Lock it Up
“Ok, utilities are paid: water – check, fire – check, earth – check, air - ... check”, - she thought and sighed. “When did that happen? That was impossible to say for sure. I guess, we were coming here for centuries, and especially last decades. But what is the purpose of trying to find that out? It would be worth it, perhaps, if something could be changed. But everything is changing on its own anyway, to the worse.”
Memories were swirling randomly in her tired mind. They were rather the bright flashes of the memories of the sun, hope, a sentiment of happiness and peace, rattling of the grass and the smell of the meadowsweet, mosquitos' buzzing and the burning of their attacks. Sharp sun-white sparks of snow on the ground and in the air interrupt the scent of the summer afternoon. Cotton like low winter noon sun sinks in them. These snow flies remind her of those little insects swarming over the meadow in the light of the evening summer. Freshness! With a sudden jerk she opens up wide the window to a garden and the smell of the first warm day hit her face. She screws up her eyes and tries to remember when and where she did that. Never. But the memory was so strong as if it were an old wish that had been with you so long that turned into some sort of a friend of the family.
That armour is really uncomfortable. “Why couldn't they make it fit better…” – Pipes do not join tightly, and the amount of air that comes through is never enough. Whatever gets through tastes like a cellar air. But, now everything – water, earth, even the fire - has this mouldy taste”. The air cylinder is swinging behind the back from side to side, threatening to fall down with any bent and movement together with the head-piece. Besides, it seriously slows down walking and turns every movement into a huge effort.
She looked around the street. It looked like an old prison yard with slowly moving people as if they were all wearing shackles… but they were indeed. Everyone looked down. “They said it would be the latest model, the best, domestic, developed in the country's main research institute – the result of the international cooperation, two billion grant and two years of hard work – 'the air feels like real!' The head ache never disappears now. I wish I were home already!” There, in that sealed box, the air is the same, the artificially bright light is centrally regulated depending on the light outside. There at home, she would not have to wear those cylinders.
Suddenly she felt trapped. Her armour hit someone else's. She turned around, so did the other woman. She thought the woman said something, with anger, and without any sympathy or understanding.
“I have to calm down. Besides, the government knows what they are doing, and cares about all of us together and each of us in particular. The president, for example, yesterday also appeared on TV in such an armour. Other countries father and beyond, our friends and neighbours, they say, have the same type of air, but they can’t invent anything like our system of the air supply and of course they suffer a lot. There are some protests going on forever on the borders. But they could be indeed criminals. They write in blogs, that everything is fine with the air… But how can you know for certain?”
Half a year ago, the belt snapped and the air cylinder dropped down on the frozen again yesterday melted snow and rolled down to the road under the cars. A car threw it to another… If she were not struggling with the ice and the broken helmet, falling over and over again, she could find it possibly even interesting – the other passers-by watched how the cars were sliding her cylinder to each other as in a hockey game. The last thing she remembered was the smell of the car waste gas and wind, fresh and somewhat sweet scent of thawing snow.
Where did that policeman come from? She did not remember seen them here before. Someone must have called them following the instructions of the civil status and consciousness, excerpts from which are everywhere, even here on the air cylinder.
“I was lucky. I was just tased. After my long and detailed explanation, I was charged with negligence – after all, I endanger others. That is just three-month wages, two days of community service and a purchase of the latest model armour with a state subsidy of 12% of its normal price”
end of January 2014