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Disappeared: Chapters 2, 3

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It was June, and I knew something was definitely wrong with Elena. She would never spend evenings with me ever. In fact, she hardly wanted to be with me at all! What had I done to her? It hurt me very much. All she wanted to do was practice and be alone all the time. This may have been symptoms of depression, so I thought. But it really turned for worst when she bought his apartment.
Sergei had lived in a luxury apartment on the top floor of a building (9th floor). Because no one was there to claim it, and it was about to be taken back by the apartment landlord, Elena in fact sold her apartment, and used that money and some of her parents' to get this one. I confronted her for this.
"What are you doing, Elena? Are you trying to live in the past?? This is foolishness!"
"Foolishness? No... I bought it in case he comes back. Otherwise, he may have no home to come to."
"Well, isn't that his fault? And anyway, does he want to meet you now? Obviously, he left you, perhaps for good."
Her eyes flashed. "No he didn't. He is... he will come back. I know he will... And I'll be waiting for him." Strangely, she said this part without conviction (I know her well enough to see when she is lying). and only got angry at saying that he didn't want to meet her. This confused me... she had loyalty in him, and yet didn't expect him to return? What??

Meanwhile, Victor and I became really close, and spent a lot of time together with him. I also came to know Nikolai better, and I discovered an unusual truth about him.
One day, all three of us were together, and I was talking about how strangely Elena was acting, almost insane.
"Yes," Nikolai replied. "If only she weren't like that... it really bothers me in particular."
"How so?"
He looked around. "As long as you don't tell anyone just yet, not even her. I'm in love with her."
This quite surprised me. "But she's still in love with Sergei."
"Well... I have a feeling he's not coming back. I think he's dead."
"How are you so sure?" Victor joined the conversation.
"I just... know it. It's so strange for Sergei to just leave. I know him as his best friend, he would confide to me everything that ever went through his mind. Even if he did escape somewhere, I think he's dead there now, and hasn't been accounted for."
The idea that Sergei was dead gave me a chill. I never really personally knew anyone who died, and it's always really somber to think about it.
"So... what about Elena?" I asked.
"I want to tell her some time to just leave the past alone. It's going to be hard to break to her the notion that he may be dead, but perhaps she has already thought of it. I want... I want her to realize that I could just as well love her. I do. I did even before they were engaged, and it pained me to see her love Sergei instead of me. Not that I was jealous of him," he suddenly added, and got up to leave, as if that thought really disturbed him.
That made him a suspicious character. I noted that down in my log of clues in my journal when I got home. I wanted to get down to the bottom of this mystery, and if it really took ratting out a murder, then so be it.

So the school session came back in September...


I started to take a closer look at Elena when she came back to Conservatory. She hadn't changed much, for the better, that is, but her personality was completely altered. She was so absent minded that it took me calling her name 3 times to get her back to reality from her thoughts, whatever was going on in her head.
"Elena! Are you ok? You don't look like you improved over the summer."
"No... I didn't. But Winter is coming, and the long nights..." she smiled to herself. I kept note of this too.
Quite ironically, I have to add this, that although she was very pale, when she took off her scarf, I saw on her neck a snow white spot, about the size of a stone. I gasped.
"Elena! you have a sore or something on your neck! You are ill!"
"I do?" she went to a mirror and the hall to examine it. I saw her eyes flash for a second, but she suppressed it immediately.
"...Looks like... make-up. I'll have to clean that off," she put back on the scarf, and turned away. She looked at me a second, and I almost thought it was hostile.
Obviously, we all know what make-up looks like, and I think that really strange that she would put white make-up or powder on, since she was already so pale. I glared at her a second, but let it go too. I wrote it down later.
I watched her from secret locations take long walks around the Conservatory, and around the city. I watched her go to the park alone. She was always laughing to herself, I wish I knew what she was thinking about. She often looked around, as if looking for someone. Sergei? I wondered.
Once, she went to sit by a tree, and as she got up later, she tried to grab the tree, but she slipped in a strange manner, and fell on her face. She looked a little surprised, but wasn't hurt. But she was most happy when I saw her escape to her apartment at sunset. I followed her one day in November, to see her go to the room. Unfortunately, I could see nothing at the top floor from below, but I waited around til it was dark. I could faintly hear her play piano around 10 at night, and it was now pitch black. I wondered how I could see better, and I thought of perhaps looking from a longer distance, which make higher floors more level to the eye. I noted that I should bring binoculars the next time.
It was also around this time that Nikolai started getting Elena's attention. While she would be alone, he would come up to her and start talking to her. At first, she was annoyed, but she got used to it. He invited her to do all sorts of things with him, like go to parties and concerts, which she in fact didn't decline. She only declined if it was a late event, which I noted in my log too. I never got so close as to hear what they were talking about, but I figured that he was often telling her about getting away from the past and living in the present. She became gentle with him, I noticed. I talked to her about him later.
"Oh, he is a nice man. But... not like Sergei," she always compared Nikolai to Sergei.
In December, I noticed a great transformation in her. Her face was unusually white, almost as white as the snow on the ground. I wondered if she had anemia. But her eyes were always lit up with some distant light. I once went walking with her in the park, and I noticed how shallow her footsteps were in the snow compared to mine. She started talking to me.
"Anna... what would you do if say, you and Victor were far away from each other? Would you imagine him to be with you, always present at your side?"
"Well... I guess I might. Yes, you may have figured out now that we are in love, and I think he will propose to me soon."
"Yes... and... there's Nikolai. He likes me, but... I don't know what to do."
"I think it's obvious."
She stopped and turned to me. "What?"
"Marry him, if he proposes."
"But... there's Sergei, whom I'm attached to!" She got anxious again.
"You have to let him go, Elena, some things just can't be the way they were in the past. Elena, listen to me. I care about you dearly, and I don't like how I've seen you waste away in remorse over this year. It hurts me just as much."
Here she frowned. "Really? But.. but I didn't mean to hurt you! no! not at all! You've been my best friend!"
"And yet, you haven't been a friend to me. You continually isolate yourself from everyone. Elena, what's going on? If you trust me, if we really are true friends, please tell me!"
She suddenly got angry, and back away from me. "You're so cruel to me! You're always reminding me of my worst fears. Sergei, he... I believe him to be dead now too. But not in my heart! I will never stop loving him! Never! And you can't stop me!" she ran off away from me, still watching me.
"But what about Nikolai? What will you do? What will be your excuse? Do you not admit to love him too after all he's done for you?"
She stopped. "Oh... you're... you're making this all so hard!" she ran off again, and I didn't follow her.
What so hard? I wondered.

Updated Apr-20-2011 at 01:42 by Huilunsoittaja

Classical Music , Personal , Other , Literature