoke but now hid her face away in her hands, clutching closer to Ivan.
"You are tormenting her, Anton! Get away from here, you deranged man! You are calculatedly cruel!" Ivan yelled at him.
"Ah, you are a devil then. But I won't bother you. I'm not leaving until you leave her though," Anton smirked and crossed his arms.
"You don't love her," Ivan snarled. "You love your imagination of her. You love torment and not the real thing for which you torment for!"
"But as you said... torment is one of the greatest pleasures."
"Are you drunk?"
"Only a little. I rarely am in my dreams, but wide awake."
"Good God..." Ivan stared at him in confusion again.
This conversation had been so rousing that several dozen men in the room were now on their feet, watching this amazing spectacle. Barely anyone could believe this was happening, and this became so disconcerting that some started to argue whether or not maybe this was just a figment of their imaginations. Some were drunk, after all.
"You must be ill in some other way. Do you have tuberculosis of the brain then?"
Anton burst out laughing. "What on earth is that?"
"It comes from late stage tuberculosis."
"I have had weak health for several years, so I've been told, but I do not recall even having tuberculosis of the lungs. But I can change that for you!"
Suddenly, he walked past both of them, and went out the door.
"What on earth are you doing?" Ivan cried.
"Waking up!" Anton stepped outside into the cold with no coat on.
"He's mad! Stop him!" everyone was crying.
Anton walked about in the cold for a full 2 blocks while everyone was frantically getting their own coats on. He began a lament:

The storm wind covers the sky
Whirling the fleecy snow drifts,
Now it howls like a wolf,
Now it is crying, like a lost child,
Now rustling the decayed thatch
On our tumbledown roof,
Now, like a delayed traveller,
Knocking on our window pane.
Our wretched little cottage
Is gloomy and dark.
Why do you sit all silent
Hugging the window, old gran?
Has the howling of the storm
Wearied you, at last, dear friend?
Or are you dozing fitfully
Under the spinning wheel's humming?
Let us drink, dearest friend
To my poor wasted youth.
Let us drink from grief - Where's the glass?
Our hearts at least will be lightened.
Sing me a song of how the bluetit
Quietly lives across the sea.
Sing me a song of how the young girl
Went to fetch water in the morning.
The storm wind covers the sky
Whirling the fleecy snow drifts
Now it howls like a wolf,
Now it is crying, like a lost child.
Let us drink, dearest friend
To my poor wasted youth.
Let us drink from grief - Where's the glass?
Our hearts at least will be lightened.

He yelled the last words into the wind which was whipping about him, and yet he didn't seem to feel it. People finally dragged him back in, and he didn't resist. The cold had done its work.
Anton lost consciousness.

Updated Sep-22-2013 at 00:00 by Huilunsoittaja

Personal , Non-Classical Music , Other , Literature