The second. After the pain.

We talked behind the clouds. Fluffy heaps of snow-white cotton wool, they filled the ears of heaven from all earthly hysteria, resolutely and gently cut off the earthly vale – everything remained below, crumbled and immediately lost its value and ceased to be yours.

Still looking for my place in the plane, I came across her. Asked her to let me to my seat. She smiled somehow convulsively and said: “Maybe I sit down there better? Near the window. I wanted to seat near the window, but I couldn’t get such a place”.

I usually take myself a seat near the window and hate to sit in the middle between the passengers. And here I suddenly said: “Yes, of course, sit down! I will be happy here”. And I stuck between her and the grim, fat man… Two and a half hours of flight I was jammed between this fat man (he put his paw beside him on my space!) And this slim lady in a very simple white dress, with a shabby handbag on her lap… At this moment I couldn’t resist anything.

She was German.

When everyone drank juices and chewed sandwiches, she suddenly asked:

– Where’re you from?

– From Kyiv.

– It is a wonderful city! I was there for the first time.

– And what did you do here?

And then she said this:

– I came to talk with space.

As smooth as possible, I continued the conversation as if I hadn’t heard anything strange.

– And how was it? Do you often talk to it? What is heard from there? What news? Or is everything the same as before?

Constance (that’s her name) said, holding her toes – she dropped cheap, slightly worn out boots, and sat bent over to get a leg.

– I hit a finger so hard! I rose my head when I left the hotel and tripped over something, she explained, so that I wouldn’t invent anything for myself. I felt better. And the next moment, Constance said rather:

– The power of the space is working! I pointed it to my finger. When we arrive, I have a hope that everything will be brand new…

Well. I realized that nothing could be done here – and at last, it is necessary to simply talk with the person.

Constance was flying to an appointment of a certain “Natalia”, who was making it in my city.

Remembering that Constance’s eyes lit up with joy, I even envied that one can rejoice so much…

Natalia, as I understood, was in touch with someone important in the space and put everything that was messed up in the past of a person to its places.

She is a very wealthy person, that Natalia because there are enough people in despair with the lives on the Earth to make the business as good as possible. But this guess is insignificant for this story. This is just a note in the margin.

– And where are you heading? To Strasbourg? There’s such a beautiful Cathedral… Once, as I was young, I went there, imagine, only for one night with my boyfriend! It was a unique night in this lace Cathedral – and at the dawn, I quickly went home, to Stuttgart, to work… He was my first one. And we got married. He was the only one.

We lived together for 25 years. And exactly the same amount of time passed since we parted. Imagine – the same amount…

All her life Constance was afraid.

In her childhood, she and her mother were in need and starved. She was afraid of poverty and hunger all her life. This was the reason that Constance always took a great care of money. Simply clung to them tightly and kept them, as if with every small expense her life was cut.

– My husband and I were addicted to them. I – because I was afraid that there would be no food, and he – because he needed to drink.

So, these two lived a quarter of a century.

Constance took care of everything by herself – the house, their little Michael, the dog, the garden… And fear. That’s all she felt…

– And here, Mein Liebe… Somehow, I was so tired that I became insolent, and declared myself one day off. Then I took myself two. Perhaps, this somehow led me to the fact that I later divorced my first and only… For another quarter of a century, I lived on my own… in fear that I won’t master it, and grief will overcome me…

And now – look at me. I’m so happy! Only through cosmic power, I talked to my mother and father, whom I don’t remember because he died, as I was a little girl… But look at me – their hands are now on my shoulders! They take care of me – oh, how warm it is! I am completely safe in their arms…

I looked a little fearfully behind her and nodded. Mom and dad of Constance flew with her and she was lighted up with happiness.

“Do you know what I did? I recently got rid of everything. I sold my house, my garden, fortunately, my dog died, and now I don’t need to take care of anything, washing, cleaning, I tore the chain, which was riveted to all this… I’m learning to walk without a dog. I go for a walk, not to get him to stretch his paws, but to walk for myself, without any duty. It’s difficult. But I’ve already got it.

It’s time for me to finish all that made me that creature.

My son condemns me, he doesn’t understand what I’m doing… But I do not think about him right now. He has a good girlfriend, and I’m convinced that everything will be good for him.

What will happen to me?…

She paused, then exhaled.

– In November I am 70!

When else, if not now? I have to try everything right now, today! I don’t want to pass away without living at all.

Constance gasped with excitement and waved in the air with her hand crosswise – as if she had crossed out everything that had happened. Not looking back.

– Ah! She fearlessly tossed her back. – I have money from what I sold. I will live on them. And then… when they end… then they will come from somewhere! The power of the space will give them to me! What do you think? Will it?

Oh, don’t answer, don’t confuse me.

I bought a small apartment, it is enough for me. In the end, in my country, whatever happens to me, they won’t let me die of hunger. People, who’ve lost everything, are given something every day, and they certainly cannot die of hunger. It calms me down… I will not die because of it.

But what a happiness is not to be afraid! Me, you know, I’m not afraid!

I turned to you only! You don’t know how terrible it was – I never talk to anyone, and then – pow! – “Can I sit in your place near the window?” Ha-ha-ha! And you are – pow! – “You can!” This is the power of the space!!!! It answers me!

Constance grabbed my hand and laughed happily. Her mother and father were hugging her, she looked ten years old, she held me with her warm parchment hand and laughed sunny…

– Before leaving, I went to Kyiv to look for a gift for my niece’s baby. I thought that I could fully spend 15 euro out of my treasure. Space will still return it to me… Look what I’ve found!

She pulled out of her purse, which was on her knees, tiny crawlers with the inscription: “Heroes need embraces too…”

– Listen, you should try too! But not tomorrow, today! Tomorrow may not come. Here, try it! You have something in your heart, otherwise, you wouldn’t give me your seat.

Your heart hurts.

And Constance tried to unite me with space.

– Here, listen – “Good morning!”.

Constance said it in Ukrainian, purely as if she were not German. She learned to say this in Kyiv, and for some reason, it seemed to her a password to this cosmic power that can take away your the pain.

And here I could not stand it, the tears flowed with a warm river. They were like rivers. They flowed from all the depths of my soul. What kind of a dam there was torn, and the plane slowly filled with this water began to decline, the stewardess announced turbulence, ordered everyone to return and fasten up, the clouds began to scatter under the belly of our boat, and we went to the bottom. It fluctuated below like the shaggy forest, the river spread like the leeches in all directions, like the water beetles, the ants-cars flew up, enlarged in front of us, inflated, and the creatures similar to me and Constance were already visible inside. As if those ants ate them and filled their intestines…

When the earth shuddered from our touch, I took my hands from my wet eyes. Constance embraced me and caress my cheeks. She glowed and warmed me with this light, and whispered:

– Do as I do today, do you hear? Do not postpone until tomorrow! Look at me! I’m so happy! I’ll write you what happened next! Do you believe that I won’t die of hunger and fear?

I believed. Before going to bed, I just read the research about happiness yesterday, where the author claimed that even when we cure everyone in the world, feed and establish an eternal peace – this will not do anything. Happiness is more difficult than overcoming suffering… And it is just a pleasant sensation of the absence of pain. And nothing more… And beyond the pleasure and pain, there is neither good nor evil…

I think she was not a German, but an angel. I just needed the answers, and she came and asked me to give her a seat near the window.

At the airport, we parted. I went on a bus to Strasbourg, walked and looked around. Constance limped in the opposite direction, but she didn’t really feel pain in her struck leg… She was smiling at her father and her mother that were flying above her. In an hour they will all come to her new tiny apartment, they will water the flowers, open the windows and let the fresh breeze into the room. They will drive away the sleepy wasp and go to the park without a dog. Constance will buy an expensive one, but the best, a piece of just knocked down yellow butter from Frau neighbor and a small jar of orange jam with champagne, and at home, she still has odorous tea at the bottom…

Olha Herasimiyuk

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